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Heirloom Tomatoes: Everything You Need to Know

Heirloom Tomatoes: Everything You Need to Know


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So, you’ve decided you’re going to stop religiously using your Seamless account and start cooking more, and you might even be pledging to yourself to visit your neighborhood farmers’ market every Sunday, too. You’re going to get back to the earth and start cooking with natural, fresh, and locally grown foods, and you’re going to learn everything you can about those foods while doing so, so that you can seem like you’ve been behind this farm-to-table movement the whole time.

Here’s your first lesson: heirloom tomatoes.

Click here to see 19 Different Heirloom Tomato Varieties (Slideshow)

You may have heard of them. These legendary, beautiful creatures are all some people can talk about once late July or early August hits, when their season begins and their round, beautifully colored and bulbous shapes start filling the tables at farmers’ markets and CSAs. While an heirloom tomato is definitely a significant distinction in itself from the varieties you find at your grocery store all year round, calling one of them an "heirloom" is merely looking at the first page of a 3,000-page yearbook. There are thousands, even tens of thousands, of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, each marked by different physical traits, tastes, and origins. When you’re buying an heirloom tomato, you’re buying a specific one, and it’s going to taste and feel different from, say, the one it was sitting next to on the shelf.

The number of heirloom varieties grown in this world is hard to pin down, and that’s because they are open-pollinated plants that were originally grown because Mother Nature, or whoever, decided they should be. This distinction makes them different from the tomatoes you find all year round, which are known as hybrid tomatoes, because they’re grown with genetic modifications specifically tailored for optimal size, color, and durability — so they hold up being stocked by the hundreds and transported millions of miles in a large truck to your grocery store. Besides the fact that these tomatoes are not naturally grown, their modifications often tend to leave out taste, so while they look pretty and last a week in the produce aisle, they’re going to need more than salt and olive oil to be delicious.

It’s now probably clear why heirloom tomatoes make people as crazy as they do. They’re naturally grown, incredibly luscious in flavor, and they’re highly sought-after and cherished when found. When you do see one, it’s very unlikely that it was grown more than 100 miles from where you’re standing at that point in time.

To find our heirloom tomatoes, The Daily Meal traveled to Mendham, N.J., and visited Bennett Haynes of Ralston Farm. Haynes started his farm in 2011 and, in addition to supplying local restaurants, he now operates a CSA that caters to 90 members with his fresh, locally grown crops. Along with his crops, pigs, ducks, and flowers he has growing on his farm, he has 19 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes sprouting out of the Earth, too.

Haynes knew each one of his varieties with the same intimate knowledge he knew the names of his pigs, and he walked us through 19 of them, explaining their differences in taste, growing conditions, and their stories. Stories, you might ask? Yes, because each heirloom is open-pollinated and naturally created, each has a history behind it that doesn’t involve chemicals in a lab. Take the Paul Robeson, named after a civil rights activist because of its deep, rich purple coloring; or the Emmy, which was given its name to pay tribute to the creators’ friend who fled to Romania after World War II. Haynes even had a variety with a story directly connected to him, because he snuck its highly coveted seeds away from a watchful woman in Genoa, Italy, so that he could grow his own.


The Cucumber Tomato Salad You Can Pair With Everything

Who ever said a genuinely healthy dish can't also taste genuinely delicious? Not chef and food writer Cecilia Ryu, certainly, who has designed a "simple yet refreshing salad" that you'll want to enjoy time after time. In Ryu's words, this easy to assemble salad is simply "perfect for summer cookouts when tomatoes are in season." Indeed, if you can get your hands on some locally-grown heirloom tomatoes, then you're already halfway there to creating a deeply flavorful and satisfying salad.

With just a few minutes of chopping and mixing, you'll have at the ready a delightful salad that Ryu says "pairs well with your favorite pasta or with grilled chicken for a healthy meal." And not only does this easy-to-make salad taste great, but it looks great, too, adding some color to your table. It's also perfect for social media snaps, which are certainly fine from time to time. After all, it's okay to be proud of your culinary tableau, even if it's as easily prepared as this cucumber tomato salad.

This is a perfect salad for larger groups, too, because you can so easily scale it up (or down) as needed. And if you're prepping it for a cookout or dinner party, Ryu says, "You can prepare all the ingredients and dressing in advance and store in the refrigerator and assemble a few minutes before serving." Plus, you can make it in front of people if you like to show off a bit.


