Vegetables and Fruit forum: "types" of tomatoes for culinary purposes

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Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 12, 2017 12:07 AM CST
I'm going to sound stupid (nothing new, but whatever). I've grown tomatoes every year for at least 15 years and I use them for whatever I want (eating plain, on sandwiches, salads, cooking, etc).

But I understand that among more "refined" gardeners (hehe) there are specific types that are used for specific things. And I want to learn more before I order my seeds this year. Can anybody offer a good explanation of these culinary types or provide a link? I've found a couple on Google but to be honest it's pretty conflicting and a massive amount of information so I'm never sure how much is correct or not.

Thank you! :)
Keep going!
Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
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farmerdill
Jan 12, 2017 7:29 AM CST
Don't know about more refined. For those who grow for market, There are types for market niches. I am sure you are aware that small bite sized fruits are marketed as cherry (round) or grape (elongated) tomatoes. a relatively new grouping is the Cocktail tomato ( oversized cherry/grape in 1 -2 ounce size) Cluster tomato - small 4-6 ounce fruits that grow along a truss ( section of vine) whole section is harvested and marketed as on the vine tomato. Slicers ( fresh market tomatoes 6 ounces and up round reds) Paste (Roma types). Processors ( used for canning and other processed food markets) may be be either round reds or Roma types). Specialty - different colors and shapes.
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Jan 12, 2017 8:28 AM CST
Farmer Dill does a good job of explaining the differences. I don't think the word "refined" actually has much meaning. We have been growing tomatoes for long enough that we know what we like and what the purpose of tomatoes is. It is to enjoy.

Whether you like tomatoes in the groupings described or some other form is up to the individual. Marketing dictates a lot of what gets sold for certain purposes. I eat very few cherry or salad or grape or cocktail or cluster tomatoes. My wife likes them. My slicers are all in the 10-20+ ounce range and for the most part I stay away from the marketed and advertised "round, medium sized, red, flawless" tomatoes. We make paste or salsa or freeze whatever happens to be on hand on processing day.

Most of the specialty or particular purpose tomatoes lack the flavor and personality of the tomatoes I grow. So I stick with the heart shaped or beefsteak or globe or even round tomatoes of all colors and textures and go for those with the best flavor and use them for anything and everything tomato.

Lots of varieties out there. Don't limit yourself to a "type".
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 13, 2017 2:04 AM CST
Thank you. There seems to be a lot of difference between how gardeners (us) approach tomatoes as to how chefs approach them. I'm trying to understand more of the latter but I think I'm like you--I'd rather just grow and eat what I like, however I like! lol
Keep going!
Prince George, BC. Canada (Zone 4a)
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Airborne1888
Jan 13, 2017 9:57 AM CST
I don't know if you are interested but I have some tomato seeds that I would be prepared to send to you. They are 'Arbason', 'Cobra' and 'Tumbler. We grow the Tumblers in a hanging basket and they trail three feet down full of tomatoes.
Anyway, if you are interested, send me your address and I'll mail them to you.
Airborne1888
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Jan 13, 2017 10:35 AM CST
A good source for categories is seed catalogs, particularly ones focused on veggies. I get all my seed from Territorial (geared to PNW conditions) and their categories are: cherry, grape, currant, early, main season/slicing, heirloom, sauce/paste, greenhouse, and storage. If you are looking for culinary tomatoes, you may want to focus more on the sauce/paste varieties which hold up to cooking better than some of the fresh-eating varieties. I've tracked my tomato picks for several years and am slowly identifying a small handful of varieties I enjoy. The hard part is to then be able to FIND those each spring - I like to let the greenhouse folks do the early work for me and typically buy started plants.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 14, 2017 1:09 AM CST
Airborne1888 said:I don't know if you are interested but I have some tomato seeds that I would be prepared to send to you. They are 'Arbason', 'Cobra' and 'Tumbler. We grow the Tumblers in a hanging basket and they trail three feet down full of tomatoes.
Anyway, if you are interested, send me your address and I'll mail them to you.
Airborne1888


Thank you. I will do that. I only want/need a few (such as 3-4) of each variety. I don't have a ton of space so even if germination is 25% that's still enough plants for me!

