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Not Your Mother's Heirlooms


In the summer months, when the days slow down and leave us with a little more time to linger, it's great to take advantage of it to enjoy cooking and eating with fresh ingredients. It's the perfect time to call your mom, sister, or friend and scout your local farmer's market for this season's interesting produce and experiment with them in the kitchen.

Heirloom tomatoes, often large and oddly shaped, are especially plump and juicy this time of year. Each type of heirloom tomato bears unique characteristics that have been carefully cultivated by small farmers for years. They're easy to cut and don't leave a strong aftertaste like some regular tomatoes. Because heirlooms are specially grown, they are best savored in salads and other raw dishes that highlight their flavor.


1. Yellow Brandywine / 2. Brandywine / 3. Green Zebra

Here's an easy recipe for a summer salad that highlights the delicate flavors and bold colors of heirloom tomatoes:

3 heirloom tomatoes of different colors and sizes
1 nectarine (preferably crunchy)
1/4 sweet red onion
1/2 cucumber
1 or 2 limes
salt & pepper


Pit the tomatoes; you don't want your salad all seedy and watery, nor do you want that metallic taste the seeds sometimes come with. Thinly slice your fruits and veggies, toss them in lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pack this up in tupperware and enjoy beside the pool with a tall glass of iced tea!

Have you ever cooked with a new ingredient that you just fell in love with? Are you planning on cooking anything new?

(Photos by the author)