Related links

As a cook and gardener, Rice’s recipes are guided by the seasons and nurtured by California sunshine. Some of her homegrown tomatoes are showcased in her Heirloom Bloody Marys with Celery Salt. She buzzes-until-pureed one pound of quartered heirloom tomatoes in a food processor along with 1/2 small (seeded) jalapeño, 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice.

The celery salt designated for the rim of the glasses is made by combining 2 1/2 teaspoons of toasted and ground celery seeds (to grind them use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle — or put in zipper-style plastic bag and pound with mallet or bottom of a saucepan) with 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt such as the Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.

She places the celery salt mix on a plate. Then she runs a lime around the rim of 2 tall glasses and dips them in the celery salt. Ice comes to the party, along with 2 ounces of vodka in each glass and the homemade tomato puree. Garnishes include lemon wheels and celery stalks.

I prefer showing off my home-grown beauties — picked vine-ripened and still warm from the sun — raw in recipes, rather than cooked. Be sure to store them at room temperature unless they are extremely ripe, and you are unable to use them within a day or so.

Here are three examples of dishes that show them off to their best uncooked advantage.

Use tomatoes of different varieties, sizes and colors to serve with herbs and almond vinaigrette. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Tomatoes with Herbs and Almond Vinaigrette

The oil used in this tasty vinaigrette is subtly infused with coarsely chopped almonds, a quick method that requires cooking the nuts in the oil on low heat about six minutes. The nuts are strained from the oil and reserved to use as a toasty garnish, while the oil is augmented with garlic, red-wine vinegar, lime juice and sugar. It’s delicious poured over a mix of homegrown tomatoes. For carnivores, this vegetarian version can be spiked with pieces of ham or prosciutto.

Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup skin-on almonds, coarsely chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, different varieties preferred, large ones in thick slices, small ones halved

1/3 cup very thinly sliced red onion, see cook’s notes

1/4 jalapeno chili, cored and seeded, minced, see cook’s notes

1/4 cup torn fresh basil or Thai basil

Cook’s notes: Taste a smidgen of the red onion. If it is fiery, soak slices in ice water for 15 to 20 minutes drain and pat dry. Use caution when working with fresh chilies. Wash hands and work surface upon completion and do not touch eyes or face.

PROCEDURE

1. Prepare dressing: Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 6 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl, reserve almonds. Immediately whisk garlic into warm oil and cool for 5 minutes. Whisk in vinegar, lime juice, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Arrange tomatoes on a large platter. Season with salt and let stand 5 minutes. Scatter onions over tomatoes. Stir dressing and spoon over tomatoes. Sprinkle with jalapeno, mint, basil and reserved almonds.

Source: “Food and Wine Annual 2019” (Food & Wine Books, $34.99)

The contrasts of tomatoes, acidic stone fruit and sweet maple syrup makes for a delicious, tangy salad. (Photo by Gemma and Andrew Ingalls)

Tomato and Stone Fruit Salad with Sesame Maple Dressing

A mixture of summer’s best tomatoes, bright, acidic stone fruit, and sweet maple syrup makes this salad so darn delicious and tangy. Cookbook author Valerie Rice says that the dressing has a multitude of uses and to try sopping it up with a crisp baguette. It’s also great on raw cucumbers or on grilled veggies such as eggplant or zucchini.

Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 large heirloom tomatoes

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, see cook’s notes

Fresh basil leaves, opal or Thai basil preferred, common basil is OK

Cook’s notes: To toast sesame seeds, place an empty plate or bowl next to stove. Place sesame seeds in small skillet on medium-high heat. Toast, shaking handle to redistribute them as they lightly brown. Watch carefully because they burn easily. Transfer to plate or bowl next to stove to cool.

PROCEDURE

1. For dressing: Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl to blend. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

2. For salad: Cut cherry tomatoes in half and large tomatoes and stone fruit into pitted quarters and arrange on a platter. Season with salt and pepper. When you are ready to serve, drizzle dressing over the salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds and basil.

Source: “Lush Life” by Valerie Rice (Prospect Park Books, $35)

Pasta topped with uncooked tomato sauce is a perfect dish as the weather gets warmer. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce

Tweak this simple uncooked tomato sauce to suit your taste. Substitute fresh mint for basil if you like or add a little chopped raw red onion or finely diced fresh fennel bulb. Capers can be omitted and sliced (black or green) pitted olives can take their place. For carnivores, this vegetarian dish can be spiked with pieces of ham or prosciutto, or chunks of roasted chicken.

