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NFT: What kind of tomatoes do you grow for sauce?

bigblue1124 : 3/14/2017 8:49 am
I know for some today the thought of gardening with 1- 2 feet of snow falling is the last thing on your mind. Hope everyone stays safe and warm…

I was curious what others here have grown with success? I have for years made my own sauce buying Cento san marzano tomatoes then freezing it for future use. I would like to try growing my own tomato rather than buying the canned variety so I am mainly interested in a sweet plum tomato for growing. Anyone else grow their own for making sauce?

It is just my wife and I so our need for fresh daily tomatoes for sandwiches and such are not great so primarily we would use them for sauce and canning.

What type of tomatoes have you grown with success for this application? And in addition what type of dirt/fertilizer do you use? A good friend of mine grows a ton of chilies every year and swears by black cow for fertilizer.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Plum  
thomasa510 : 3/14/2017 8:51 am : link
Plum and San marzano, but any productive tomato plant works.
Cento  
mattlawson : 3/14/2017 9:04 am : link
Yellow can. San Marzanos
San marzanos  
Taggart : 3/14/2017 9:18 am : link
I always get complements on my sauce.
San Marzano  
Sebastian : 3/14/2017 9:19 am : link
Started a planter-bed garden in my backyard last year. Honestly didn't do much more than buy the Miracle Gro planter soil and water with the Miracle Gro food every now and then.

I ended up with a San Marzano bush (lol) that gave me around 3 harvests of about 30 tomatoes each. The tomatoes were about 4"x1.5" and stored very well. The best home-made sauce I've ever done, and its not even close.
Tomatoes  
Jim in Fairfax : 3/14/2017 9:40 am : link
Personally I think the effort of growing tomatoes is best put towards fresh eating tomatoes. I don't think fresh tomatoes give you a better sauce product since you're cooking it so long anyway -- any freshness is cooked out. And there are great quality canned tomatoes for sauce are easily available. Finding good quality tomatoes for fresh eating is a much harder thing, so growing yourself is worth the effort.
RE: Plum  
Deej : 3/14/2017 9:41 am : link
In comment 13392416 thomasa510 said:
Quote:
Plum and San marzano, but any productive tomato plant works.


This is certainly the traditional route. Plums (including Romas and San Marzanos) have a high flesh to seed/jelly.

I know it is sacrilege, but I almost always prefer good brand commercially canned tomatoes to home jarred tomatoes, which people give me. For a fresh sauce a good eating tomatoes is fine, so I think it might make sense not to grow a sauce tomato for sauce -- grow a good eating tomato, and use commercial for pantry sauce.
or what Jim said  
Deej : 3/14/2017 9:42 am : link
.
When I make fresh sauce..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 3/14/2017 9:45 am : link
(or when my Grandmother did too), we'd only use plum or cherry tomatoes, cooked down until soft with garlic, basil, salt and pepper. And only served with homemades.

If it is Sunday dinner or when I'm making a slow-cooked sauce, it is always canned or jarred tomatoes, usually san marzano, and often, I'll add bracciole, pork, sausage and meatballs.
I was curious how well Marzanos would grow here in the states?  
bigblue1124 : 3/14/2017 9:51 am : link
Do you have any recommendations on who or where to buy the seed’s? Looking online it would seem everyone under the sun sells them however I highly doubt all are actual marzano seeds.

Also maybe a stupid question in regards to miracle grow is this an organic product? I am not a tree hugger by any means but I am looking for the most natural possible hence the desire to move away from the can products.


Granted I will always use some of the Cento brand tomatoes always have but I thought it would be fun to at least try to grow my own and see how it went. I make a ton of sauce every year and it would be nice during seasonal months to have a home grown product rather than made from a can. By no means am I unhappy with the ones I have been using in fact I think they are awesome but would like to at least try the fresh route.



RE: When I make fresh sauce..  
bigblue1124 : 3/14/2017 10:00 am : link
In comment 13392463 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:
(or when my Grandmother did too), we'd only use plum or cherry tomatoes, cooked down until soft with garlic, basil, salt and pepper. And only served with homemades.

If it is Sunday dinner or when I'm making a slow-cooked sauce, it is always canned or jarred tomatoes, usually san marzano, and often, I'll add bracciole, pork, sausage and meatballs.
LOL

I am making gravy with bracciole, sausage and meatballs today. God do I miss my Nonna’s food mine will never compete.
don't forget the wine and sugar and bay leaf  
gtt350 : 3/14/2017 10:24 am : link
and top with Locetelli cheese
For those of you who buy canned tomatoes  
Frank in Silver Spring : 3/14/2017 10:29 am : link
I recommend the Nina brand of San Marzanos. My late mother swore by them and her Sunday sauce (sorry Rob Nargi, it was always "sauce" in my house), was second to none. I use them too and my sauce is pretty good, though can never equal her's, of course.

