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Roma Tomatoes-The Secret to the Best Sauces

All tomatoes are not created equal! Having a high pulp-to-seed ratio, the Roma tomato is the ideal base for all of your tomato sauces. Not exceptionally visually attractive, when compared to the uniformly round shape of most tomatoes, you simply can’t compare the average slicing tomato to the Roma tomato when it comes to depth of flavor, meaty texture, and few seeds.

Whether you're making a classic marinara or a spicy arrabbiata, Roma tomatoes will give your sauce the complexity of flavor you're looking for. They're also superb for making tomato paste, puree, and canned tomatoes.

So, next time you're planning your garden, don't overlook the Roma tomatoes. They're the secret to the most flavorful sauces and delectable dishes.

The Perfect Base for Sauces

One of the main reasons Roma tomatoes are beloved in the culinary world is their high pulp-to-seed ratio. Unlike their juicier counterparts, Roma tomatoes are packed with dense, meaty, flesh and contain fewer seeds. This quality is a game-changer when it comes to making sauces. Whether you're crafting a classic marinara, a rich Bolognese, or a fiery arrabbiata, Roma tomatoes provide the perfect base. Their lower water content results in a luscious, concentrated flavor that clings beautifully to any type of pasta.

The Art of Paste and Puree

When it's time to make tomato paste or puree, Roma tomatoes are the go-to choice. Their thick flesh makes them ideal for simmering down into a dense, flavorful concentrate. You can use this tomato-gold as a base for countless recipes, from homemade ketchup to barbecue sauce. The concentrated flavor and smooth texture of Roma tomato paste will elevate your dishes to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Canning Connoisseurs' Choice

If you're into home-canning, Roma tomatoes are your best friends. Their lower juice content and minimal seeds make them perfect for canning whole or in various forms—diced, crushed, pureed, or sauced. Preserving your harvest of Roma tomatoes allows you to savor the taste of summer all year round. Whether it's salsa, tomato sauce, or a savory tomato jam, Roma tomatoes can be transformed into jars of homemade goodness that brighten up your pantry and are ideal for gift giving.

Flavor that Packs a Punch

The flavor of Roma tomatoes is rich and somewhat sweet. Most of your dishes will undergo an elevated flavor profile due to their unique taste. Roma tomatoes give a depth of flavor that enhances every dish you make, whether it's a fresh salsa, a fiery tomato soup, or a substantial stew. Chefs looking for the ideal ratio of sweetness to acidity will find them to be the best option; they are extremely versatile, in both cooked and raw applications.

Easy to Handle in the Kitchen

The thin, smooth skin of Roma tomatoes makes them a breeze to work with in the kitchen. If your recipe calls for peeled tomatoes, blanching and peeling Roma tomatoes is a simple process. Their uniform, elongated shape also makes them easier to slice and dice, ensuring consistent results in your dishes.

 

Are you ready to get growing but not sure which variety to choose? Here are some of our favorites for delectable stews, rich and savory sauces, and velvety tomato soup.

