Random Ingredient: Heirloom Tomatoes

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

What is it? The "heirloom" in heirloom tomatoes refers to the fact that many of the seeds have been passed down through generations of families. Cultivated for any number of characteristics, heirloom tomatoes come in endless shapes, sizes and colors. Another distinct characteristic of these boutique-like tomatoes is their open pollination. According to Wikipedia, this form of pollination is the basis of the popular "birds and bees" story we all hear around puberty - basically, wind, birds, bees or other natural forms of pollination help to propagate various types of heirloom tomatoes. Lucky for us, these usually small-batch crops of tomatoes are only picked when ripe and in season, which is why they taste so much better than commercially grown tomatoes, which are picked early and artificially ripened.

What is it used for? Most heirloom tomatoes found in grocery stores are best eaten with very simple preparations. Salads work best to highlight their superior flavor and beautiful shapes and colors, although their versatility extends to anything where a regular tomato can be used. Easy and delicious: Just drizzle raw tomato slices with a light vinaigrette or olive oil to enhance the already ripened flavors.

Where can you buy it in Houston? Central Market is almost a sure bet - you can get them almost any time of year, but they're not always locally grown. These two traveled all the way from Canada. Farmer's Markets (in the summer) are also great places to scout for the ripe, multicolored tomatoes.

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Panzanella - Courtesy of Food Network

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.