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A plum tomato
, also known as a processing tomato
or paste tomato
, is a type of tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...
bred for sauce
A tomato sauce is any of a very large number of sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish...
and packing purposes. They are generally oval or cylindrical in shape, with significantly fewer seed compartments than standard round tomatoes (usually only two) and a generally higher solid content, making them more suitable for processing. Plum tomatoes are also sometimes favored by cooks for use during the tomato off-season, as they are generally considered more amenable to handling and are therefore available in a state closer to ripe than other supermarket tomatoes.
Varieties commonly available in markets include Roma VF
Roma tomato or Roma is a plum tomato which is commonly found in supermarkets. The tomato is a meaty, egg- or pear-shaped tomato that is available in red and yellow. It has few seeds and is a good canning and sauce tomato...
and San Marzano
San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best sauce tomatoes in the world.-History:The story goes that the first seed of the San Marzano tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Kingdom of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was...
(semi-determinate; a signature tomato of Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines...
), though there are many other varieties, such as the short-season Ropreco Paste and the larger Amish Paste and Big Mama. Five hybrid cultivar
A cultivar'Cultivar has two meanings as explained under Formal definition. When used in reference to a taxon, the word does not apply to an individual plant but to all those plants sharing the unique characteristics that define the cultivar. is a plant or group of plants selected for desirable...
s grown in California constitute over 60% of total production of processing tomatoes. Small plum tomatoes (similar in size to cherry tomato
A cherry tomato is a small variety of tomato that has been cultivated since at least the early 1800s and thought to have originated in Peru and Northern Chile. Cherry tomatoes range in size from a thumbtip up to the size of a golf ball, and can range from being spherical to slightly oblong in shape...
es) are known as grape tomato
A grape tomato is a class of tomatoes believed to be of southeast Asian origin, shaped similarly to the oval plum tomatoes but having the small size and sweetness of cherry tomatoes. Grape tomatoes produce small and typically oblong fruits...