Edit: Actually I noticed two things. One, I don't know how to initiate a private message (durrr) and two, we're in different countries. I don't think that'll be as easy as just mailing/posting the seeds.
Keep going!
[Last edited by Jai_Ganesha - Jan 14, 2017 1:11 AM (+)]
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Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
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pepper23
Jan 15, 2017 12:52 PM CST
Jai, go to the upper right hand corner of your screen and you will see an envelope, bell and a person. The envelope is for private messages and turns colors when you have a message, the bell turns red when someone gives you a thumbs up or an acorn, and the person is for your profile.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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sallyg
Jan 16, 2017 8:15 AM CST
I agree with Bonehead, the main cooking difference I'm aware of is the paste type are not as watery for cooking. Then the chefs and gardeners discriminate based on flavor, or maybe interesting color.. You've probably seen articles, for example, raving about heirlooms for their flavor, but that's a different 'metric' than texture or size or prettyness.
I'd say, choose based on how you use them.If you do make sauce, or bruschetta, then a couple paste type might be good (tomato without much juicy seed gel or watery juice).
Sandwich slices- beefsteak (large juicy slice with mostly tomato flesh and less seed).
Salad- round red or clusters or cherry/grape etc.
Of course you can interchange some, but when you want a BLT and all you have are cherry...

and one cherry type plant is as many little fruit as any normal person ever wants, Blinking
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Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
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RickM
Jan 16, 2017 8:48 AM CST
Good morning @Jai . There's never a dumb/stupid question... especially when it comes to garden stuff. There are only questions that we either don't have the answer to yet, or, the answer was pushed out of our over-crowded brains to make room for more stuff!

Unfortunately, I have zero luck growing tomatoes, but the grocery stores in the area have a pretty good selection. If you're going to be making tomato sauce, then you really do want the Italian/Roma/Plum varieties. They are very 'meaty' with a low moisture content. Honestly, I use them for just about everything because of the low moisture. They don't water down a salad or making the sandwich soggy.

If you want special textures/colors/flavors, I would focus on the heirloom varieties. If you go that route, try to get 'real' heirloom seed and not a re-introduced variety that has been messed around with to the point of no flavor. What good is a 'pretty' tomato slice if it has no flavor? In fact, depending on how often you want to use the fancy varieties, you might be better off buying the fruits at a specialty grocer rather that going through the hassle of growing them yourself.

If you're looking for sandwich-types, then yes, beefsteaks are your best bet. Firm, meaty flesh with great flavor. (Resist the temptation to take the salt shaker with you when you go to pick your tomatoes. Otherwise, you may end up with more in your belly than basket!

On a side note, I tend to buy my tomatoes at Asian/Latino markets more than store like Safeway/Giant, etc. The ethnic markets have much lower prices and a higher turnover.
Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
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DonShirer
Jan 16, 2017 1:14 PM CST
     Jai: Here are three on-line recommendations for "culinary use". I'm not recommending them, just poinint them out.
Best tomatoes for Sauces
http://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/f...

Best Tomatoes for Canning
http://www.thekitchn.com/the-v...

Best Cooking Tomatoes
https://www.harrisseeds.com/st...

I think these list-makers concentrate on the plum varieties and tend to overlook the Heart tomatoes, whose firm, dense flesh and good flavor make great sauce.
I also read an article recently that said fancy chefs like small or cherry tomatoes, especially the dark or multi-colored ones, to spice up their signature dishes. Hope that gives you some ideas.



California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 22, 2017 6:04 PM CST
I don't think that sounds stupid at all. There are a variety of tomato's. I've been eating them my whole life. Here's a link to the many different kinds of tomato's there are and what they're used for.

Google: I can't post the link since I am still a new member seattletimes/life/food-drink/a-guide-to-tomatoes-and-the-best-use-for-each-type/
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
Spiders! Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Birds Fruit Growers Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Bonehead
Jan 22, 2017 7:10 PM CST
Here's the link:

http://www.seattletimes.com/li...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Jai_Ganesha
Jan 24, 2017 12:42 AM CST
Thank you. That is very helpful.

Every time I read this thread, I become hungry...
Keep going!
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 24, 2017 12:47 AM CST
Haha same here. I actually just got back from Del Taco and I don't know what kind of tomatoes they used, but they were gross. They had no flavor to them. I won't ask for tomatoes on my food again from them.

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