What Do Heirloom Tomatoes Taste Like?

Ever seen heirloom tomatoes in the ingredients of a restaurant menu and noticed the dish to be more expensive than usual? It is because of heirloom tomatoes and their royal taste. Heirloom tomatoes are very different from regular ones due to their distinct flavor. Wondering what exactly do heirloom tomatoes taste like and what is so special about them?

Heirloom tomatoes have a perfect blend of sweetness and acidity. They have distinct flavor notes ranging from smoky to sweet to tangy. Heirloom tomatoes have a traditional and old-fashioned flavor. They are the perfect ingredient to enhance the taste of pasta, sauces, salsas, and sandwiches. 

Heirloom tomatoes have numerous varieties that come in different colors, shapes, and flavors. All the heirloom varieties are distinct from each other. You must know the characteristics of the heirloom tomato varieties before choosing one for yourself. Today, you will learn about the taste of the best heirloom tomato varieties and tips and tricks to grow them. So, let’s get started!

What do Different Heirloom Tomato Types Taste Like

Heirloom tomatoes are different from regular tomatoes in flavor, appearance, and genetics. They are open-pollinated either through self-pollination or through a natural pollinator. 

Heirloom tomatoes refer to a large range of tomato varieties. The heirloom is actually a true-breeding seed that passes down from generation to generation. The focus is on a particular trait of the tomato such as its size, flavor, or color. 

Their taste depicts true tomato taste providing a luxurious and high-end feel. The perfect quantity of sweetness and acidity in heirloom tomatoes make them distinct from other tomatoes.

Here’s the thing:

Growing conditions affect the taste of heirloom tomatoes. So, a famous heirloom tomato variety might be bland if grown in unsuitable conditions.

The appearance of an heirloom tomato isn’t a guarantee for a particular taste. As we have tons of varieties of heirloom tomatoes, it is easier to discuss some best-tasting heirloom tomatoes and their flavor instead of the whole class. 

Here’s a chart to understand how some varieties of heirloom tomatoes taste:

Heirloom Tomato VarietyFlavorColorWeight
Brandywine TomatoHigh sweetness and low acidityPink1-1.5 lbs
Mortgage Lifter TomatoSweet with a hint of tanginessPink1-2 lbs
Galina TomatoFragrant, less sweet and more tartYellow0.04 lbs
Paul Robeson TomatoSweet and smokyBlack0.4-0.6 lbs
Black Cherry TomatoSmoky taste with a hint of sweetness and tanginessBlack0.04 lbs
Costoluto TomatoHigh acidity, low sweetnessRed0.4 lbs
Carmello TomatoMore sweetness, less acidityRed0.3-0.7 lbs
Golden Jubilee TomatoMild flavor with low acidityGolden-yellow0.3-0.4 lbs

Let’s discuss these tomato varieties in detail now!

Brandywine Tomatoes

Brandywine Tomatoes

Brandywine is a pink heirloom tomato variety. They have an intense flavor with a creamy aftertaste. The huge beefsteak-sized Brandywine tomatoes weigh approximately 1-1.5 lbs. 

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Brandywine tomatoes are famous for their sweetness and true summer tomato flavor. They have low acidity, a juicy and meaty texture, and a lot of sweetness. You get a true home-grown tomato taste from this variety.

A meaty mortgage lifter heirloom tomato

Mortgage Lifter Tomato

Mortgage lifter tomatoes are from the pink heirloom tomato variety. They have a rich taste with a meaty texture. Mortgage lifter tomatoes taste like real tomatoes having a perfect blend of sweetness and acidity.

It is a huge variety weighing approximately 1-2 lbs. This variety is perfect to eat alone or add to an heirloom tomato salad.

Galina Tomatoes

Galina Tomato

Galina tomato is a golden-yellow variety of heirloom tomatoes. They have subtle sweetness with a noticeable fragrance. It isn’t a sweet tomato variety but they have a royal, and real tomato-like taste. They have a considerable tarty flavor too.

It is a small variety of tomatoes looking like yellow cherry tomatoes. On average, a single Galina tomato weighs only 20 g. You experience a rich flavor when the tomatoes are golden-yellow and ripened.

Paul Robeson Tomatoes

Paul Robeson is a Russian variety of black heirloom tomatoes. They have a distinct smoky flavor with considerable sweetness. This variety is famous for its complex flavor bringing royalty to any dish you add.

Paul Robeson tomatoes have a hint of tanginess and a lot of smokiness and sweetness. You will notice an earthy taste while eating these tomatoes. They weigh around 7-10 ounces per tomato.

Black Cherry Tomatoes on a vine

Black Cherry Tomato

Another rich-flavor, black heirloom tomato variety is the black cherry tomatoes. Their slightly sweet taste, aromatic and juicy texture and smokiness makes them perfect to eat fresh.

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Perfectly vine-ripened black cherry tomatoes provide a traditional and old-fashion taste. Their intense taste blooms from late summer into fall. They have around 20 g like usual cherry tomatoes.