Yield: 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds large ripe heirloom tomatoes, about 2 to 3 large tomatoes

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tablespoon capers, drained

Pinch of dried red chili flakes or 1/2 small red chili seeded and minced

About 10 large basil leaves, cut into narrow shreds, divided use

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

12 ounces pasta, such as small conchigliette (medium-small shells), small penne or medium-small orecchiette

PROCEDURE

1. Place tomatoes in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and leave for just one minute. Remove when cool enough to handle, peel off and discard tomato skin. Place a sieve over a bowl. Quarter tomatoes press juice and seeds from tomatoes quarters over sieve.

2. Coarsely chop the seeded tomato flesh and put into another bowl. Press juice from the seeds in the sieve add strained juice to the chopped tomatoes. Add garlic, capers, half of shredded basil and chili flakes (or minced fresh chili). Gently stir in oil. Add a little salt (capers may be salty) and pepper. Set aside somewhere fairly cool (but not in fridge) for an hour for flavors to mingle.

3. Cook pasta al dente in salted water according to package directions. Drain well in colander, giving the colander several good shakes to remove excess water. Combine the hot pasta with the raw tomato sauce toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

4. When serving be sure to scoop up some of the juices at the bottom of the bowl. Serve scattered with remaining shredded basil and grinding of black pepper. Top with shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Source: Adapted from “River Cottage Veg” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Ten Speed Press, $35)


Tomatoes. Big, red juicy tomatoes. Or small, fleshy ones. Or tiny, viny ones! Did you know that there are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes being cultivated worldwide? Wow! Tomatoes have a very long and circuitous history. Really! They are the vegetable that is technically a fruit. They are the fruit that was once considered inedible because it leached lead out of pewter flatware and poisoned people. And there was even a Supreme Court decision on whether they were fruits or vegetables, since growers had used the “fruit” designation as a way to avoid taxation! Botanists believe that the Aztecs, as far back as 700 AD, originally cultivated tomatoes. In today’s terms, that means they basically came from what is modern day Mexico. Tomatoes are a staple of kitchens and cooking now, but (in the US at least) that’s only been the case since after the Civil War in the late 1800s. Today, however, they have grown to be America’s most popular vegetable. And, at least for our purposes, that’s what we’re going to call them! Vegetables! And delicious ones at that! So, how to find the best varieties to grow in your garden and then taste incredible in your favorite recipes? It isn’t easy! I know that I’ll often wander down my local garden center’s aisles in the spring and get very confused! Do I want one that blooms early or late? Do I want hybrids or heirlooms? What size is best? What level or acidity or sweetness? Our goal here is to give you some guidance.

Let’s take heirlooms first. And the first question is, what exactly is an heirloom tomato? Is it just an old variety that has gotten popular again? Yes and no. Heirlooms are older cultivars, but the real difference from your run-of-the-mill tomato is that they have, for the most part, never been hybridized. That is, they have never been crossbred in an effort to breed out or breed in, certain desirable characteristics. Most have been handed down for generations and are generally 50+ years old. As the production of fruits and vegetables became more “scientific” in the middle of the last century, producers sought ways to alter their crops for a number of reasons. One was consistency. Buyers in grocery stores tended to want all of their apples, oranges and tomatoes to look alike. As more people lived in cities and lost contact with the actual growing process, they weren’t used to fruits and veggies that might have a slight visual flaw. So, apples with even a hint of brown on their skin were rejected. Ditto for tomatoes and many other fresh products. Another desire for those hybrids was to create fruits and vegetables that had a much longer shelf life. It seems odd now, but there was a time, not too long ago, when these products were much more seasonal — you could only get them when they were being harvested somewhere in the United States. Now, you can pretty much get whatever you want, whenever you want it!

A recent New York Times article points out this amazing statistic: “More than half of the fresh fruit and almost a third of the fresh vegetables Americans buy now come from other countries.” -New York Times – This would not have been possible without intense hybridizing and cross-pollinating that allows those items to be able to be stored and shipped for longer periods of time. But what’s been lost in the process? Many chefs and growers agree that rich, intense flavor has been left behind in this search for a more consistent product. And this is why people have begun to embrace heirloom varieties. Personally, I find my reaction to an heirloom is usually instantaneous it just tastes better! Sometimes, shockingly so. Heirlooms come in an amazing range or sizes and types and color pallet. Here are few samples of our favorites:

Brandywine. A really large variety that is late-blooming. They balance sweetness (a specialty of most heirlooms) with a nice bit of acidity. Great for salads (especially a Caprese!) or with hamburgers or just on their own. Be aware when planting them that these plants will get tall! Plan on staking them up early and since they often grow to over size feet tall!

