Jillian Prout of Prout’s Jollyview Farm in the Oley Valley of Berks County enjoys the heirloom tomatoes she grows, but it might be fair to say she enjoys a good salsa from them even more.
Heirloom tomatoes, known as heritage tomatoes in the U.K., are the ancient tomatoes of those who came decades and centuries before us.
Prior to mass production and commercialization of fresh food becoming a part of our everyday culture, with the iconic red tomato carved into a summer meal norm, heirloom plants were all anyone knew.
Heirloom tomatoes, with old genes that are non-hybridized, can come in all ranges of colors besides red: think orange, yellow, white, green, purple, black and even blends of colors. And on top of that, they carry a history that’s unique to each one. They are also sometimes bizarre but fun, far from uniform shapes—even pleated. If you planted tomatoes in your garden this year, hopefully you had a chance to browse the selection of heirloom and grafted tomato plants at Wolff’s.
And the benefits of heirloom tomatoes are often that their flavors and nutrient contents are richer than the hybrid, mass-produced red ones you see in the supermarket.
Prout highly recommends using Brandywine cultivars of heirloom tomatoes in salsa, paired with yellow tomatoes of your choice as well to keep the color vibrant per bite.
“Brandywine tomatoes are meaty and have great flavor and color,” Prout says. “You can also use Mr. Stripey and Black Krim heirloom tomatoes, too.”
She also notes that this poignant salsa goes great with steak or barbeque.
“The lycopene in tomatoes are very good for your body and helps keep cancer away,” Prout adds.
This recipe yields around 4 cups but possibly more, depending on the size of the heirloom tomatoes involved.
Heirloom Tomato Salsa Recipe
- -4 to 5 heirloom tomatoes, Brandywine varieties, yellow-hued ones, Mr. Stripey or Black Krim
- -1 Vidalia onion
- -a couple of cloves of fresh garlic
- -a small heap of cilantro, cut into small pieces
- -a few drizzles of olive oil
- -a splash of apple cider vinegar
- Chop tomatoes into chunks of your size preference.
- Slice onions and cloves into dime-size or tinier pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and cilantro with several hearty stirs.
- Lightly mix in olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
- Enjoy with the dipping agent of your choice!