And I've only seen the Nina cans in Brooklyn - I stock up at my favorite Italian pork store a few times a year.
Also for canned  
Deej : 3/14/2017 10:37 am : link
I used the triple sized cans of Nina from costco most of the time. For smaller amounts I go with a lot of brands. In practice I think the imported Italian SMs are substantially overrated. If you look at blind taste tests you'll see that the results are all over the place -- what is best is both subjective and subject to the variability of the tomatoes in the can, which no brand nails 100% of the time. Epicurious's taste test had Red Pack beating all the imported SMs. I know I wont play $5 for a can of SMs at the neighborhood market.
Why  
oldog : 3/14/2017 10:38 am : link
does BBI do this sort of thread so much better and more constructively than the football ones?
I don't make a consideration  
I Love Clams Casino : 3/14/2017 10:40 am : link
for the "type" of tomatoes as much as I do the taste. I think most people fall into the plum shaped tomatoes because they are plentiful and it was easier for manufacturers yields way back thereby making consumers familiar with plum for sauce. In my minds eye, if the tomato tastes good, it will make a great sauce.

I defy anybody to taste anybody's sauce (gravy, whatever) and tell me if the tomato was plum, grape, globe or beefsteak.

I, personally wouldn't freeze a tomato and then cook it. I would can it, which is essentially cooking it and preserving it, and then store until whenever.

I have canned (and made sauce, chili, etc) with Brandywines (beefsteak) Mortgage Lifters (beefsteak), San Marzano (Plum), and quite a few others
Last year I bought these  
pjcas18 : 3/14/2017 10:52 am : link
Roma tomato seeds from Lowe's. I got one pack of seeds for under $2

I planted indoors in planters in maybe mid-April, grew great inside, I hardened them for a week or so around Memorial day and planted outside the first week in June.

I want to say I had thousands of tomatoes from one packet of seeds and they were delicious fresh on some mozzarella, in salads, on sandwiches, or just plain eating, and they were perfect for sauce.

I did get some bottom rot or something (forget what it's called), but I changed my watering frequency and added something to them (organic compound to clear it up) and it worked within days.

RE: Tomatoes  
BMac : 3/14/2017 10:54 am : link
In comment 13392459 Jim in Fairfax said:
Quote:
Personally I think the effort of growing tomatoes is best put towards fresh eating tomatoes. I don't think fresh tomatoes give you a better sauce product since you're cooking it so long anyway -- any freshness is cooked out. And there are great quality canned tomatoes for sauce are easily available. Finding good quality tomatoes for fresh eating is a much harder thing, so growing yourself is worth the effort.


Where they make the difference is in salsa and salsa cruda. Worth growing just for that.
I'll +1 Jim and Deej as well  
jcn56 : 3/14/2017 10:56 am : link
I make a good sauce, but it's just a bit better than canned for a ton of work.

Much better eaten raw or as salsa. Grow some fresh peppers and you won't regret it. There are ready made dried mixes to make pico de gallo and salsa if you don't want to DIY, and it's so simple to make it's ridiculous.
I dint  
thomasa510 : 3/14/2017 11:00 am : link
I don't disagree with the comments on fresh tomatoes being much more of a difference than sauce tomatoes.

My garden is huge and I always have tons more tomatoes than I can consume. It's either rotting tomatoes or frozen sauce.

As for soil I use regular compost and fertilize once a season.
RE: I don't make a consideration  
bigblue1124 : 3/14/2017 11:00 am : link
In comment 13392531 I Love Clams Casino said:
Quote:
for the "type" of tomatoes as much as I do the taste. I think most people fall into the plum shaped tomatoes because they are plentiful and it was easier for manufacturers yields way back thereby making consumers familiar with plum for sauce. In my minds eye, if the tomato tastes good, it will make a great sauce.

I defy anybody to taste anybody's sauce (gravy, whatever) and tell me if the tomato was plum, grape, globe or beefsteak.

I, personally wouldn't freeze a tomato and then cook it. I would can it, which is essentially cooking it and preserving it, and then store until whenever.

I have canned (and made sauce, chili, etc) with Brandywines (beefsteak) Mortgage Lifters (beefsteak), San Marzano (Plum), and quite a few others


A few points you made I completely agree with

The quality of the tomato is the key. I wish I knew what kind my Nonna grew when I was young I have zero clue but she never used store bought canned it was always from her garden and she would preserve them via canning for the year this is north jersey not Italy or Cali.

