The Best Type Of Tomatoes To Use For Your Homemade Pasta Sauce

Homemade pasta sauce seems like the pinnacle of culinary achievement, the holy grail of Italian cuisine. It may feel intimidating to master, but it really isn't that hard to make once you have the basics down. Of course, you will need the right herbs and spices, but a good tomato sauce starts with the right tomatoes. 

There are about 10,000 varieties of tomatoes, so how do you choose the right one for your sauce? And is it better to use fresh tomatoes or will canned tomatoes do the trick? 

If you want to do everything from scratch, you will need fresh tomatoes, because canned tomatoes can have added salt and maybe even added seasonings and sugar that can alter your sauce's flavor. But when it comes to choosing the right fresh tomatoes, you should know the best varieties for sauce and choose the type that will be perfect for the tomato sauce you want to create. 

Best tomato varieties for sauce

You could spend a lot of hours researching the different varieties of tomatoes, or you could go straight to the best types for making homemade tomato sauce — Roma, heirloom, and tomatoes on the vine. These three varieties are the best because they all have a meaty texture and little to no seeds, which allows them to cook down into a thick sauce that is free of seeds. They also develop deep, rich flavors when they are cooked, which means they can be canned and stored without sacrificing any of their deliciousness.

You could, of course, use other types of tomatoes for your tomato sauce. However, this would require more preparation and cooking time since other varieties tend to have more seeds and liquid in them. You will also get less sauce per tomato due to their less meaty nature, which could make your sauce cost more since you have to buy more tomatoes.

Now, let's examine why these three types of tomatoes specifically are so good for tomato sauce.

Why these 3 tomato varieties are the best

Roma tomatoes are oblong and they have a firm and meaty texture with low water content. This makes them ideal for cooking down into thick sauces without becoming too watery. As for flavor, Roma tomatoes have a sweet, slightly tangy flavor that is less juicy than other tomato varieties. They are commonly used in Italian cuisine and are often canned or jarred, making them good for sauces that you need to store.

Tomatoes on the vine are harvested and sold with the stem still attached. Tomatoes on the vine are often fresher and have a more robust flavor than tomatoes that have been removed from the vine, as the stem continues to supply nutrients to the tomato even after it has been harvested. They have a sweet and tangy flavor, and the texture is firm and meaty, with a juicy interior. When these tomatoes are cooked, the flavor can become even more concentrated, making them a popular choice for sauces.

Heirloom tomatoes are varieties of tomatoes that have been passed down through generations of farmers and gardeners, often for 50 years or more. Unlike hybrid tomatoes, which are bred for specific traits, heirloom tomatoes have been preserved for their unique flavor, color, and shape. These tomatoes come in a wide range of colors and sizes and can have a variety of shapes. They also have a unique flavor profile that can be sweet, tangy, or even smoky, depending on the variety. Many people find that heirloom tomatoes have a more complex and interesting flavor than commercially grown tomatoes, and that's why they make great fruits for your tomato sauce — they can add interest and different flavors.