The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
One of Rebecca’s reader's (hi, Sydney!) suggested that each week we feature the vegetable or fruit that Babycenter uses to compare the weight and size of her “womb mates.” I love that idea so I am going to give it a try. I have missed 18 weeks of veggies and fruits, but will start this week and we’ll see how I do. It will be a bit challenging so bear with me!
At 19 weeks, the babies are compared to heirloom tomatoes, and although it is a little early in the season to be finding them in abundance in farmer’s markets, I have started to see them in the grocery store. It is also time to plant them in most parts of the world, so I thought I would talk a little about growing them as well as using them in recipes. (See my last summer’s post for a few more tomato recipes).
According to Wikipedia, “an heirloom tomato (also called heritage tomato in the UK) is an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirloom cultivar of tomato.” Basically this means that they are older varieties of tomatoes that can pollinate by themselves through natural means and are not cross-pollinated with other species of tomatoes. This can lead, however, to some problems such as susceptibility to diseases and to cracking which we all have seen on heirloom tomatoes. Basically if you are going to grow them in your garden, find out which varieties do well in your area by asking other gardeners. I have had mixed luck growing them in my garden but have found two types that grow really well for me and give me a great harvest: Brandywine and Momotaro. Here is a picture of my Momotaro tomatoes last year.
And here is my Brandywine plant this year…tomatoes are already forming which is a really good sign!
Heirloom tomatoes should NEVER be refrigerated as it makes them go starchy. So, leave them on a counter out of the sun until you need them. They keep for several days, even up to a week, at room temperature unless they are badly cracked. Then they need to be eaten up rather quickly.
I eat my heirloom tomatoes raw. They are usually too juicy for cooking unless you are using them for a sauce or a soup. You can also freeze tomatoes for cooking by putting them whole in a plastic bag and then putting them into the freezer. I used them all winter in my recipes and it was so fun to have my delicious garden tomatoes reminding me of summer.
There is nothing like an open-faced hummus sandwich topped with a thick slice of heirloom tomato, fresh basil or arugula, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. This is my go-to lunch most summer days. And then there is salsa and bruschetta (pronounced [brusˈketːa]. Home made, they are so much better than anything you can buy and are so easy to make. Make sure you use vine-ripened tomatoes, the sweeter the better. If local vine-ripened tomatoes aren’t available in your stores and farmer’s markets yet, look for Campari tomatoes sold in plastic boxes. They are delicious, very sweet and work great for both.
Salsa (Pico de Gallo)
2 large heirloom tomatoes, 3-4 medium vine ripened tomatoes
(or a box of Campari tomatoes)
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup finely chopped sweet onions
½ seeded finely chopped jalapeno (leave out if you like your salsa mild)
½ lime, freshly squeezed
Salt and pepper to taste
served on a bean tostada
NOTE: You can adjust the quantities of the ingredients to your liking. I never measure and just keep tasting it until it tastes right to me. You can use any onions but I am a big fan of sweet onions.
NOTE #2: The salsa will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator but it will become watery.
2 lbs chopped tomatoes
½ chopped onion (I like sweet)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 bunch chopped basil
4 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients. Toast thick slices of Italian or French bread (or cook on a grill). Rub bread with fresh garlic clove and top with the tomato mixture. Serve as an appetizer.
1.You can drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top if you want.
2. Add extra olive oil, 2 more garlic cloves, omit the onion, and serve on cooked pasta for an easy dinner!!
(These two tomato salads are so easy and are my favorite ways to use fresh tomatoes.)
Heirloom tomato salad
5-6 cups heirloom tomatoes
(you can use several colors for a fun presentation!)
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 T balsamic or red wine vinegar
4 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Buffalo mozzarella or other FRESH mozzarella
Heirloom tomatoes, thickly sliced
Fresh basil leaves, sliced
Salt and pepper
The finest olive oil you can find
Slice tomatoes and mozzarella into thick slices. On a large platter, arrange the tomato slices with a slice of mozzarella on top. Sprinkle basil leaves all over the slices. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve.
ED: GGC now has a search function (see right sidebar) so anyone needing to search specific recipes or archived posts, you now can! Sorry it took me six years to implement such a function. Big love to all!