Hillbilly Heirloom Tomatoes
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|Food Buzz: History of Heirloom Tomatoes|
Hillbilly tomatoes are a massive beefsteak variety, each fruit averaging one or two pounds. They are ribbed with a smooth glossy skin, and are bright yellow in color with red marbling. The dense interior flesh is virtually seedless, orange-yellow and mottled with red, with a texture somewhat similar to a peach. Its flavor is very sweet and almost fruity, with apricot notes and very low acidity. Hillbilly tomatoes are crack resistant and very heat tolerant. The high-yielding, indeterminate tomato plants produce the sweet and juicy fruit on long vines, reaching heights of five to ten feet.
Hillbilly tomatoes are available in the summer and fall.
Hillbilly tomatoes are a variety of Solanum lycopersicum that are categorized as beefsteak tomatoes because of their large size and dense texture. The Hillbilly tomato is also known as the Flame tomato. There are said to be two types of Hillbilly tomato plants, one being the potato leaf, characterized by leaves that are large, teardrop shaped, and dark green, and another that has regular, small and serrated leaves. The two types are reportedly identical except for their foliage.
Tomatoes contain a great deal of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The Vitamin B and potassium in tomatoes makes them effective at reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure, and the fiber, potassium, vitamin C and choline content in tomatoes also support heart health. A number of studies have been conducted that indicate that the high levels of lycopene, the antioxidant that expresses itself in red pigmentation, in tomatoes works to reduce your chances of developing prostate, colorectal, and stomach cancer.
Hillbilly tomatoes best exhibit their vibrant flavor and natural sweetness when sliced raw in thick slabs. Like most beefsteak types, they are the perfect size and texture for slicing fresh onto sandwiches. They can be lightly brushed with olive oil, grilled for a couple minutes, or until charred and heated through, and served in a salad or atop a burger. Tomatoes are also great for roasting, and they pair well with soft cheeses and savory herbs. Store tomatoes at room temperature until ripe. Refrigeration can then be used to slow the process of decay.
The Hillbilly tomato is a family heirloom variety originating from West Virginia of the United States as early as the 1880s. Like all heirlooms, it is an open pollinated cultivar, meaning that saved seed being passed down through family generations grows true to the original parent type.
The Hillbilly tomato originates from the mountains of West Virginia. Ohio gardener Jerry Lee Bosner introduced this seed to Seed Savers Exchange for commercial use in 1994. The Hillbilly tomato has reportedly grown well in many areas across the United States, notably in California and states in the Midwest and the South. Tomatoes are not at all hardy and need warm weather to grow well. They cannot stand any frost, and so it is crucial that they be planted only after the danger of frost is gone.
Recipes that include Hillbilly Heirloom Tomatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.