Pink Caspian Heirloom Tomatoes
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|Food Buzz: History of Heirloom Tomatoes|
The Pink Caspian tomato is a globe-shaped, pleated, beefsteak-type tomato that can grow as large as one pound. These big pink-red skinned tomatoes offer up what many describe as a classic tomato flavor with their fine balance of acid and sweetness. By the time the shoulders of the fruit have turned pink, hence the tomato’s name, the flesh will be perfectly ripe. Pink Caspian tomato plants are classified as an indeterminate variety, meaning that they have long vines that will continue to grow and produce fruit all season until killed by frost. Indeterminate tomato varieties are the most common in gardens.
Pink Caspian tomatoes are available in season from mid-summer into the fall.
The Pink Caspian tomato is often referred to as the "Queen of the Pinks," as it rivals the Brandywine tomato in popularity and flavor. The pink exterior of the tomatoes occurs as a result of clear skin over red flesh, as compared to red tomatoes, which have a yellow skin over red flesh. The Pink Caspian tomato is scientifically classified as Lycopersicon esculentum ‘Caspian Pink,’ although a return to the original classification, Solanum lycopersicum ‘Caspian Pink,’ has recently sparked due to modern molecular DNA evidence.
Tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A, along with a large range of valuable cancer-fighting phytochemicals, most notably lycopene. Research shows that the protective effects of tomatoes against prostate cancer and heart disease result from the synergy of lycopene and other phytonutrients that are naturally present in whole tomatoes.
Pink Caspian tomatoes are mild yet sweet, and are perfect for eating fresh. They are somewhat flatter than many other tomato varieties, providing a larger surface area that lends itself for uniformly sized slices. Hence, the Pink Caspian is a favorite for slicing and layering on burgers and sandwiches. Try using them as a garnish for salads, or sliced alone with onion, olive oil and fresh herbs. They can also be slow roasted and grilled, or made into a delicious, classic tomato sauce.
The most well known of the pink heirloom tomatoes is the Brandywine, which has led the pinks in popularity with its good size for slicing and its classic tomato flavor. However, the Pink Caspian has proved itself worthy of the title, “Queen of the Pinks,” as it is the first and only tomato to have beaten Brandywine in the California taste test trials, and has done so several years.
The Pink Caspian is an heirloom tomato variety native to Russia. A Petoseed Company employee discovered this tomato along the shores of the Caspian Sea shortly after the end of the Cold War.
Recipes that include Pink Caspian Heirloom Tomatoes. One is easiest, three is harder.
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