Heirloom Tomatoes: Perfectly Imperfect
- denoting a traditional variety of plant or breed of animal which is not associated with large-scale commercial agriculture.
- a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.
Both have great significance when you bite into a beautiful heirloom tomato. The first thing you see is the bright, robust colors. Heirloom tomatoes come in shades of yellow as bright as the sun; green as spring grass as it sprouts after winter. Reds that are as deep as southern roots. Colors are so robust you can feel them when from your first bite. The appearance is not perfectly round or oval like beefsteak or Roma. Instead, they appear imperfect, adding to the charm and significance of this fruit. They are anything but the standard norm, taking you back to the way food is grown by farmers should look and feel. When did we start judging food? What is the definition of imperfect? While it is true, eating begins with the eyes.
Where did we go wrong with no longer seeing the beauty of foods being pulled from the earth? What is the definition of perfect food? Is it color? Shape? Firmness? Ripeness? We are not judging diamonds; you won’t be staring down at a plate of the same food three years from now. Food is meant for nourishment first, enjoyment second. Are Americans so snobby they can’t bring themselves to enjoy a carrot if it’s not perfectly symmetrical with no dents or dings? Does every tomato that goes into the pot need to be the same size and color? Will this affect the flavor?
Imperfect foods make up to 40 percent of the food waste in our country. Grocery stores turn away produce that doesn’t look or feel in accordance with the American people. There is so much waste, a company titled “imperfect foods” Is addressing the 20 billion pounds of produce set aside by farmers each year. That is an unimaginable amount of food of waste, while 38 billion people go hungry in the U.S each year.
The beauty of heirlooms is in imperfections. A reminder that perfection is in the eye of the beholder. The seeds of heirlooms can be saved and planted directly in the soil, continuing the legacy. They are thick to the touch, sweet to the palette, and served in various ways. My favorite way to enjoy it is in its simplest form. Sliced, drizzled lightly with olive oil, and topped with fresh herbs. Every bite takes you back into time when food wasn’t complicated. Eaten straight from nature, savored, loved, and enjoyed.
Fresh Heirlooms with Basil Oil
3-4 Fresh Heirlooms, quartered
2 TBS Soft Goat Cheese
Pink Salt& Fresh Cracked Pepper
1 Bunch Fresh Basil (save a few leaves for the top)
¼ Olive Oil
Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper
Pulse ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix, combine, breaking down basil. If making by hand, finely chop basil, add ingredient to jar with lid, shake vigorously to combine.
Directions: Arrange tomatoes on a platter or serving dish, season with pink salt and fresh cracked pepper. Drizzle on basil oil, top with dollops of goat cheese. Lay fresh basil leaves onto for extra basil if desired.