Christmas Heirloom Tomato Salad
Once you’ve had a perfectly ripe, heirloom tomato just picked and maybe even still warm from the sun, we promise that a regular hybrid tomato will never be the same. I’d never fully understood what the term heirloom actually meant, and how they differed to any other fruit/vegetable. Was it just a trendy word that grocery stores now added to their packaging in order to sell more products, or was there actually something significant behind it. So I did a little research when recipe testing for this Tomato Salad.
Heirloom vegetables are old varieties of food plants that have evolved and survived through careful seed saving, often passed down through generations of farmers and gardeners, and often actually cost less to produce. But there’s far more to it than just price. They’re those oddly shaped vegetables you usually find at farmers markets. We’ve always been drawn to the oddly shaped veggies, and feel the more natural the better. Don’t be afraid of their different and diverse shapes or colours, they’re meant to have odd lines and bumps. They’re vegetables that are perfect in their imperfect way. Heirloom produce is more flavourful and simply tastes better. The tomatoes are juicier and plumper and you’ll immediately notice the difference the minute you taste them. There is a far wider range of tomatoes than just ‘cocktail’ or ‘rosa’. To name but a few, there are
- Black Cherry (purple/black)
- Brandywine (pink beefsteak)
- Chocolate Stripes (red/green striped)
- Blondkopfchen (yellow cherry)
- Black Krim (purple/black beefsteak)
- Amana Orange (orange beefsteak)
- Azoychka (yellow/orange beefsteak)
- Mahogany Beefsteak
- Sunset’s Red Horizon (red beefsteak)
One of the amazing things about heirloom produce is open pollination; you’re able to harvest seeds from the plants you grow each year. Even when you cut open a tomato and some of the seeds spill out, save them. Don’t wash them down the sink or toss them in the bin, they have the ability to grow into lovely plants. You actually can’t do this with a lot of storebought tomato seeds.
Heirloom tomatoes are also more nutrient dense, meaning they contain more of the good juice than tomatoes grown on a larger scale for large agricultural purposes. They are a rich source of vitamin C, which helps nourish your adrenal glands and reduces stress.Woman especially need to be conscious of what stress is doing to our bodies. Chronic stress can lead to ongoing cycles of fatigue, waves of exhaustion, mood swings, and hormonal imbalances, which in turn leads to over-consumption of sugary foods, caffeine, alcohol and sleeping pills, all of this majorly impacts the rhythm of our bodies. This can all be avoided by eating the correct foods that would support your adrenals, such as heirloom tomatoes. One medium heirloom provides 40 percent of your daily requirement of this immune-building nutrient. Working in the deadline-driven the creative industry, we know all too well how much we need to be nourishing our adrenal glands. Organically grown tomatoes also tend to be higher in lycopene, a kind of carotenoid that plays a role in the prevention of cancer. Studies have shown that lycopene is protective against various types of cancer including breast and pancreatic cancer.
Aside from all their nutritious values, heirloom tomatoes also remind us of Christmas, you know; round shiny balls in green, yellow and red, and when you combine them with pops of green from mint and parsley and pair it with sweet pomegranate gems it makes for the perfect Christmas table accompaniment. The balance of flavours is quite outstanding for a dish that contains simple ingredients. Because heirloom tomatoes differ in colour and size, they also differ in taste; specifically levels of sweetness, acidity, toughness and texture – which makes for a perfectly rounded dish. The mint provides the freshness, and lemon the brightness, while the pomegranate rubies provide a lovely burst of tart and festive feel. We all love the side dishes but its nearly time for the main course and then everyone’s favourite part of the meal – dessert, so make sure you stay hungry.
- 400g Heirloom Tomato Mix
- 175 Pomegranate Rubies
- 30g Fresh Basil
- 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
- 10g Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 10g Fresh Mint, chopped
For the Dressing
- 1/2tsp Cumin
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Alternate your cutting method when chopping up the tomatoes; large ones can be sliced, while smaller ones can be halved; don’t be afraid to add some variety.
- Add your chopped tomatoes to a large salad bowl along with you thinly sliced red onion and roughly torn basil leaves.
- Toss gently to combine and top with pomegranate rubies and finely chopped parsley, place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
- Using a small bowl whisk together your dressing ingredients and set aside until serving.
- Serve alongside your Christmas main and enjoy!