These top types of tomatoes will add farm-fresh flavor—and a perfect pop of color—to your every dish.

By Betty Gold and Dawn Perry
July 18, 2019

The magic of a perfectly ripe tomato is a fleeting moment in the heat of summer. The window of the year when the large, juicy fruits are at their most impeccable state of flavor, texture, and ripeness is brief, but it is glorious. Don’t miss out! Learn your beefsteaks from your brandy wines—plus which type of tomato pairs perfectly with the delicious dishes included—with this simple starter guide.

Adam Cruft

1
Beefsteak

Large and meaty, this smooth red fruit is an excellent all-purpose tomato. Layer with mozzarella for a classic caprese, or slice and sandwich with bacon and lettuce for a quintessential BLT.

Recipe to try: Beefsteak Tomato Bread Salad

Adam Cruft

2
Cherokee Purple

This heirloom tomato is prized for its rich color and concentrated sweetness. The medium fruit is a deep reddish pink with green “shoulders” (the area around the stem). Slice, drizzle with olive oil, and top with flaky salt.

Recipe to try: Tomatoes With Ricotta and Herbs

Adam Cruft

3
Plum

You’ll find this oblong variety in most cans of whole peeled tomatoes. Because they’re fleshy and don’t have too many seeds, they’re great for cooking. Try them slow-roasted or simmered into sauce.

Recipe to try: Slow-Roasted Plum Tomatoes With Garlic and Oregano

Adam Cruft

4
Green Zebra

Stroll through a farmers’ market for this flashy fruit. Named for its green-on-green striped exterior, it’s slightly more acidic than other varieties, making it a nice sidekick to salty cheeses.

Recipe to try: Green Gazpacho

Adam Cruft

5
Cherry

While all tomatoes are best in summer, cherry tomatoes can be flavorful year-round. Come August, look for supersweet varieties, like Sungold and Sweet 100, for snacking out of hand or tossing into salads.

Recipe to try: Chicken With Blistered Corn and Tomato Salad

Adam Cruft

6
Brandywine

Big and broad, this reddish pink tomato is the most recognizable of the heirlooms. With its firm texture and balanced sweet acidity, it’s ideal alongside boldly flavored grilled steaks or pork chops.

Recipe to try: Tomato-Burrata Toasts

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