Which heirloom tomato is best?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

When it comes to heirloom tomatoes, there are several varieties that stand out for their taste, color, and overall quality. While everyone may have their own preferences, here are some of the best heirloom tomatoes that I have personally grown and enjoyed:

1. Cherokee Purple: This tomato is truly a showstopper with its unique dark purple-black skin and rich, sweet flavor. The outer flesh of the Cherokee Purple tomato is a beautiful mix of red, green, and purple, while the interior flesh is a darker shade of red. It has a balanced sweetness and acidity that makes it perfect for slicing and enjoying fresh in salads or sandwiches.

2. Black Cherry: If you’re a fan of cherry tomatoes, then the Black Cherry variety is a must-try. These small, round tomatoes have a deep, purplish-black color and a sweet, complex flavor. They are perfect for snacking, adding to salads, or even roasting for a burst of intense flavor.

3. Brandywine: Brandywine tomatoes are one of the most popular heirloom varieties. They are large, beefsteak-type tomatoes with a slightly wrinkled skin and a sweet, rich taste. The texture is incredibly juicy, and the flavor is often described as wine-like. Brandywine tomatoes come in different colors, including pink, red, and yellow, offering a range of options to choose from.

4. Hawaiian Pineapple: This heirloom tomato is a true delight for both the eyes and the taste buds. It is a large, multicolored tomato with yellow and red streaks reminiscent of a pineapple. The flavor is sweet and fruity, with a hint of tropical notes. Hawaiian Pineapple tomatoes are perfect for slicing and adding a pop of color to salads or sandwiches.

5. Green Giant, Green Zebra, and Cherokee Green: While not as commonly known as their red counterparts, green heirloom tomatoes offer a unique flavor and appearance. Green Giant is a large, green variety with a sweet and tangy taste. Green Zebra has a striped green skin and a tangy flavor that pairs well with fresh herbs. Cherokee Green, similar to its purple counterpart, has a dark green skin and a sweet, smoky flavor. These green tomatoes are great for adding variety to your dishes and adding a vibrant touch to your garden.

Although not technically heirlooms, there are a few other tomato varieties worth mentioning for their exceptional taste. Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, for example, are incredibly sweet and bursting with flavor. They are an absolute favorite among gardeners and are perfect for snacking or adding to salads. San Marzano tomatoes, on the other hand, are known for their meaty texture and rich, sweet taste. They are perfect for making sauces and canning.

The best heirloom tomato ultimately depends on personal preference. However, from my own experience and the feedback I have received from fellow gardeners, Cherokee Purple, Black Cherry, Brandywine, Hawaiian Pineapple, and the various green varieties are among the top choices for their exceptional taste, unique appearance, and overall quality. Whether you’re looking for a slicing tomato, a snacking tomato, or one for making sauces, these heirloom varieties are sure to impress. Happy growing and savoring your delicious tomatoes!