I only freeze my sauce that I make from canned san marzano tomatoes due to the amount I make each time, For easy access and using a canned product from the start it’s not safe to re-can this type of product.
RE: Why  
Jim in Fairfax : 3/14/2017 11:03 am : link
In comment 13392529 oldog said:
Quote:
does BBI do this sort of thread so much better and more constructively than the football ones?

Because people actually DO these things, rather than just watch them on TV.
RE: RE: I don't make a consideration  
I Love Clams Casino : 3/14/2017 11:14 am : link
In comment 13392557 bigblue1124 said:
Quote:
In comment 13392531 I Love Clams Casino said:


Quote:


for the "type" of tomatoes as much as I do the taste. I think most people fall into the plum shaped tomatoes because they are plentiful and it was easier for manufacturers yields way back thereby making consumers familiar with plum for sauce. In my minds eye, if the tomato tastes good, it will make a great sauce.

I defy anybody to taste anybody's sauce (gravy, whatever) and tell me if the tomato was plum, grape, globe or beefsteak.

I, personally wouldn't freeze a tomato and then cook it. I would can it, which is essentially cooking it and preserving it, and then store until whenever.

I have canned (and made sauce, chili, etc) with Brandywines (beefsteak) Mortgage Lifters (beefsteak), San Marzano (Plum), and quite a few others



A few points you made I completely agree with

The quality of the tomato is the key. I wish I knew what kind my Nonna grew when I was young I have zero clue but she never used store bought canned it was always from her garden and she would preserve them via canning for the year this is north jersey not Italy or Cali.

I only freeze my sauce that I make from canned san marzano tomatoes due to the amount I make each time, For easy access and using a canned product from the start it’s not safe to re-can this type of product.


Nonna! I had 1 too, although she was my great grandmother. The stuff they grew back in the day, in the middle of an urban area like New Brunswick was astounding. The lushness of their gardens was a thing to behold.
RE: Also for canned  
Bleedin Blue : 3/14/2017 12:06 pm : link
In comment 13392526 Deej said:
Quote:
I used the triple sized cans of Nina from costco most of the time. For smaller amounts I go with a lot of brands. In practice I think the imported Italian SMs are substantially overrated. If you look at blind taste tests you'll see that the results are all over the place -- what is best is both subjective and subject to the variability of the tomatoes in the can, which no brand nails 100% of the time. Epicurious's taste test had Red Pack beating all the imported SMs. I know I wont play $5 for a can of SMs at the neighborhood market.


I use Nina from Costco also. I always make big batches for my family. I was in the local market when I ran into a chef from a local Italian restaurant, I said hello and struck up a conversation with him. He waxed poetically about how he uses Nina tomatoes for his sauce. I've been using them ever since with rave reviews!
I grew 50+ varieties  
blue2 : 3/14/2017 3:29 pm : link
last year in all colors and sizes. For sauce all of them go into a large roasting pan into the oven with the door slightly ajar. The sauce comes out amazing.

Favorite tomato last year was Cherokee Lime.
.....  
Unemployable : 3/14/2017 9:20 pm : link
Red and round.
I eat them fresh  
Ron Johnson 30 : 3/15/2017 8:57 am : link
and buy canned for sauce, with the exception of some fresh sauce in the summer
RE: Tomatoes  
NNJ Tom : 3/15/2017 9:29 am : link
In comment 13392459 Jim in Fairfax said:
Quote:
Personally I think the effort of growing tomatoes is best put towards fresh eating tomatoes. I don't think fresh tomatoes give you a better sauce product since you're cooking it so long anyway -- any freshness is cooked out. And there are great quality canned tomatoes for sauce are easily available. Finding good quality tomatoes for fresh eating is a much harder thing, so growing yourself is worth the effort.


This.
Using tomatoes for sauce  
pjcas18 : 3/15/2017 9:41 am : link
has never been about the effort (for me at least).

it's about the abundance. Most people I know grow tomatoes for fresh eating, or making salsa or something else right off the vine.

However because they grow so easily and abundantly selecting one that makes a good sauce and is equally delicious to eat makes sense rather than buying canned tomatoes.

it's what I do and why I liked those Roma tomatoes so much. A bit skinnier than what most people like on a sandwich, but delicious nonetheless.

So sure, canned tomatoes are great for sauce, so what, if you're growing tomatoes in a garden, grow some you can use for sauce too.
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