More about Tomatoes… A few Roma Varieties

Rectangular-shaped San Marzano tomatoes and rounded "Roma" tomatoes

San Marzano versus “Roma”

The best tomato to can, in my opinion, is the Roma — any variety of Roma! They can be used to make sauces before canning or after, and they make really great, smooth sauces and pastes because they “cook down” much better than a tomato for sandwich slices or cut and put into salads.

There are a number of varieties of Roma variety of tomatoes; we have “Juliet”, “Roma”, and “San Marzano”.

While these tomatoes all perform roughly the same for sauces, they have slight differences in appearance. The “Romas” are more rounded than the San Marzano, but they both have a pointed shape at the bottom of the fruit.

Roma, Juliane, and Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Roma, Juliane, and Yellow Pear Tomatoes

As the heat increases, the tomatoes become smaller. So, let’s compare the small sized Roma to Juliet and to the Yellow Pear tomato (NOTE:  both Juliet and the Yellow Pear tomatoes start small and stay small throughout the season — as long as the plants are producing tomatoes.)

The bottom of the Roma tomato comes to a point (two tomatoes at the top of the saucer), whereas the bottom of the Juliet (Roma-style tomato, lower right side of the saucer) has a small indented spot; the same shape, about the same size, but the bottom of the fruit is slightly different.

The Yellow Pear tomato is NOT a Roma variety, it is here for comparison to the Juliet (average size shown) and the small Roma (these are about 1/4 to 1/3 of the average size that they reach when produced in cooler temperatures —e.g., below about 85 degrees Fahrenheit). The Yellow Pear is so named due to its distinct shape and color (yellow when ripe!).

The Yellow Pear heirloom tomato is used just like a cherry tomato — for snacks, sandwiches, and in salads. The Roma varieties are versatile enough to be used in that same fashion; however, do not miss an opportunity to use your favorite Roma variety (or varieties) for canning whole, or for sauces and pastes!


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