  1. Amish Paste Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Amish Paste tomatoes are famous for their sauce-making potential. They have a rich, sweet flavor and dense flesh that cooks down beautifully into thick and flavorful sauces. Hailing from a rich heritage, the Amish Paste tomato is believed to have its roots in the 1870s, originating in an Amish community nestled in Medford, Wisconsin. This heirloom variety is a cherished gem, passed down through generations among the Amish communities in the United States. With its origins deeply ingrained in tradition, the Amish Paste tomato has endured the test of time as a flavorful and reliable tomato choice for sauces, pastes, and canning. These tomatoes are large, meaty, and oblong in shape, boasting exceptional flavor and a balanced sweet-tangy taste profile. Their unique history and culinary excellence make them a beloved choice for both home cooks and professional chefs.
  2. Arkansas Traveler Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Arkansas Traveler tomatoes are known for their balanced flavor and low acidity. They make excellent sauce tomatoes, as their meaty flesh cooks down well to create a smooth and tasty sauce. The Arkansas Traveler tomato was developed by the University of Arkansas and released in 1968. This tomato variety has gained renown for its ability to thrive in challenging conditions, including high heat, humidity, and even drought. Its resilience extends to a high degree of disease resistance, making it a reliable choice for gardeners facing various environmental challenges. What truly sets the Arkansas Traveler apart is its exceptional flavor—a perfect balance of sweetness and tartness that will delight your taste buds. This combination of hardiness and deliciousness makes the Arkansas Traveler tomato a cherished choice for those seeking both flavor and resilience in their tomato crops. It’s our favorite sauce tomato!
  3. Heinz Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Heinz tomatoes are often used in the production of the most common tomato-based sauce, ketchup. These tomatoes are chosen for their consistency in flavor and texture, making them suitable for sauce making. Heinz Tomato Plants are renowned for producing bright red, 4–6-ounce fruits that excel in various culinary applications. Whether you're slicing them for sandwiches, incorporating them into refreshing salads, or preparing them for canning, these tomatoes deliver consistently. They are also notably well-suited to Northern climates, making them a reliable choice for gardeners facing cooler growing conditions. Interestingly, the Heinz Tomato Plant hails from the same company that's famous for its iconic ketchup, further attesting to the pedigree and quality associated with this tomato variety.
  4. Mariana Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Mariana tomatoes are a hybrid variety specifically bred for sauce-making. They have a robust, tomatoey flavor and a high pulp-to-seed ratio, perfect for creating flavorful tomato sauces. Mariana is a standout tomato variety that boasts an impressive array of qualities. The fruit produced by Mariana plants is predominately extra-large and exhibits remarkable uniformity in shape. Despite their generous size, these tomatoes maintain excellent firmness, thanks to their large internal chambers. Both the external and internal color of the fruit are desirable with highly notably thick fruit walls, contributing to their overall quality and durability. Mariana tomatoes also shine in terms of shelf life, offering exceptional longevity. In addition to these desirable traits, Mariana has high resistance to many tomato diseases. With its impressive size, flavor, and robust disease resistance, Mariana tomatoes are a top selection for gardeners seeking both quality and reliability in their tomato crops.