San Marzano. These are meant for cooking, rather than salads and resemble Romas. They are great for growing in warmer sections of the country. If you’re up to the task, you can save the seeds from these open-pollinated plants and regrown them the next year!

Arkansas Traveler: This variety hails from, where else, Arkansas and has been around for over 100 years. It likes full sun, is disease-resistant and will give you tomatoes throughout the growing season.

Once you’re sorted through the many types of Heirlooms, how do you plant and nurture them? Good question! Let’s assume that you’re buying commercially grown plants and not growing from seeds. Planting is pretty straightforward. Dig a deep hole in well-drained soil. If you think it makes sense, supplement the soil with compost that can help feed the plants throughout the growing season. It’s important to plant your heirlooms away from your hybrids, to avoid any cross-pollination. Also, stake them up immediately. You DO NOT want the leaves to touch the ground and pick up diseases or pests. Mulching under the plants can also help alleviate this problem, which can be a bit more of an issue with heirlooms, as many varieties are not as naturally disease-resistant as the hybrids are. Maintain a trellis or tomato cage throughout the season and keep tying off the plant as it grows. Remove any yellow leaves and pinch off any grow below the first cluster of flowers.

So, that’s a brief look at heirlooms. But what about all those hybrids? The fact is, that while heirlooms have grown in popularity in the last 20 years or so, hybrids remain the standard for most home gardeners. Why? Mostly for the same reasons that commercial growers plant them consistent color and flavor, consistent taste, consistent size and great disease resistance. Many varieties have also been developed so that they produce fruit earlier in the season, which is particularly appealing in northern areas with shorter growing seasons. You can see the appeal!

Your planting regime remains the same, though always keep an eye out for how high they’ll grow, so you can plan your garden layout accordingly. All tomatoes love full sun. But there is a caveat here. As average temperatures have been climbing, it is fine, particularly in southern climates, to make sure the plants get some shade, particularly in the early-to-late afternoon, when temperatures can rise to their highest level of the day. One other important hint. It is generally agreed that you should never water your tomato plants late in the day. If they need extra water, do it in the morning, so that the leaves don’t stay wet. Better yet, try to only water the root system and avoid splashing the leaves altogether! So let’s wrap up with an overview of a few of the most popular hybrid varieties!

Big Beef. A hugely successful hybrid that creates a nicely sized fruit. It’s easy to grow and very resistant to many of the blights (verticillium, fusarium) and pests (nematodes) that can bedevil lesser cultivars.

Chef’s Choice. A great tasting tomato that also looks beautiful and is very prolific. Good for slicing or canning.

Early Girl. As the name implies, this is a bush that matures quickly and can reach maturity in around 50 days! Some gardeners even plant another set of Early Girls later in the season, so that they’ll have tomatoes almost up until the first frost!

So what’s your pleasure this summer? Heirlooms or hybrids? If you’re like us, you’ll try both. For many folks it takes a bit of experimentation to find the plant that works best in your area of the country, your soil, your garden location and mostly, your taste! Good luck and Great Tomatoes!


Ingredient Spotlight: Tomatoes

We wait for sweet, juicy summer tomatoes all year long, and finally they’re here. Celebrate them with these pro tips, plus some new recipe ideas from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen, then check out our tomato guide for more!

Tomatoes: Everything You Need to Know

What to Look For

Although you can find tomatoes year-round these days, for the best tomatoes, visit farm stands and farmers’ markets for vine-ripened tomatoes between the months of June and September—or you can try to grow your own. Organic tomatoes are preferable when they’re available, as they’re more likely to be saturated in flavor. When fresh tomatoes are out of season, use canned or packaged imported plum tomatoes, which are superior in favor and texture to out-of-season fresh tomatoes.

Varieties

Arguably the most prized summer tomatoes are heirlooms—are old-fashioned varieties that have been reintroduced by farmers and gardeners. These fruits are full of flavor, but they may not keep as long as more commonly available varieties, and they may have thinner skins, qualities that make them less desirable for commercial processing.

