Heirloom tomato harvest is in full swing on the farm, and with the bounty that surrounds us, some tips are in order! Before getting into all of that, though, let’s talk about what makes these tomatoes just so special:
- They are a variety that is many generations old!
- If you plant their seeds, the same variety will consistently grow (unlike the hybrid tomatoes at the grocery store, which yield unpredictable results).
- They are naturally more disease-resistant than commercial tomatoes, but they have a shorter shelf life. Due to this somewhat fragile nature, we keep ours growing in our greenhouses, where they are safe and cozy.
- They lack the genetic mutation that makes conventional tomatoes perfectly round and red but, in exchange, can produce more natural sugars within the fruit, making them much more flavorful.
- Their many colors signify the presence of phytochemicals (disease-fighting, immune-boosting super substances) that are classified into the carotenoids (red, orange, purple), flavonoids (orange, yellow) and glucosinolates (greens), meaning they are saturated with nutrients that fight cancer and inflammation and act as pro-provitamins!
Now, on to the tips!
- Don’t be alarmed by how heirloom tomatoes look. They are often multi-colored, crazily shaped, and enormous, but they are perfect for eating!
- Never refrigerate your tomatoes. It will actually make them mealy. Store them on your counter at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
- We pick our tomatoes only when they’re perfectly ripe and ready to eat on the very same day we pack them into on your CSA shares or bring them to the market. This ensures that you get the freshest, most optimal produce possible. These lovely, ripe tomatoes should be gobbled up within a few days of receiving them.
- If you find yourself with too many tomatoes on your hands, they freeze wonderfully. Simply blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, peel off the thin skin, and core. Freeze whole or diced, depending on your preference. Make sure to leave about an inch of head space in the container or bag in which you pack them, as they will expand while freezing.