The main reason to choose heirloom varieties is the flavor. There's no one heirloom-tomato taste; you'll find a wide range of flavors in the heirloom-tomato world. But many heirlooms are prized for having an old-time taste -- they're a far cry from tomatoes at the grocery store, but they have a shorter growing season and shelf life than modern varieties. The selection of tomatoes will vary through the season, so here is a broad description of the different colours:
- The large red or pink tomatoes offer up what most of us think of as a classic tomato flavor — a balance of acid and sweetness.
- Black tomatoes tend to have an earthy, almost smoky sweetness to them, with a bit less acid than red tomatoes.
- The common tone of green tomatoes is a bright acidity, but the degree of sweetness tends to vary quite a bit.
- Striped heirlooms (sometimes called marbled), are beautiful and they tend to have a rich, juicy, super-sweet flavor that is low in acid.
- Orange tomatoes are mild, sweet, and are low-acid. They are the varieties that will remind you that tomatoes are, botanically speaking, fruits.
- Yellow and "white" tomatoes are noticeably less acidic than red tomatoes. Some consider them the sweetest tomatoes and some consider them to be the most bland.
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