Big Rainbow Heirloom Tomato
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|Food Buzz: History of Heirloom Tomatoes|
Big Rainbow tomatoes are large, ribbed, beefsteak tomatoes that can weigh up to 2 pounds, and over 10 centimeters in diameter. The fruit ripens to have rainbow-colored skin, with yellow and orange in the middle, green shoulders, and red marbled streaks, particularly on the blossom end. The firm, juicy flesh is golden yellow-orange, often with a distinguished red splotch at the bottom. They offer a mild, sweet fruity flavor with a nice balance of acids and sugars. The sprawling vines of the Big Rainbow tomato plant can grow more than 6 feet. It is a late but heavy producer, and is recommended for staking in order to bear the weight of the massive fruits.
Big Rainbow tomatoes are available in late summer.
Big Rainbow tomatoes are scientifically known as Solanum lycopersicum or Lycopersicon esculentum. Tomatoes are members of the large and diverse Solanaceae family, also known as the Nightshade family, which includes more than three thousand known species, such as potatoes, eggplants, peppers, tobacco, and even deadly nightshades and other poisonous plants.
Big Rainbow tomatoes are packed with beneficial nutrients, like vitamin A and vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties. Tomatoes also contain good amounts of potassium and the B vitamins, which are good for heart health, and they are most well-known for containing a powerful carotenoid called lycopene. This phytonutrient, which is responsible for the red color of tomatoes and other fruit, has been studied for its role in protecting against certain types of cancers, and its ability to lower cholesterol.
Big Rainbow tomatoes are delicious for eating raw as they are low in acidity and sweet in flavor. Like other beefsteak tomatoes, they are an excellent choice for slicing, thanks to their large size and their firm flesh. Their unique coloring makes them stand out when sliced on fruit and vegetable platters, and they can also be added to sandwiches or salads. Big Rainbow tomatoes can also be enjoyed in many cooked dishes. Use them to make soups, sauces, stews, juice, paste, ketchup or chutney. Tomatoes pair especially well with fresh herbs and soft cheeses. Unripe tomatoes will ripen eventually if kept at room temperature out of direct sunlight. Once ripe, refrigeration can be used to prevent further ripening and slow the process of decay.
Big Rainbow tomatoes had been growing for generations as a family heirloom in Polk County, Minnesota. It is said that a woman named Dorothy Beiswenger of Crookston, Minnesota received the seed of this variety with no name, and introduced it to the Seed Savers Exchange in 1983 as Big Rainbow, named presumably for its rainbow-like appearance.
The Big Rainbow tomato is an heirloom variety originally from Polk County, Minnesota, and it was first offered commercially in 1990. Like most tomato cultivars, Big Rainbow tomatoes cannot stand cold weather, and should not be transplanted outside until the danger of frost has passed.