Summer is upon us and that means the juiciest, most full-flavoured, sun-ripened tomatoes. These fruits of the nightshade family, get their red colour from lycopene, prized for its antioxidant properties. Originally from South America, there now more than 5000 varieties of tomato. It would be a pity to ignore them. Here are five heritage varieties that are our favourites.
Cuor di Bue
Called also Oxheart or Coeur de Boeuf for their shape and size, these heavyweight beauties are meaty with very few seeds. Their size makes them ideal for stuffing, for instance with creamy risotto and extra parmesan on top. Or have you ever tried a tomato carpaccio: thinly sliced Cuor di Bue tomato with a drop of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a touch of sea salt and garnished with fresh basil. That is summer on a plate.
Don´t be fooled by their colour. These evergreen balls of goodness feature attractive yellow stripes and stand out for their intense and tangy flavour. They are perfect for salsas and chutneys, with scorched, juicy steaks or a light salad mixed with watermelon and mint.
Bred in the 1890s, this yellow heritage variety is an all-time favourite due to its thin skin, firm flesh and distinctly sweet flavour. The bright yellow colour is adding cheer to your summer salad and tastes fantastic in a sauce speckled with fresh oregano.
This longish Italian variety is at home in the volcanic soils of Mount Vesuvius in Southern Italy where it has been cultivated since the 18th century and enjoys protected status: Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese Nocerino DOP). It is one of the most popular varieties and you will come across it in Italian tinned pasta, in passata and various other products. Some chefs go as far as saying it is the only tomato permitted on a real pizza. With very few seeds and much flesh, it is super versatile. Try it as a soup topped with goat cheese croutons.
Containing distinctly less calories than chocolate, this small and plump cherry tomato is the ideal snack on hot summer days. Bread in the United States, it has become a firm favourite with home gardeners: not only is its flavour superior, it also is easy to grow, rather resilient and very productive.
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