The Top 2 Tips To Remember When Buying Heirloom Tomatoes

Variety of Heirloom tomatoes
Variety of Heirloom tomatoes - Jess Gregg/Shutterstock

Heirloom tomatoes are pricy. The high cost of heirloom tomatoes has nothing to do with their interesting colors or unique shapes. These fruits are expensive because they taste better than those grown in large numbers for commercial sale. That is because the seeds they are grown from can be anywhere from 25 to 50 years old or older in some cases. For this reason, you want to take great care when picking them out, or you may as well put your money straight in the garbage. The first tip you want to remember when picking yours out to purchase is to pay attention to an heirloom tomato's skin; secondly, make sure it isn't overripe.

The skin of these tomatoes is notably thinner than those grown commercially. That means they are easier to bruise, whether that happens in transit or from people picking them up and pressing on them with their fingers too firmly. Press too hard on these babies, and you will leave a mark and cause them to bruise.

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Get Handsy With Heirloom Tomatoes

holding heirloom tomato in market
holding heirloom tomato in market - Lane V. Erickson/Shutterstock

The thin skin on an heirloom tomato makes it more perishable. That is why you need to be a little handsy and pick up these tomatoes and feel them. It will help you determine how ripe they are. They need to be firm to the touch, and when you gently press on the skin, it should not feel mushy or overly soft. If it does, these are not the tomatoes you are looking for.

If the tomato is a little on the firm side and you are worried it is at the opposite end of the ripeness spectrum, i.e. under-ripe, don't stress. It will be ready to eat in a day or two. Additionally, the skin should be smooth and taut, and the tomato should feel heavy. If the heirloom you pick up fits all these qualities, buy it and take it home to make a BLT with saffron aïoli or heirloom tomato caprese salad.

Remove The Stems Of Your Heirloom Tomatoes

towel and tomatoes on cutting board
towel and tomatoes on cutting board - Kostiantyn Kravchenko/Shutterstock

Bruising is the nemesis of an heirloom tomato's shelf life. It could cause your tomatoes to become soft and mushy a lot quicker, which is why it is important to protect them. When you go to the grocery store or your farmer's market, pack a soft towel in your reusable bag, and you can wrap the tomatoes so they aren't bumping up against one another causing bruises to form. It is also a good idea to remove the stems, or they could puncture your tomatoes and cause it to perish even quicker.

Heirloom tomatoes should be stored at room temperature and with nothing piled on top of them -- not even other tomatoes. However, if you do not have plans to use them within a day or two of purchasing, store them in the fridge. This will slow down the ripening process and keep them firm a little longer so they aren't soft, mealy, or mushy when you are ready to eat them.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.