Lots of keen gardeners like to grow tomatoes – they are relatively easy to look after and you can use the tomatoes in lots of different foods. But there are lots of different types of tomatoes that you can grow depending on what you want to use the tomatoes for.
If you want to use the tomatoes for growing then you should grow paste tomatoes. These tomatoes are ideal for making tomato paste, but can also be used to make sauces, for turning into sundried tomatoes, and for stuffing with other ingredients.
But what exactly is a paste tomato? How do paste tomatoes differ from other tomatoes?
We have put together this useful guide to tell you everything you need to know about paste tomatoes and, so keep reading to find out more.
Paste Tomatoes VS Normal Tomatoes
When you think of a tomato, you probably think of a round tomato that contains lots of seeds and runny juice. These tomatoes are perfect for salads, but they have a very high water content.
If you want to cook them to make a tomato sauce or a rich tomato paste, you need to spend a lot of time reducing them down to get rid of the water and then you will need to sift out the seeds.
Paste tomatoes are longer with more of an oblong shape. They contain less seeds, and have a lower water content.
If you eat them raw they have a much stronger flavor than standard tomatoes. They are ideal for reducing into a sauce or a paste. The flesh is dense, making the sauces nice and thick.
One of the most common or recognisable forms of paste tomato are ‘Romas’, an Italian variety which is available from a lot of grocery stores. However, there are lots of different varieties you can choose to plant.
Are They Interchangeable?
You can use paste tomatoes in a salad and it will still taste nice. However, it won’t be as juicy.
You can make paste out of normal tomatoes, but it will take a lot longer to reduce them because of the high water content.
You will also need a much higher volume of tomatoes to achieve the same depth of flavor and amount of paste.
So yes, paste tomatoes and normal tomatoes are interchangeable. But they work best when you play to their strengths.
Varieties Of Paste Tomato
There are different varieties of paste tomatoes that you can choose from to plant in your garden. Here are some of the best varieties.
Roma tomatoes are a widely available type of paste tomato. They were originally native to South America but were introduced into Italy and Spain in the 1600s where they became very popular.
They grow best in full sunlight and the plant can reach heights of 4 feet tall. They have a sweet yet tangy flavor which works really well in Mediterranean cuisine.
San Marzano tomatoes are native to Europe but are also grown in California. They are a favorite with pizza chefs because of their rich flavor. They have low acidity and are very sweet.
The tomatoes are about 3 inches in size and have a very low water content. San Marzano tomatoes grow best in full sunlight and can grow up to 6 feet tall.
The Amish paste tomato is native to South America. It has a similar flavor profile to Roma tomatoes, but with more intensity.
The tomatoes are plum shaped and can grow to be quite heavy – up to 12 ounces – so it is best to stake the plant so that it has plenty of support. The plant can grow up to 7 feet tall in sunny conditions.
Black Prince tomatoes are very dark in color, hence their name. They are native to Russia and grow well in cool climates, but still require exposure to sun.
The plant will produce a lot of fruit over a long harvest period, with each tomato weighing around 4 ounces. The plants grow up to 9 feet tall.
As the name suggests, these tomatoes are yellow/orange in color rather than red and are native to Europe.
The tomatoes are pear shaped and have a delicate, fruity flavor which goes well in sauces. They are also high in protein. The plant requires full sun exposure and can grow up to 6 feet tall.
How To Use Paste Tomatoes
Because of the dense flesh, low water content, and fewer seeds, paste tomato varieties are perfect for using in cooking.
You can reduce them down into a thick sauce which is rich in flavor, and it won’t take too long as there isn’t much water to get rid of.
You can make pasta sauces, pizza sauces, sauce for cooking meat or fish, or reduce the tomatoes into a thick paste. You can use them for canning, or freeze them.
You can also stuff them, especially if the seed cavities are hollow and easy to scoop out.
Should You Grow Paste Tomatoes?
If you mostly want to use your tomatoes for salads and eating fresh then a normal variety of tomato is what you need.
If you love cooking with tomatoes and you make lots of recipes that require canned tomatoes or tomato paste, then paste tomatoes would be an excellent choice for your garden.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you intend on growing paste tomatoes:
- Sun – Most varieties of paste tomatoes require full sun exposure in order to reach their full potential in terms of flavor and size.
- Harvest – Most paste tomatoes are determinate rather than indeterminate. This means that they produce fruit at one particular time, and once you harvest the fruit it won’t flower again until the next year. This is different from normal varieties of tomatoes which produce fruit all the way through the season until the frost sets in.
- Pruning – Because paste tomatoes are determinate, they require less pruning, so maintaining them is fairly easy.
Paste tomatoes are an excellent choice for gardeners who like to cook, especially if you use a lot of canned tomatoes or tomato paste.
There are different varieties to choose from depending on what flavor and color you want, and on what kind of food you like to cook.
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