Costoluto Tomatoes

The deep red color and intense flavor of Costoluto tomatoes is an Italian favorite variety. They have more acidity than sweetness and are perfect for pasta and sauces.

Costoluto tomatoes taste amazing when mixed with Italian ingredients such as olive oil, oregano, parmesan, etc. It has a meaty flesh with acidity as a stellar flavor. They weigh about 200 grams per tomato.

A Bunch of Costoluto Genovese Tomatoes

Carmello Tomato

Carmello is a red heirloom tomato with a perfect round shape and deep red color. Its rich and sweet flavor makes it a star tomato forFrench dishes. 

Carmello tomatoes have a perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. The unique feature of Carmello tomatoes is that their flavor remains for days. 

Golden Jubilee

Golden Jubilee Tomato

Golden jubilee tomatoes have a mild flavor with thick and meaty skin. It has low acidity and is perfect for salads, sauces, and salsa. These are one of the most famous heirloom varieties of tomato juice because of their low acidity.

Tips for Growing Heirloom Tomatoes Yourself

Knowing how appetizing heirloom tomatoes taste, you might want to grow them in your garden. Heirloom tomatoes are rich in flavor and are an amazing addition to your vegetable collection. Let’s check out some tips and tricks to grow these vegetables!

  1. Choose the Right Conditions 

Start planting heirloom tomatoes early in the growing season. The best time is early spring after the frost passes. 

Well-draining soil and a sunny side are important for the proper growth of heirloom tomatoes. They are prone to catch diseases present in the soil. Therefore, plant the tomatoes away from other plants of the same family.

  1. Stake the Plants

Staking heirloom tomatoes saves them from diseases. It provides the plant with sufficient support and strength. Learn the proper way to stake plants and get healthy heirloom tomatoes in your garden.

  1. Add Mulch Beneath Plants
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Adding mulch beneath the plants keeps them healthy. It improves the fertility of the soil, provides sufficient nutrients to the plants, and keeps the soil moisturized. All the factors are important for healthy and tasty heirloom tomatoes.

  1. Prune Properly

Heirloom tomatoes grow vigorously and require frequent pruning. It prevents foliar diseases and provides more air circulation to healthy plants. If you don’t remove the suckers, they take the energy and nutrients from healthy branches. 

Pruning heirloom tomatoes will provide them with better shape and healthy growth.

  1. Add Generous Space Between Plants

Adding a generous space between plants is another way to control disease spread and improve air circulation. The plants should have at least 1 foot of distance. [1]

  1. Only Pick Dried Tomatoes

If you want to experience a flavorful heirloom tomato, don’t pick it after the rain as the soil is fully moisturized and the plants take up more water than usual. Such plants might taste bland. [2] Waiting for the soil to dry before picking the tomatoes is ideal. 

Different varieties of heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes vs. Regular Tomatoes

What is so special about heirloom tomatoes that regular tomatoes don’t have? Here’s a brief comparison between heirloom tomatoes and regular tomatoes.

Heirloom TomatoesRegular Tomatoes
Intense flavorLess intense flavor
Irregularly shapedUsually round shaped
ExpensiveReasonably priced

Heirloom tomatoes are well-known for their true and traditional tomato flavor. They are grown for taste, are irregularly shaped, and are meatier and juicier. While on the other hand, regular tomatoes are grown for their size and appearance. 

Regular tomatoes,however, are not as expensive as heirloom tomatoes. Therefore, for a large number of guests, people prefer regular tomatoes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are Heirloom Tomatoes Organic?

Heirloom tomatoes are organic and susceptible to pests and diseases. Farmers growing heirloom tomatoes get less than half the yield they plant due to infestation and diseases. 

  1. Are Heirloom Tomatoes Healthy?

Heirloom tomatoes contain minimum chemical content, while having a high vitamin content. Farmers pick heirloom tomatoes at the full ripened stage where their nutrient content is high. They have a lot of antioxidants as well.

  1. Which Dishes are Heirloom Tomatoes Best for?

Pasta, sauces, salads, salsa, and sandwiches will taste appetizing if you use heirloom tomatoes in them. Heirloom tomatoes contain a rich flavor and taste amazing when eaten fresh.

Final Thoughts

Heirloom tomatoes are royal in taste. Their sweetness and acidity are perfect for everyone who likes to eat fresh tomatoes. There are wide varieties of heirloom tomatoes with different flavors. Italian and French dishes stand out more when made with heirloom tomatoes. However, the tomatoes are susceptible to diseases. Therefore you must use all the precautionary measures to prevent pests and infestation. 

References:

  1. 10 Tips for Growing Heirloom Tomatoes | Johnny’s Selected Seeds. (2022). Retrieved 23 September 2022, from https://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/vegetables/tomatoes/10-tips-for-heirloom-tomatoes.html 
  2. Expert Tips on Growing Heirloom Tomato Plants | Bonnie Plants. (2022). Retrieved 23 September 2022, from https://bonnieplants.com/blogs/garden-fundamentals/tips-growing-heirloom-tomatoes-market-farmers 

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