Not sure which varieties to cook with? Check out this tomato glossary for an overview of the different types.

Prepping

Wash and dry tomatoes to be sliced. Cut out the stem end and leave the tomatoes whole or cut them into crosswise or lengthwise slices or into wedges, or chop, according to the recipe. Pick off the stems of cherry tomatoes. Some recipes call for peeled and seeded tomatoes, usually when the tomatoes are to be chopped for a sauce. Learn how to pull this off .

Storing

Tomatoes can be stored at room temperature for up to about three days. If they’re slightly unripe, put them in a sunny place for several days, and they will ripen further. Although it isn’t necessary to chill whole tomatoes, if you’ve cut into one and wrapped it in plastic wrap or paper, be sure to keep it in the refrigerator.

Your Tomato Toolkit

    , to slice cherry and grape tomatoes into perfect quarters , for quickly and easily removing tomato cores , for pressing fresh tomatoes into sauce , for cutting through delicate tomatoes , for portioning tomatoes into neat, uniform slices , to grow your own tomatoes

Simple Preparations

Tomatoes at peak season really need no adornment—in fact, purists enjoy tomatoes sliced thick and served with just a sprinkling of coarse salt. They also add color and flavor to the table in a multitude of ways: when puréed into soup, layered in sandwiches, tossed into salads, simmered to toss with pasta or roasted to make salsa. Try making them the star of your next canning or preserving experiment so that you can enjoy a taste of summer all year long. Below are a few fantastic preparations, no recipe required.

Gazpacho: Coarsely chop tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and bell pepper. Puree in a blender until smooth. In a bowl, stir minced garlic, vinegar and olive oil into the puree. Chill before serving.

Panzanella: Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Saute with olive oil until crispy. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss toasted bread with chopped tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, basil and vinaigrette.

Heirloom Tomato Salad: Cut heirloom tomatoes into wedges. Toss with fresh tarragon, crumbled goat cheese and fresh corn kernels, either raw or blanched. Drizzle with champagne vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil and toss to combine.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes: Stem, quarter and seed plum tomatoes. Arrange cut-side up on parchment-lined baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast at 200 °F until slightly shriveled, about 4 hours. Pack cooled tomatoes in a canning jar with thyme sprigs and olive oil refrigerate up to 1 week.

Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes: Toss together diced tomatoes, minced shallot and garlic, slivered basil, shaved pecorino romano, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Top with drained cooked pasta. Let stand a few minutes before tossing.

Tomato & Basil Tart: Place a puff pastry rectangle on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper brush the pastry with egg wash. Bake at 400 °F until pastry is golden, 25 to 30 minutes, and garnish with slivered basil.

Recipes

For a more elaborate preparation that really highlights the flavors of peak-season tomatoes, try one of the recipes below.

This simple dish is like a warm, oozy insalata caprese . And since it’s prepared on the grill, you can avoid heating up your oven during the dog days of summer.

A tapa like pan con tomate only works if it’s made with the ripest, most flavorful tomatoes, so don’t make this dish anytime other than during the summer. For this version, which comes from chef Ryan Pollnow of Aatxe restaurant in San Francisco, the bread is topped with jamón ibérico fine for an even richer, more complex flavor.

You can use any combination of tomatoes in this luscious Spanish soup , making it an excellent way to use up less-than-perfect tomatoes—ones with splits, soft spots or cracks. Often eaten as a starter, the soup also makes an excellent vegetarian main dish when served with a salad and a wedge of good bread.

When made with tomatoes in a variety of colors and sizes, this elegant tomato tart becomes a showstopper on your summertime table.

Trust us when we promise that our test kitchen’s baked eggs , which arrive to the table studded with crumbles of feta, will be a showstopper at any summer brunch.


The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply - Including Heirloom Tomatoes

I love tomatoes. I grew up living next door to my grandparent’s farm and as a child helped them pick bushels of tomatoes – for selling, for canning and for eating. My own family also had a garden where we grew tomatoes, other vegetables and fruit. Later when I had my own home, I had a garden and tomatoes have always been a big part of it. Therefore, when I saw this book I could not wait to read it. The subtitle is Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply- Including Heirloom Tomatoes and I fe I love tomatoes. I grew up living next door to my grandparent’s farm and as a child helped them pick bushels of tomatoes – for selling, for canning and for eating. My own family also had a garden where we grew tomatoes, other vegetables and fruit. Later when I had my own home, I had a garden and tomatoes have always been a big part of it. Therefore, when I saw this book I could not wait to read it. The subtitle is Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply- Including Heirloom Tomatoes and I feel it lives up to that.

