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Friday, 26 August 2016

For tomaoes!  Oh sure, you can get them year round, but late summer is when a greater variety of these delicious red-beauties (most of them being red) are at their peak.  Farmers' markets and most grocery stores are bursting at the seeds, I mean the seams...with so many different kinds of tomatoes these days.  Some of them you may not have even heard of.  But I want to talk about them today so you don't miss the opportunity to try and enjoy some.  For instance, I know you've heard of heirloom tomatoes, right?  (I love them!)  Ripened on the vine, they're one of the tastiest varieties of tomatoes.  Now let's talk about some you may not have heard of.

Sun Golds are like cherry tomatoes but sweeter than their bright-red cousins.
Sun Gold.  They're sweeter than their bright-red cousins.  It's more the size of a cherry tomato and is packed with flavor.  It's hearty enough to grow in hot or cold climates during several months of the year.  That means you'll find them available during much of the year.
Purple Bumble Bee.  (That's one I never heard of.)  It's another type of cherry tomato, has light striping and a firm skin that helps it withstand cool nights and hot days.
Green Zebra.  Now that one sounds really exotic and the name says it all.  This wild-looking heirloom tomato is known for its colorful skin, with stripes of green and a yellow blush.
Brandywines are  the heavyweights of the heirloom tomato family.
Brandywine.  This is the heavyweight of the heirloom tomato family.  Just one of them can weigh as much as one pound or more and comes in colors you might not expect for a tomato, like pink or even black.
Cherokee Purple.  I like that name.  One famous tomato-expert once called this type of tomato "ugly" but hey, wait 'til you taste one.  Its rich flavor makes up for its perhaps not-so-beautiful skin.  
Besides their sweet flavor, all tomatoes come with some super-sweet health benefits, too.  They're an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene, which is thought to help lower a person's risk for heart problems and some forms of cancer.  Tomatoes also contain healthy doses of vitamins A and C.  For the best fruits (and that's right, tomatoes are fruits...not vegetables), choose the ones with shiny, firm skin and that have a little give when you squeeze them.  Store your tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight.  By the way, storing them in the fridge can affect a tomato's texture and flavor.
Hey, have a little fun this weekend shopping for tomatoes.  Don't stick with the plain-old red ones we all grew up on, even though they are tasty and nutritious.  But since this is tomato season, give your taste buds and your health a real treat.  Bite into more exotic varieties of tomatoes while they're at their peak.  After all...tis the season!