Paste tomatoes

I know this photo isn't all that great but I'm using it to get my point across. And what is my point, you ask? That if you want to make tomato sauce from the tomatoes in your garden, grow paste tomatoes.

For years, I've been growing 'Early Girl,' 'Early Goliath,' 'Siberia' -- you name it. All slicing tomatoes that tend to be pretty juicy. Last year, I started growing paste tomatoes and am amazed at the difference: they are meaty and have very little juice or seeds. The variety I grew then and again this year is 'Italian Pompeii.' Some folks grow 'Roma' paste tomatoes, which are also good, and I grew some 'Amish Paste' tomatoes a few years ago.

OK, back to my point:

This afternoon, we harvested a whole bunch of 'Italian Pompeii' and lots of 'Stupice' which is a small salad tomato. We cut them into large chunks and ran them through our tomato strainer (the brand is Roma, although I'm sure many folks are also familiar with Squeezo strainers). All of the puree from the Pompeii tomatoes went into one kettle (the one shown above) and the Stupice puree went into another.

You would not believe how watery the Stupice puree is and how long it's taking to boil down into a sauce. But the Pompeii puree started out fairly thick and will need very little cooking before we put it into canning jars and process it. What a difference!

Maybe I shouldn't admit that I've only now discovered the difference but using paste tomatoes from here on out will be a great timesaver for us. I definitely intend to grow paste tomatoes for future sauces. Of course, I'll still grow some slicing tomatoes for salads and sandwiches, but 'Italian Pompeii' has earned its place in our future gardens.

I'd be interested to hear which paste tomatoes you like to grow. Just comment on this post or drop me an email at and I'll share the info with everyone.