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Heirloom Tomatoes

13 Tomatoes From Brandywine to Marvel Stripe


Long gone are the days of pallid, flavorless tomatoes, at least for those who grow or seek out fresh, locally grown tomatoes. While "heirloom" labels and varieties don't guarantee great flavor (for that you need to consider how they're grown; I always look for dry-farmed tomatoes), they do offer a range of tomato flavors and colors unimaginable to most of us just a few years ago.

Try them in one of these classic tomato-and-bread recipes or an under-10-minute treatment.

Black Prince Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
Black Prince tomatoes have a sweet, earthy flavor and relatively firm texture.

Brandywine Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
Brandywine tomatoes are the most classically tomato-flavored and the hardiest of commonly available heirloom varieties. For that reason they are relatively widely available. Don't worry about grooves and bumps, Brandywine tomatoes are notoriously oddly shaped.

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
Cherokee Purple tomatoes are a bit earthier and sweeter than other varieties. They can be a reddish-purple color, as pictured here, or almost brown. Like Brandywine tomatoes, they tend to be larger than many heirloom varieties.

Chocolate Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
No, these don't actually taste of chocolate. They are a lovely darker color, verging towards brown. They also have a slightly sweeter flavor than your classic bright red tomato.


Costoluto Genovese Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
These bright red, deeply grooved tomatoes burst with balanced, classic tomato flavor.

Flamme Orange Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
Like most orange tomatoes, Flamme Orange tomatoes are sweeter and less acidic than other tomatoes. These small examples burst with juice.

German Green Tomatoes

These brilliant green tomatoes are meaty and gorgeous. When sliced they have a beautiful open structure and are wonderfully juicy - all of which explains why they are sometimes called "green beefsteaks."


Green Zebra Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
Green Zebra tomatoes are, as you might guess, green and striped. Lines of darker and lighter greens stripe the sides of these brightly tasting, just barely tart tomatoes.

Lemon Boy Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
A brightly flavored, low acid tomato, Lemon Boy tomatoes are perfect for slicing and eating or tossing into salads for color.

Marvel Stripe Tomatoes

Photo © Molly Watson
These are a great, all-purpose fresh eating tomato. Marvel Stripe tomatoes are best eaten raw--either sliced or chopped on their own or in salads for one reason: their fabulous color is lost when cooked or blended, and their stripes are a huge part of their charm. That said, they have a mild, balanced tomato flavor.

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