Heirloom tomatoes with salt and pepper. Yes, It’s that simple. And it looks and tastes amazing. Every year in late summer heirloom tomatoes are showing up at Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores. Heirloom tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors and in all shapes and sizes – that’s what makes them heirloom tomatoes, and so much fun to look at and eat.
When heirloom tomatoes are available in the stores and farmer’s markets I buy enough for that day, and then go back another day to buy more when I want to serve them again. This is because most heirloom tomatoes are very soft and juicy and don’t last long once you bring them home. It’s best to buy and eat them right away.
The most delicious way to eat these beauties is the way that I have served them for years. With just salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. This way these tomatoes get to show off their inner beauty and the pure tomato flavor comes through. Your family and guests will ooooh and aaaah over the presentation and will clean out the platter in seconds. I never seem to make enough. Here is my recipe for Heirloom Tomatoes with Salt and & Pepper.
Heirloom Tomatoes with Salt & Pepper
- Heirloom tomatoes in various colors, shapes, and sizes
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Cut heirloom tomatoes into round wedges.
- In a large platter spread the tomato slices.
- Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.
There are many definitions and explanations for heirloom plants and tomatoes, I found this one from Burpee.com to be the easiest to understand: “Heirlooms are old-fashioned vegetables and flowers that have been passed down through the generations. Heirloom seeds are old-time favorites that produce plants with the same traits planting after planting, season after season, generation after generation. Some heirlooms date back 100 years or more.” Wow, heirloom tomato seeds that date back 100 years? Pretty cool.
I got a newsletter from one of our local nurseries Yamagami’s Nursery back in early summer with a little article about heirloom tomatoes and I thought I would share some of their tomato wisdom here.
“Grafted Tomatoes vs. Hybrids: Grafted tomato plants are becoming more and more popular as people discover how much more vigorous certain varieties can be when grafted onto a sturdy rootstock. Many modern tomatoes have been hybridized to include disease resistance. That’s what those letters (VFN) refer to at the end of a name like “Early Girl VFN”. The trouble is that certain qualities/traits have been bred out at the same time.
There is a gene for “green shoulders” that has been carefully bred out over the years. Recently it was discovered that that gene is linked to rich flavor – oops! This is one of the many reasons that heirloom tomatoes are so popular. It is the flavor! But the plant itself can be wimpy, especially in our clay soils. Grow heirloom tomatoes for their flavor, that is their main characterisitic.”
Pick up a few heirloom tomatoes now while they are available. The season is short and they will be gone before you know it. Get a variety of colors and shapes, the more knurly the tomato the more unique it looks on the plate. Heirloom tomatoes come in striped olive green, bright orange, vibrant yellow, sultry red, dark black and in many other color combinations. A more colorful your heirloom tomato selection, the more stunning your heirloom tomato platter will be.