Why to Love (and Buy!) Heirloom Tomatoes

August 19, 2015 | Posted by The B-Team

What is an heirloom tomato? This is a question that plagues many a farmers’ market goer. There are varying definitions – the Wikipedia page claims that they are no more natural than the hothouse reds you see in the dead of winter at Gristede’s while other sites tout the history of these heritage fruits.

Here's the most important information to know: they are damn good and need little more than a sprinkle of salt to heighten their flavor -- and maybe a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of basil. They come in a wild array of colors, flavors, textures and density. These tomatoes have a lot of character! There's nothing prettier -- or more deliciously summery -- than a plate of thick slices of multicolored heirloom tomatoes.

Here's a rundown of a few favorite varieties:

Marble Stripes are prized for their sweet, juicy flesh. Use these in a raw tomato sauce for pasta.

Pink Brandywine has superb mild taste and is perfect for slicing, salads or canning.

Black Krim is a Russian heirloom with a red-green interior and a flavor that is rich and has a distinct saline flavor.

Paul Robeson tomatoes are named after a very interesting historical figure and their flavor is as robust as his story.

Green Zebras are firm but sweet, tart and tangy.

Costaluto Genovese is a fluted Italian heirloom that makes beautiful scallop-edged slices.

Pineapple tomatoes are creamy golden-orange fruits and have an absolutely exquisite flavor.

Japanese Black Truffle heirlooms are sweet, intense and fairly complex in flavor.

Tangerines has a meaty texture and flavor is both sweet and rich, quite delicious.

Red Zebra is both beautiful and substantive – it’s a juicy and delicious number.