While most people will use this as a reference tool, I wanted to read the entire book and found it very readable. It really is a complete guide, for the novice and for those who have been growing tomatoes for years. Looking at the Table of Contents, you can see the book is well organized and arranged in a way that makes sense and makes it easy to follow. I would suggest if you are just getting started growing tomatoes, start at the beginning and work through the book. I think that even the seasoned grower will learn things as Everhart includes natural methods for growing and information about newer species. She also gives information about Heirloom tomatoes, though not new there has been a resurgence of their use in family gardens. They taste delicious and add much color to recipes. I also like the Case Study sections that are included throughout the book giving firsthand accounts from experts in the field and other growers who have unique information to share with growers. The thorough index will be a handy reference tool for your future use.

In addition, to the selection, planting and caring for tomatoes, there are also ideas for what to do with the fruit of your labor: not just eating, with some great recipes, but preserving, and pickling. The Appendix includes other sources to help you in growing tomatoes: websites, extension offices and other books.

This book is part of Atlantic Publishing Group’s Back to Basics Growing series and I encourage them to add to this series as more people are gardening today. The book has many photographs but I wish they were not in black and white so you could see the different colors of tomatoes especially the beautiful heirloom varieties. However, I highly recommend this book for all of you who love tomatoes and want to learn more about growing your own.
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Imagine going out into your garden in the back yard or to your container garden and picking a warm sun-ripened tomato off the vine. Yes, it can be done regardless if you have an acre of land, a small plot, or a bunch of containers all will give you the opportunity to grow tomatoes.

This book is perfect for a first-timer gardener or a novice. You will learn the difference between hybrid and heirloom tomatoes, how to select the proper site, how to start seedlings, how to plant outside, how to supp Imagine going out into your garden in the back yard or to your container garden and picking a warm sun-ripened tomato off the vine. Yes, it can be done regardless if you have an acre of land, a small plot, or a bunch of containers all will give you the opportunity to grow tomatoes.

This book is perfect for a first-timer gardener or a novice. You will learn the difference between hybrid and heirloom tomatoes, how to select the proper site, how to start seedlings, how to plant outside, how to support the vines, what other plants companion with the tomatoes, all about pests and diseases, as well as how to care for the plants. For those that don't have garden space there is a great section on container and raised bed gardening. And, then there is the award - harvesting.

I've been a long time tomato grower and have yielded wonderful crops. Cherie H. Everhart covers every aspect you need to know and she does so in lay terms. This step-by-step guide is sure to yield a bountiful and delicious crop for you and the end result will be one to savor. It's time we return to basics and nourish our bodies with wholesome homegrown foods.
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I’ve been taking an interest in growing vegetables at home for the past few years. Last year, I had a terrible time with growing tomatoes. So, I was very eager to review The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes.

I wasn’t aware of the different types of tomatoes - slicers, stuffers, sauce tomatoes, small tomatoes, and many other varieties. This book gives you a brief history on the origins of the tomato, the history of the tomatoes in Europe, North America, and the modern history of the American to I’ve been taking an interest in growing vegetables at home for the past few years. Last year, I had a terrible time with growing tomatoes. So, I was very eager to review The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes.

I wasn’t aware of the different types of tomatoes - slicers, stuffers, sauce tomatoes, small tomatoes, and many other varieties. This book gives you a brief history on the origins of the tomato, the history of the tomatoes in Europe, North America, and the modern history of the American tomato.

You will learn about the light requirements, wind protection, erosion control, soil testing and plant testing. Chapter 4 teaches you about starting a tomato from a seed, while chapter 5 teaches you how and where to plant your tomato plants.

The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes is an interesting read for any new or advanced gardener. I will keep in mind some of the tips when I plant tomato plants this year. . more

This is a pretty handy reference that goes a bit beyond the "how" of growing tomatoes by giving you the migratory travels of the fruit at the hands of its human growers and eaters.

