There are countless varieties of tomatoes. In the US, tomatoes are second only to potatoes in the volume consumed. There are 3 basic shapes: round, pear shaped, and cherry sized (cherry and grape). Yellow tomatoes are less acidic than red.
The best flavor is achieved when tomatoes ripen on the vine. Note that the official designation of "vine-ripened" only means that the color of the tomatoes started to go from green to red - not that it was allowed to truly ripen on the vine. There is a BIG difference in flavor - as most consumers have found when they are disappointed by the flavor of 'vine ripened' tomatoes from the regular grocery store.
What's an Heirloom Tomato?
Heirlooms come in many shapes, colors and sizes and are extremely flavorful, which is why the seed has been passed down in history. Definitions and criteria vary slightly depending on what source you read. Essentially, an heirloom tomato is a variety that has been in existence for at least 50 years. It is open-pollinated. (non-hybrid) The tomato variety has been handed down from generation to generation, and saved and maintained, even though the original seed company may have gone out of business. Heirlooms are not varieties that are grown in current large scale agriculture because they are very delicate. They are prone to cracking and splitting if a lot of rain is received; they are thin skinned and easily bruised, and they are not disease resistant like the newer hybrid varieties. Growing heirlooms can result in a much smaller crop per square acre than growing hybrid varieties. BUT the taste is like no other!
Storage: Store tomatoes on the counter, stem side down. Use within a few days. Refrigeration destroys the flavor and makes the texture mealy. If you must refrigerate your tomatoes, remove them and keep at room temperature a few hours before using.
There are so many ways to use tomatoes - here is one recipe that was passed to me by a friend and always receives rave reviews.
This is where a listing of the produce that is included in weekly CSA baskets is typically posted.
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