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Siberian Heirloom Tomatoes
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Siberian tomatoes are small, round to egg-shaped tomatoes with smooth, orange-red skin and juicy, tangy and flavorful flesh. They average three to five ounces in weight, two to three inches in size, and they grow in clusters of thirty or more on bushy vines. The Siberian tomato plant is a determinate variety, a dwarf sprawling plant with wrinkled dark-green foliage that does not require staking, and can produce well even when planted in a large pot. Siberian tomatoes are unique in their tolerance of cool conditions, setting fruit as low as thirty-eight degrees, and they are also one of the earliest varieties on the market, producing large crops early in the season.
Siberian tomatoes are available in the summer and fall.
The Siberian tomato is open-pollinated and considered an heirloom variety, and it is not the same as the Siberia tomato, which is another cultivar entirely, though this more common variety is often confused with the superior Siberian tomato. Tomatoes are scientifically known as Solanum lycopersicum, formerly Lycopersicon esculentum, and they are members of the Solanaceae family.
Like all tomatoes, Siberian tomatoes are high in the cancer-fighting agent, Lycopene, as well as vitamin C and vitamin A, which can help to promote healthy eyes and skin, and strong bones and teeth. Tomatoes are a good source of calcium and iron, and they also contain decent amounts of fiber and potassium.
Siberian tomatoes are very versatile, as they are absolutely delicious for eating fresh but are also well suited for sauces, juices, and pastes. Use tomatoes in sandwiches and salads, or try frying with bacon and eggs for a tasty breakfast. Tomatoes pair especially nicely with Italian flavors such as oregano, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and fresh mozzarella cheese. Store tomatoes at room temperature until ripe, after which refrigeration can slow the process of decay.
Siberian tomato seeds are rumored to have been smuggled out of Russia as early as 1975. They are commonly believed to have been collected by seed expert Bill McDorman, who travelled to the USSR in 1989 in hopes of obtaining seed of a variety of tomatoes. It was presumably through the generosity of a woman at the Siberian Institute of Horticulture that McDorman was able to get a selection of seeds from fifty different Siberian heirloom tomato varieties to be planted in American gardens. However, this Siberian tomato cultivar was allegedly offered a few years earlier, in 1984, in the United States through the Seed Savers Exchange yearbook by Will Bonsall, originally from the Lowden Collection. No matter when it first arrived, this heirloom Siberian tomato has been a prized addition to the American market in the years since.
The Siberian tomato is native to Russia where it most likely adapted to the region’s shorter growing season. Unlike most tomato cultivars, Siberian tomatoes do not require high temperatures to set fruit, needing just a few degrees above freezing in order to grow, hence they are a perfect choice for cooler regions and shorter growing seasons. Siberian tomatoes are said to grow well in USDA hardiness zones three through nine. They are a popular variety grown in Alaska, and are thought to be a great cultivar for Canada and the more northern states in America.
Recipes that include Siberian Heirloom Tomatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Taste and Tell||Mini Caprese Tartlets|
|How Sweet Eats||Heirloom Tomato, Avocado and Burrata Salad on Grilled Garlic Toast|
|Jo Cooks||Baked Parmesan Tomatoes|