Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom TomatoesAt The Chef’s Garden @ Epicurean we grow a wide range of heirloom tomatoes from our own seed and as summer progresses expect to see all shapes, sizes and colours of these superior tasting fruits.

For more information and to see what you might expect over the summer months visit the Heirloom Tomato Seeds page.

Check each week to see which varieties are available – some are only available for a short time while others will be around for longer.

It is hard to imagine Italian cooking without tomatoes, but it was not until the late 16th century that the tomato became known as pomme d’amour, which translates as ‘love apples’, and a staple in their cuisine. Native to Central and South America they were bought back to Europe by the Spanish explorers but were at first viewed with suspicion and thought to be poisonous.

Availability: Summer

Goes with: just about everything!

SELECTING, STORING, PREPARING & USING TOMATOES

Selection: Tomatoes should be selected according to how you want to use and when you want to use them. If purchasing tomatoes, it is best to buy small quantities often so that you can use them quickly and keep them at room temperature.

We organically grow many different heirloom varieties which come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and are wonderful for salads. One of the charming features of heirloom varieties is their irregular shape and then, of course, there is their superior taste.

To Peel: There are two main methods used to peel tomatoes – boiling water and vegetable peeler.

The boiling water method is ideal if peeling a large quantity of tomatoes. Using a small sharp knife cut a cross in the base of the tomato and place in a large bowl. Pour over boiling water and leave for 30 seconds, pour off water and pour over iced water to cover. Using a small sharp knife remove skin – it should lift off easily.

When tomatoes are to be used raw it is best to peel them with a vegetable peeler.

To Seed: Cut peeled tomatoes in half then using the handle of a teaspoon or your fingers scoop out the seeds and jelly from each cavity.

To Dice: Peel tomatoes using a vegetable peeler, then seed and slice into thin strips. Pile strips on top of each other, turn 90°, then cut through the strips to form a dice.

Using: Whether it’s a simple tomato sandwich, freshly made tomato sauce or salsa or something more exotic you can be sure that it will taste better when you choose one of our heirloom varieties.

  • Heirloom Tomato Salad: Select a range of different coloured heirloom tomatoes, cut into thick slices and arrange on a serving platter. Drizzle with a little olive oil, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and scatter with torn basil leaves.
  • Slow Roast Tomatoes: Preheat oven to 150°C. Cut ripe tomatoes in half and arrange cut side up in a shallow baking dish. Bake for 1 hour. Combine ½ cup extra virgin olive oil and 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar and sprinkle over tomatoes. Season with fresh ground black pepper and scatter with a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Bake for 1-1½ hours longer or until the tomatoes are soft and the edges start to caramelise. Place cooled tomatoes in a covered container and store in the refrigerator with the cooking juices for up to 1 week. Use in salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches or just to snack on.

Recipes Using Tomatoes

Grilled Capsicum and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes, Olives, and Eggs

Baked Cherry Tomatoes & Feta

Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Yogurt Dressing

Heirloom Tomato & Herb Salad

Fresh Tomato & Cheese Tart

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