There’s nothing quite like a summer-ripe tomato—the heady, sweet smell, the intoxicating, succulent flavor, and of course the acidic juices to beat the heat. A terrific source of vitamin C, with a touch of vitamin A, potassium and fiber thrown in for good measure, they don’t just taste great, they’re also good for you. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that may slow down aging of the skin and may be beneficial against cancer and heart disease. Cooking may actually increase the health benefits of this lush fruit.
Heirloom tomatoes are increasingly popular, treasured for both their colorful flesh and unique flavors. If you haven’t tried anything but a plain old beefsteak and cherry tomatoes, now is the time. These quirky tomatoes carry names like Mikado, Brandywine, Box Car Willie, Bull’s Heart, Hillbilly, Pixie Peach, Green Zebra and, among countless others, Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter. Since heirlooms are grown from vintage seeds, there is no fear of genetic modification or tampering. Unlike supermarket tomatoes, heirlooms tend to be subtle and unique in flavor and range in color from green to black to rainbow-striped.