Summer Cooking: Tomato Varieties

There might be nothing tastier than a fresh, ripe summer tomato. They’re even better if they’re straight from the garden. Honestly, I’ve become such a tomato snob that I can’t even eat them out of season anymore because the difference is so noticeable. What I really love about summer tomatoes are all of the colors and types available. Here are some of our favorite tomato varieties and the best ways to use them:

Styling by Caylin Harris

Beefsteaks: Huge tomatoes that have a nice mild taste. They work best raw—they have too much water in them to cook up nicely—on a sandwich (my favorite is a tomato sandwich in the summer) or in a salad.
Roma or plum tomatoes: Contain very few seeds and work really well in a homemade pasta sauces because of their tangy taste.
Tomatillo: A green looking tomato that originated in Mexico. It has a rough husk around it and a tart flavor. While they can be eaten raw I like using them for salsa verde, in enchiladas, soups, or to make sauces.
Grape tomatoes: Small and sweet, while these little ones work well in a salad or stuck onto kebobs—my absolute favorite way to prepare them is to slow roast them in the oven on low heat for a few hours with a little olive oil and salt. They put store bought sun dried tomatoes to shame and work in salads or pastas—if you can get them to stick around. They’re so good you’ll want to eat them right off the pan.
Heirloom: No two look the same!  They can come in a huge range of colors, sizes, and flavors so they look especially gorgeous sliced and served fresh. A classic caprese salad with basil and fresh mozzarella, a tomato tart, or Panzanella are your best bet for using these gorgeous varietals.
Hothouse (on-the-vine): These are my go-to year round tomatoes if I need them. They have a nice mild flavor but are grown in a greenhouse so again, the flavor can be a little lacking occasionally but might be your best bet at certain times of the year.
Yellow pear tomatoes: A mild somewhat sweet, fruity flavor this type is a little less acidic. The same goes for orange tomatoes. They’re so tasty it’s tempting to eat them right off the vine after a quick rinse. Have them as a snack or place them on a crudite platter.

Any other favorite tomato recipes? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Rach wrote:

    This is so helpful! My favorite tomatoes are heirloom. They’re so tasty and love how colorful they are!

    6.27.17 | Reply
    • Caylin Harris wrote:

      Thank you! I second that. It’s nice to have something that tastes and looks amazing on your summer table.

      6.27.17 | Reply

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