When you think about how you’ll use your own harvested tomatoes, three main categories determine what varieties you should grow:
- Tomatoes for salads, including Cherry and Grape varieties
- Tomatoes for sauces, including Roma and San Marzano varieties
- Tomatoes for sandwiches, also called “slicers,” including Beefsteak varieties such as Big Beef and Brandywine
Now, tomatoes are very versatile for culinary purposes, so these aren’t hard-and-fast rules—you can use Roma tomatoes in a salad, Cherry tomatoes on a sandwich, or any Beefsteak variety in a sauce.
- Tomato Harvesting Bonus Tips: Pick your tomato fruit right off the plants when ripe, but don’t ever refrigerate homegrown garden tomatoes. Refrigerating tomatoes destroys the natural texture and flavor, and ruins the taste. Don’t put tomatoes on a sunny windowsill either—they’re more prone to rot on a sunny sill. Instead, store your harvested tomatoes in a brown paper bag and keep them on the counter or out of any direct sunlight.
Do you grow different varieties of tomatoes? Which ones do you grow? Please tell us how you use your tomato harvest—and what you do with all the excess tomatoes. Do you make sauce or can them? Or do you give them away to family, friends, and neighbors to enjoy?