Paste tomatoes, often referred to as “plum tomatoes” or “processing tomatoes,” are a specific type of tomato cultivar that is characterized by its oblong or pear-shaped appearance. These tomatoes are prized for their unique characteristics, making them ideal for various culinary purposes, particularly for making tomato paste, sauces, and canning. Here’s an explanation of paste tomatoes:
- Shape: Paste tomatoes are typically elongated and oval or cylindrical in shape. This shape differs from the round, globe-shaped tomatoes commonly found in salads.
- Texture: The flesh of paste tomatoes is meaty and has fewer seeds and less juice compared to other tomato varieties. This characteristic makes them perfect for cooking, as they yield a thicker and less watery sauce.
- Thicker Skin: They tend to have thicker and denser skin, which helps maintain their shape during cooking and processing.
Flavor and Aroma:
While paste tomatoes may not be as sweet or juicy as some other tomato varieties, they offer a robust and concentrated tomato flavor. This flavor profile is highly desirable in tomato-based sauces, soups, and pastes.
Several tomato cultivars fall into the paste tomato category. Some of the most popular varieties include:
- Roma Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are perhaps the most famous type of paste tomato. They are readily available and recognized for their pear-shaped form and outstanding cooking qualities. Roma tomatoes are often used to make tomato sauce, paste, and canned tomatoes.
- San Marzano Tomatoes: San Marzano tomatoes are known for their exceptional flavor and are often considered the gold standard for paste tomatoes. These Italian tomatoes have a sweet, less acidic taste, making them ideal for making tomato sauces, particularly for pizza and pasta dishes.
- Amish Paste: This heirloom variety is prized for its deep red color and rich tomato flavor. It’s a favorite among gardeners for making sauces and paste.
Paste tomatoes are versatile in the kitchen and can be used in various ways, such as:
- Making tomato paste: The dense flesh and low moisture content of paste tomatoes are perfect for creating thick and concentrated tomato paste.
- Preparing tomato sauces: These tomatoes are commonly used to make tomato sauces for pasta, pizza, and other dishes.
- Canning: The meaty texture and robust flavor of paste tomatoes make them an excellent choice for canning. They retain their shape and flavor when preserved, making them suitable for various canning projects.
- Drying: Some paste tomato varieties are also suitable for drying, resulting in flavorful sun-dried tomatoes.
- Salsas and chutneys: While not as common as other tomato varieties, paste tomatoes can also be used in salsas and chutneys, adding a unique texture and flavor.
In summary, paste tomatoes are a specialized type of tomato known for their meaty texture, low moisture content, and concentrated tomato flavor. They are a staple in many kitchens for making tomato paste, sauces, and canning, and are prized for their culinary versatility and ability to enhance the richness of tomato-based dishes.