The Best Tomato Varieties

What tomato variety tastes the best is a matter of debate among avid gardeners and chefs. One thing they can come to agreement on, however, is that the most highly revered tomato varieties are from the heirloom tomato family, with their adapted structure, delicious flavor and pleasant texture. Heirloom seeds are usually passed down for at least a century, and are open-pollinated cultivars that have been adapted to specific tastes or climates. A handful of heirloom tomatoes are specifically favored for their flavor, size and appearance.

Beefsteak Heirlooms

As one of the most common types of heirlooms, beefsteak heirloom tomatoes are a step up from the already-beloved beefsteak tomatoes. These tomatoes, which can each weigh over one pound, have a very sweet, juicy flavor and are simple to grow, requiring a small amount of maintenance. As an heirloom variety, it is important to obtain the seeds from these, and the beefsteaks make it easy. These tomatoes contain seed pockets that make it simple to remove the seeds. Beefsteaks are commonly eaten sliced and raw, with smooth flesh that ranges from blush pink to rose red. This heirloom also has a particular type of ribbing that is comparable to ancient pre-Columbian tomatoes.

Brandywine

This variety of tomato precipitated all the heirloom hype in the first place for the gardening and cooking world, and for good reason. Since the 1800s, this tomato has been incorporated into almost any style and type of cooking. The large leaves on the plant help protect the fruit from the elements more than other varieties, helping the flesh grow thick and juicy and providing the inside of the fruit with ideal texture and sweet rich flavor. Since Brandywine is so meaty, it is ideal for slicing and cooking, particularly grilled, in salads or simmered in sauces.

Purple Cherokee

This black tomato (the first ever to grow popular) was originally cultivated by Cherokee Indians. The color ranges from almost black to dark purple and has green stripes brushed across the top. The flavor is smoky and sweet, an excellent complement to hardy dishes featuring meat or vegetables, or even in filling salads. This variety is the best for dehydrating because of the tomato's density.

Keywords: tomato varieties, best tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.