Best tomatoes for sauces?

momma_s(9b, SZ14)January 12, 2010

I'm interested in growing a few tomato plants this year for small batch canning pasta/maranara sauce, and maybe even ketchup.

Can someone please recommend a couple varieties that would grow in the following conditions? Oh, and about how many plants would I need to plant for a few pint jars of sauce?

-I have limited space in a raised bed (but I know tomato plants get big). This bed is facing south, between the house's stucco wall and concrete walkway, so it can get pretty hot at the peak of summer (last year only my okra and fresno chili's did well. Green beans and bell peppers were fried).

-containers. I have several 5gal, but can go bigger.

-homemade 5gal self watering buckets (don't think I can get any bigger SWCs).

TIA for your time!

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azruss(8b Tucson)

Some might find this odd, but I think Stupice would be excellent for you. Indeterminate plants are manageable in size and are extremely productive. It does well in the heat (but shuts down production when it's 95+ day, 78+ night). The flavor of Stupice is average when eaten raw, but cooked it becomes divine. (A cup of hot Stupice juice with a pinch of salt is to die for.) There are many other varieties great for your situation as well. Martino's Roma comes to mind. Medium size determinate plants that load up with tomatoes. Two plants of each probably would be enough for the sauce quantity you want. My three-cents' worth. (Prices went up.)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 2:17PM
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If you will be making sauce then you will need to cook the tomatos until the liquid reduces enough for a sauce like consistency. As tomatos are mostly water this means it takes a lot of tomatos to make a little sauce ;)

In my personal experience it makes almost no difference what tomato variety you use for such purposes. Go with the highest yielding plants you can find. While tomatos may have individual flavors from variety to variety and even year to year from the same variety, once they are cooked down and seasoned I can't tell any difference at all.

Paste type tomatos are often preferred because they have more meat and less water than other types. This makes sense to me for sauce making purposes, but when I make a sauce I just toss in whatever I have more of than I know I will eat fresh.

If you are dealing with high heat I wouldn't bother using 5 gal containers for large tomato plants. You will likely find them dead due to not being able to water often enough.

That's all I really have to say on the topic ;)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 2:29PM
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I grew viva italia and roma last year and they made fairly tasty sauce. However viva italia suffered from blossom end rot and was not as productive toward the end. This year, I am trying opalka and amish paste. These get pretty good reviews on this forum. We will see how they will do!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 6:16PM
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anney(Georgia 8)

I haven't grown any of the Romas to make sauce, and like JAG, I'd suggest that you use for sauce whatever extra tomatoes you don't eat. I really wish the Romas could live up to their hype about how great they are for sauces, but none of the tomato seed companies warns you about BER. Romas are genetically disposed to developing it!

One thing that might save you some time is to buy a relatively large gravy-fat separator. JAG mentions cooking away the liquid from the solids. If you let the tomato pulp and juice settle in one of these separators, you can separate the pulp and juice by simply pouring.

And he's correct about needing quite a lot of tomatoes to make a substantial amount of sauce.

Anyway, that's my two-cents for your question!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 7:16PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Here is a great discussion from several months back on "which tomatoes to use for sauce" - lots of suggestions included in it.

Linked a few more related discussions below if you want to read them.

Like already mentioned, my favorite sauces are made from a mix of varieties. Much better flavor and quality than that made from just 1 or 2 varieties. For pints of sauce, plant as many tomatoes as you have room for as substantial cooking down is needed for best quality.


Here is a link that might be useful: Best tomato for sauce discussions

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 7:26PM
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Tomatoes have many uses and it uses almost everyday.Like for pasta,for sandwiches,for several dishes and lot ore.That's why tomatoes is very useful...

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 11:06AM
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momma_s(9b, SZ14)

Sounds like I'll forget about growing the tomatoes in containers. When I have a bit more time, I'll take everyone's suggestions and read up on what varieties I think I'll like best...

I'm not a very big fan of straight up tomatoes (I try, I really do), but I'm excited that I'm excited about growing them!

Thank you so much, everyone, for the great responses.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 5:16PM
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mitanoff(Z4b Ontario)

I made a sauce once out of predominantly purple tomatoes (Purple prince and a something else, sry, can't remember). The sauce was richer and deeper flavoured than others I had made. Typically I toss in whatever's ripe, but that year the purples were awesome.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 1:07PM
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San Marzano is a very good paste type, and I think Italian Drying tomato is a good one too.........very dense and meaty fruit. I like Amish Paste a lot, but it is a rampant indeterminate vine.

Here is a link that might be useful: San Marzano tomato

    Bookmark   January 14, 2010 at 8:56PM
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