  5. Opalka Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Opalka tomatoes are elongated and have a rich, sweet flavor. They are highly regarded for making tomato paste and sauce due to their low moisture content and intense flavor. The Opalka Tomato, with its intriguing heritage dating back to pre-1900, and its Polish origins, is a tomato variety of exceptional merit. This remarkable tomato plant produces a phenomenal set of elongated 3" by 6" red paste tomatoes on vigorous vines. Its excellent flavor, coupled with very few seeds, makes it a perfect choice for those in search of a tomato tailor-made for processing. What further distinguishes the Opalka Tomato is its ability to retain its fruits well on the vine, ensuring that you can harvest them at their peak of ripeness for your culinary endeavors. Whether you're crafting sauces, pastes, or savoring the pure taste of these tomatoes, the Opalka Tomato delivers an unforgettable flavor experience that embodies its rich history and delicious attributes.
  6. Picus Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Picus tomatoes are known for their exceptional flavor, which is well-suited for sauce making. Their thick flesh and relatively low water content make them a favorite among home cooks and chefs. Picus is an exceptional hybrid variety known for its adaptability and reliability in the garden. This main-season, determinate, Roma tomato is prized for its ability to produce large, uniform, blocky fruit that matures to a deep red color, maintaining outstanding firmness at that stage. Beyond its impressive fruit characteristics, Picus boasts a healthy disease resistance, making it a robust choice for gardeners. This tomato variety sets well, even in hot temperatures, ensuring a bountiful harvest. With its deep red hue, elongated cylindrical shape, and impressive disease resistance, Picus tomatoes stand out as a superior choice for gardeners looking to grow dependable and delicious roma tomatoes.
  7. Roma Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Roma tomatoes are renowned for their sauce-making qualities. Their dense, meaty flesh and lower seed count make them a preferred choice for creating various tomato sauces. Developed around 1955, Roma tomatoes are a hybrid variety believed to be a cross between the Pan American tomato and the esteemed San Marzano—a cherished paste tomato that found its way into the United States through the hands of Italian immigrants. This fruitful fusion resulted in a tomato celebrated for its distinctive shape, robust disease resistance, and exceptional durability. It's no wonder that the Roma tomato quickly gained popularity and widespread adoption across the United States. Its remarkable resilience has made it a preferred choice for regions prone to diseases commonly associated with cool, wet climates, further solidifying its reputation as a trusted staple in gardens and kitchens alike.
  8. Rutgers Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Rutgers tomatoes have a balanced flavor and are often used for canning and sauce making. They produce a rich and flavorful sauce, making them a classic choice for tomato-based dishes. With mid-season maturity, these tomatoes boast firm, crack-resistant fruit and a remarkably distinguished flavor profile, all wrapped in a uniformly rich, red hue. These semi-determinate plants thrive when staked, ensuring healthy growth and bountiful yields. Notably, the Rutgers tomato has a unique ripening process, maturing from the inside out. This means that when the fruit reaches its full, vibrant color, it's also at its peak flavor—a delightful twist on the classic. Worth noting is that this tomato played a pivotal role as the original Campbell's Soup tomato, further cementing its place in culinary history.
  9. San Marzano Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: San Marzano tomatoes are considered the gold-standard for Italian tomato sauces. They have a sweet, lightly-acidic flavor and are prized for their ability to create the perfect tomato sauce, especially for Neapolitan pizza. While San Marzano tomatoes are often compared to other plum tomato varieties, their flavor and texture are frequently deemed superior. In the realm of Italian cuisine, San Marzano tomatoes are revered for their distinct, sweet, tangy profile with minimal acidity and a wonderfully meaty texture. This makes them a favored ingredient in numerous Italian dishes, from the iconic pizza and pasta sauces to delectable tomato-based creations. San Marzano tomatoes have carved their place in the heart of Italian cuisine, owing their popularity to their unique flavor, texture, and remarkable versatility across a wide spectrum of dishes.

  10. Super Italian Paste Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: The name says it all—Super Italian Paste tomatoes are ideal for making Italian-style tomato sauces and pastes. They have a thick flesh and intense flavor, perfect for traditional pasta dishes. Super Italian Paste tomatoes are heirloom treasures that offer a profusion of elongated, firm fruits in a striking reddish-orange hue, measuring about 6 inches and averaging around 10 ounces each. With their thick, low-juice, and seed-scarce flesh, these tomatoes are the epitome of perfect paste tomatoes, making them an ideal choice for sauces and pastes. Just like their Italian heritage, Super Italian Paste tomatoes excel in holding their quality, even at their peak of ripening, ensuring a consistent supply for your culinary endeavors. The indeterminate vines of this variety may require staking and tying to support their vigorous growth and maximum yields, making them a superb choice for gardeners seeking a reliable source of delicious, Italian-style paste tomatoes.
  11. Campbell's 33 Tomato Plant:
    • Sauce Characteristics: Campbell's 33 tomatoes are a classic choice for sauce-making and canning. They are known for their reliability in producing flavorful sauces and are used in various tomato-based products. This heirloom tomato variety, developed by the Campbell Soup Company, thrives in adverse conditions, boasting great disease resistance and reliable hardiness. The 7–10-ounce bright red tomatoes ripen uniformly, making them perfect for canning, while their delicious flavor and meaty texture will nicely elevate your soups and sandwiches. Known for their durability and early harvest, Campbell's 33 tomatoes are ideal for both seasoned gardeners and market growers searching for a reliable, tasty, and early-yielding variety to delight culinary enthusiasts.

In the world of tomatoes, Roma tomatoes are the MVPs, the secret to the sauce behind countless delectable dishes. Their unique characteristics make them a kitchen staple for those who appreciate the art of cooking. Whether you're simmering a savory ragù or preserving the bounty of summer in a jar, Roma tomatoes are there to lend their deliciousness to your culinary adventures. So, embrace the Roma tomato and unlock a world of culinary possibilities and countless compliments!

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