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Less juice, more meat

SW, AR(Zone 8a)

For the past several years, for a cooking tomato–tomato paste, picante sauce, etc.–we have used Roma. I can’t bad-mouth her considering how faithfully she’s served us over the years, but this year her plants (eighteen) were loaded but her fruit was small. There were just too many fruits. Try as she might, Roma couldn’t grow that many tomatoes to an appreciable size.

So I’m whinin’ about low return on labor.

In a soft voice so’s she won’t hear, what cultivar can you recommend for a good cooking tomato? I can’t abandon Miss Roma, but will try the winning recommendation as a side dish next season.

Durhamville, NY(Zone 5b)

Opalka is usually much bigger than Romas and better tasting too. I'm used heart tomatoes for cooking also. They tend to be meaty.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

With few exceptions most of my friends switched from using the Costolutos from Italy, the SanMarzanos and other so called sauce varieties, and yes Romas, to using mainly heart varieties b'c their taste is supeior and they have few seeds.

Also, beefsteak varieties that are meaty and have few seeds as well.

If you do a search here you'll find many threads dealing with sauce varieties and I know I probably posted in most of them and listed the paste ones that I thought were OK,as well as some heart varieties, etc.

Hope that helps,


Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

We've got some new varieties (for us) that are promising this season and although we've got fruit, there is no sign of ripening despite the overbearing heat of the last 2 weeks.

Never grown it, but Amish paste is supposed to be extraordinary.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

I've never considered Amish Paste to be a paste variety bc it's far too juicy. One can cook it down to the right consistency if needed bc it does have good taste.

There are some varieties that have been named a paste by their shape, which aren't paste varieties and another one is Lillian's Red Kansas Paste which is far from being a paste variety/ (smile)


SW, AR(Zone 8a)

I thank y’ll for the responses. I enjoyed reading your comments.

At minimum for next year, we will most likely be planting two cultivars of cooking tomatoes. The Roma transplants are common to the area garden centers, but the other choices will require raising from seed.

Carolyn, I heeded your suggestion and did some searches. I will do more because, as you said, there is information already out there–please pardon my redundancy. I also did a “heart tomato” search in PlantFiles which returned a couple of pages of hits. Could you be more specific on which heart was a hit with you? Judging from your numerous comments on the subject, you have given it considerable thought.

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Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Adam, I prefer to use the list from Tania's superb website, that way you can click on the ones I list get feedback from others who have grown them, see where seeds are available and see pictures.

I'm going to list some of the ones I really like where I know that it's easy to find seeds, which isn't true for many varieties.

Anna Russian
Fish Lake Oxheart
Indiana Red
Joe's PinkOxheart
Linnie's Oxheart
Nicky Crain
German Red Strawberry
Russian #117
Tsar Kolokol

I'm sure you'll find some of the above that appeal to you.

Carolyn, the tomato heart lover

Dearborn, MI

If you want to do some more research, I'll add to Carolyn's list some of my faves. Gildo Pietroboni, Kenosha Paste, Monkey Ass, Pink Honey, and Vera's Seed. I am going to try to load a picture of another old favorite, Anna Marias Heart" picked yesterday. She's going in the sauce pot today.

Thumbnail by nancyruhl

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