Landscape Design

Tomatoes are a versatile crop to devour at the dinner table. Whether you’re chowing down on a fully-loaded cheeseburger, enjoying a hearty dish of pasta, warm soup, refreshing salad, chili, or even a pizza, none are complete without a healthy dose of tomato deliciousness.

Homegrown tomatoes are almost always tastier than those you will find in the grocery store. They’re also significantly more nutritious and a lot fresher! Tomatoes are relatively easy to grow and highly productive, though not all tomatoes are equal when it comes to how you use them in your meals. Here’s a list of some of the more popular tomatoes and the best way to infuse them into your culinary dishes.

Cherry or Grape Tomatoes

Otherwise known as small-fruited tomatoes, cherry and grape tomatoes are—you guessed it—teeny tiny! Small-fruited tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables (ok, technically a fruit) to grow, and they really pack a flavor punch!

The most common ways to devour cherry or grape tomatoes tend to be in salads, eating them whole, straight off the plant (yum!), or dipping them in some tasty ranch dressing as part of a veggie tray. You can also roast cherry tomatoes alongside asparagus and feta cheese as a side dish and add them into quiches or pizzas.

Slicer Tomatoes

Slicer tomatoes are what you are most likely used to seeing at the grocery store. They are medium-sized and tend to produce earlier in the season than other tomato varieties. There are also tons of different slicer tomatoes to choose from: Arkansas Traveler, Bodacious, Brandywine, Porterhouse, and Kellogg’s breakfast are all quite popular slicer tomato varieties.

Slicer tomatoes are, as their name would suggest, perfect for slicing! If you are a sandwich connoisseur or love a good juicy cheeseburger, slicer tomatoes are a perfect choice.

Sauce Tomatoes

If you have a penchant for preserves and canning, sauce tomatoes are a winner! Sauce tomatoes have very few seeds and lots of flesh. Their most obvious distinction from other tomatoes is their oblong, oval shape. Use sauce tomatoes to make all of the delicious pasta sauce or pizza sauce you can imagine!

San Marzano’s are renowned sauce tomatoes from the Campania region in Italy, which are said to be the best for tomato paste and sauce thanks to their low acidity, dense pulp, and sweet flavor. Roma tomatoes are an absolute classic, and Margherita tomatoes will produce a heavy crop in about 70 days.

Beefsteak Tomatoes

Beefsteaks are enormous, “meaty” tomatoes with more flesh than seeds, making them a great general-purpose tomato! They are the absolute best choice for salsas and pico de gallo, but you can also top burgers and sandwiches with a hearty slight of beefsteak tomato or use these gentle giants to make a variety of sauces. If, for whatever reason, you can only grow one tomato plant this year, make it a beefsteak! They are so productive, and their versatility makes them a true fan favorite.

Heirloom Tomatoes

Speaking of fan favorites, we must talk about Heirloom tomatoes! Most tomato varieties that you find in grocery stores are “hybrid” tomatoes are developed by combining two parent varieties to achieve a specific benefit or purpose, such as disease resistance and longer shelf life.

On the other hand, heirloom tomatoes have been passed down for generations and are much-loved for their distinct colors and flavors. You’ll find them at your local farmer’s market, but you’re less likely to stumble upon heirloom tomatoes at the grocery store.

If you’re inspired, you can even experiment and grow your own! Heirloom tomatoes are equally as delicious as they are visually stunning. Keep things simple by enjoying them fresh with a little balsamic and basil, in a tomato salad, or baked with a little bit of garlic, rosemary, and olive oil.

Regardless of what you’re cooking, there’s a tomato for every occasion! We hope this guide got you salivating and ready to grow some tasty tomatoes in your garden this year. Stop by one of our Westwood Gardens locations to check out all the different varieties available while supplies last!

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