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Heirloom Red Pear Piriform Tomatoes
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The Red Pear Piriform tomato is medium sized, approximately seven to nine ounces, with overall reddish-orange colored skin that fades into green on the shoulders. As its name alludes, it is pear-shaped with slightly indented lobes. It has a meaty, juicy texture and sweet, rich flavors with moderate acid levels. The tomato plant is an indeterminate, also known as a climbing or vining variety, meaning that the fruit ripens over an extended period along sprawling vines, which is why they are often recommended for trellising or caging.
Red Pear Piriform tomatoes are available in the summer and fall.
The Red Pear Piriform is an heirloom variety of Solanum lycopersicum, belonging to the nightshade family alongside the potato and eggplant. The word “piriform” in the name refers to this tomato’s curious lobed pear shape. All heirloom tomato cultivars, like the Red Pear Piriform, are open-pollinated, meaning that seeds from the variety will produce offspring that are identical to the parent. With a little care to prevent cross-pollination, seeds can be saved that will produce identical tomatoes year after year.
Tomatoes are widely known for their antioxidant content, including their rich concentration of lycopene, which has been linked to the prevention of certain types of cancer. Tomatoes also contain a great deal of vitamin A and vitamin C, and are a good source of calcium and iron.
The Red Pear Piriform tomato is known for its old-fashioned, sweet tomato flavor. It is a slicer or salad type tomato that is perfect for fresh eating. Simply drizzle with olive oil and a touch of salt, or pair with savory herbs and spices, such as basil, cilantro, chives, dill, garlic, paprika, pepper, rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme, fennel, and tarragon. Store at room temperature for two to three days away from direct sunlight until ready to use. Refrigerate only extra-ripe tomatoes to slow the process of decay.
In 1544, Italian herbalist Pietro Andrea Mattioli referred to the tomato as “pomi d’oro,” meaning “golden fruits” in vernacular Italian. This is the first time that the tomato was named in print in Europe. The tomato is still called “pomodoro” in Italian today.
The Red Pear Piriform is an old North Italian heirloom, and is native to Liguria, Piedmonte, and Abruzzo, Italy. Tomatoes are not hardy cultivars, which is why temperature is an important factor in the production of tomatoes. They are particularly sensitive to low night temperatures and cannot stand any frost, so take care to plant them only after the final frost of the season.