All of the information is helpful, especially with regard to light, soil, and wind information - but I would have loved more on pests and disease. Everhart lists the usual culprits but makes no mention of flea beetles or leafminers. Also, I think wasps need a nod as well, as they are a great control for the ghastly hor This is a pretty handy reference that goes a bit beyond the "how" of growing tomatoes by giving you the migratory travels of the fruit at the hands of its human growers and eaters.

All of the information is helpful, especially with regard to light, soil, and wind information - but I would have loved more on pests and disease. Everhart lists the usual culprits but makes no mention of flea beetles or leafminers. Also, I think wasps need a nod as well, as they are a great control for the ghastly hornworm.

Also, more photographs would have been wonderful. This isn't to say that I can't get off my can and search the internet for what catfacing or verticillium wilt looks like, but still.

A good book, nevertheless, and one that will help with my plan for next year's larger crop. . more


Whole, Diced, or Crushed?

Whether or not you splurge on San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, whole peeled tomatoes are a versatile workhorse, they are what our test kitchen stocks up on. Muir Glen is a favorite brand because their tomatoes have a fresh-from-the-vine tomato taste. Diced tomatoes can be unevenly cut, but as long as that doesn&apost bother you, they&aposre a reliable player in chili. Most diced tomatoes have calcium chloride added to ensure they maintain their firm texture after hours of simmering, so if you want pieces of tomato to show in a soup or stew, used diced. If you want the tomatoes to breakdown, use whole peeled. When pressed for time, go for crushed tomatoes They reduce down in sauces more quickly than whole or diced tomatoes but still retain a nice, velvety texture (some are mixed with a small amount of tomato puree, which helps smooth the tomatoes into a consistency similar to jarred applesauce).


Classic Cucumber and Tomato Salad

The salad recipe I am sharing with you today is not revolutionary. It&rsquos the recipe I grew up eating every single day in the summer. No exaggeration here.

The ingredient list can differ slightly but the constat ones, the backbone of this salad, are crunchy cucumbers and ripe, juicy tomatoes.

The best ones to use are heirloom or garden tomatoes and small Kirby cucumbers, sometimes also called Persian cucumbers. They have tiny seeds and a whole lot of crunch!

It might not be immediately obvious by you can change the taste of this salad by varying the way vegetables are cut. When I want my tomato flavour to be dominant I cut them in thick wedges like I did in the Fattoush Salad.

In this salad I sliced everything very thinly using my mandoline. I wanted the flavours to blend instead of competing with each other. The uniform cut achieves that quite well.

Paper thin slices make a big differences when adding fresh onions or shallots to salads as well as dressing them with a vinaigrette.. Mix the onions with the dressing a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. The acidity mellows them out, taking the bitterness away but leaving the flavour and sweetness to shine.

Another important point in making salads is leaving the salt and dressing until the last minute as they draw moisture out of vegetables. Do it too early and you end up serving a very soggy salad. Not good!

Salad Dressing Options

The dressing comes in two varieties. You can either add sour cream or creme fraiche to the tomato and cucumber salad. Or dress it with a zesty vinaigrette.

When I was little my mum used unrefined sunflower oil in this salad and it added a distinct flavour. Sadly I can&rsquot find a similar product in the UK. I substituted it with unrefined olive oil, which turned out to be an excellent choice.

Although the salad of my childhood was dressed simply with salt and good quality oil, nowadays I go just a step further and make a simple vinaigrette. The acidity in the vinaigrette balances out the flavours so well and soften the bite of red onions.

In this case I mixed up red wine vinegar, half a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, salt and olive oil in a mason jar, gave it a shake and the vinaigrette is ready.

What goes well with this salad?

I opted for the simplest version here. Just cucumbers, tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion and a touch of fresh dill. However a myriad of other things could be added. Here are my suggestions.

Radishes, bell peppers of all colours, avocadoes, olives, green onions instead of red onions, chives

If dill is not your herb, you can use parsley or basil in this beautiful salad. Or add a bit of oregano, sprinkle with feta and enjoy this tomato cucumber salad Greek style.

This salad is incredibly versatile and goes well with a variety of main dishes. I love serving it on the side of Ribeye Steak, Spatchcock Chicken or this Oven Baked Bacon Wrapped Fish. Truth is you&rsquod be pressed hard to find a dish this salad doesn&rsquot go with.

If you want to experience a true Russian meal, try serving it together with this Russian classic Meat Patties Kotleti!


Watch the video: HEIRLOOM TOMATO VARIETIES AROUND THE WORLD.. (October 2022).