Beefsteak Tomato vs. Heirloom

Whole and cut tomatoes on a wood board.
© Luca Santilli/Shutterstock.com

Written by Larissa Smith

Updated: August 4, 2023

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Heirloom tomatoes are the best.

We know, we know: you can’t just say something like that and leave it at that. You’ve got questions. You want to know why we love heirloom tomatoes and why you should too. Heirloom tomatoes are versatile and nutritious. They are just as delicious on their own as in a sauce or soup. In addition, they have a firm texture that makes them great for grilling, baking, and roasting. Plus, they’re full of antioxidants, so you can eat more without worrying about getting sick!

There’s nothing like the sweetness of a perfectly ripe beefsteak tomato. The kind that’s so perfect, you barely even need to slice it. The flavor is complex and rich but not overwhelming. It’s the perfect balance of sweet, tart, and savory.

But, beefsteak tomatoes vs. heirloom. What does it mean when you see heirloom tomatoes?  

Comparing Beefsteak Tomatoes and Heirloom

There are two types of tomatoes: hybrid tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes, and each has many varieties. Hybrid tomatoes are a cross of two different varieties that fits the desired characteristics of what people want in a tomato. They are the most commercialized and what you mainly find in a grocery store. On the other hand, heirlooms are mainly grown naturally. They are often sweeter and more succulent than hybrid tomatoes because they grow to maturity instead of being picked before they are ripe.

Heirloom tomatoes aren’t cross-bred and come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. There are thousands of tomato cultivars, each with its own set of unique characteristics. Beefsteak tomatoes are notably a large variety of cultivated tomatoes with five classes, including:

  • Heirloom Beefsteak
  • Brandywine
  • Big Beef
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Beefmaster
Wooden box filled with fresh vine ripened heirloom tomatoes from farmer's market.

Heirloom tomatoes (pictured) contain vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, calcium, and fiber.

©Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock.com

Beefsteak Tomatoes vs. Heirloom: Description

One thing to note about beefsteak tomatoes is their size. Some can weigh 1-2 pounds and are more than six inches in diameter. They can be white, pink, yellow, green, or technicolor. Finally, they are saucer-like and don’t fit the traditional round tomato shape, with thick, fleshy skin making them perfect for sandwiches.

Since heirloom tomatoes consist of hundreds of varieties, there isn’t just one shape and flavor.
However, most heirloom tomatoes have similar nutritional value.

A medium-sized tomato of 123-gram consists of:

  • 22 calories
  • Vitamin A
  • 552 mcg of beta carotene
  • 36 mg of vitamin C
  • 20 mg of calcium

Why You Should Eat Beefsteak and Heirloom Tomatoes

They have a long shelf life, so they’re perfect for salads or sandwiches if you don’t feel like cooking today. But, of course, you can also eat them straight out of the fridge!

Beefsteak tomatoes are also great for making sauces or salsas because they have a unique flavor that stands up well to strong ingredients like onions or garlic. And if you’re looking for something to put on top of your favorite burger? Beefsteak is the way to go.

Beefsteak tomatoes aren’t like other tomatoes. Instead, they’re closer in taste to a regular tomato than most of the smaller, cherry-shaped varieties that are so popular today. That’s because beefsteak tomatoes are just giant versions of regular tomatoes: they’re bigger and sweeter, with fewer seeds and less juice (meaning your sandwich won’t get soggy).

They have a much more complex flavor than the grocery store tomatoes you’re used to. You can tell when you taste them that they’re special and unique. They’re also easy to grow and can be grown in your backyard or balcony because they don’t need much space or resources to thrive.

You also love them because they’re not genetically modified, so you know exactly what you get when you eat them. In addition, the vibrant colors and shapes are unique, making them a great addition to any garden.

Single large tomato on a white background.

There are thousands of heirloom tomato (pictured) varieties.

©Cipariss/Shutterstock.com

Health Benefits of Eating Tomatoes

Tomatoes have the following health benefits:

  • Protect your eyes: They contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help prevent eyestrain and reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Lung health: Tomatoes contain antioxidants that fight the substances found in tobacco smoke.
  • Blood vessels: They can boost your immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Sun protection: Lycopene in tomatoes can protect your skin on the inside from the sun (but don’t forget sunscreen).
  • Heart health: Lycopene can also lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

How to Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes

Beefsteak tomatoes can grow up to six feet tall in as little as 85 days! They are an annual vegetable that requires the following to thrive:

  • Full sunlight
  • Well-draining, fertile soil
  • Slightly acidic pH
  • Water consistently throughout the growing season to produce healthy fruit
  • Keep temperatures above 60 degrees Farenheight

Final Thoughts

Heirlooms have beautiful colors and patterns on their skin, which is why they’re so popular among gardeners everywhere. They taste amazing! Seriously, even though they might be smaller than regular tomatoes, heirlooms are extra sweet and tantalizing. In addition, there are many health benefits to eating tomatoes.

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About the Author

Larissa Smith is a writer for A-Z Animals with years of experience in plant care and wildlife. After years spent in the South African bush while studying Nature Conservation, she found her way to writing about animals and plants in her work. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for the precious world around them. Larissa lives in Florida with her two sons, a miniature golden retriever named Pupples, and a colorful succulent garden. In her spare time, she is tending to her garden, adventuring with her kids, and hosting “Real Housewives” watch parties with her friends.

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