Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Canning V. Slicing Tomatoes

I grow mostly roma's.  A great canning and paste tomato.  I also grow a few slicing/beefsteak tomatoes for the fresh eating.  On canning day, they all go into jars.  Just to explain the differences between the two types and why you want to grow canning tomatoes for canning and not just grow slicing tomatoes.

If you look at my post on canned tomatoes, I show a lot of pictures demonstrating the process of blanching and peeling.  What I didn't show you  was the extra steps I had to do for the slicing tomatoes.  Due to the shape of the tomato and the shoulders (the rounded part by the stem), I had to core the tomato before I blanched them.

The red ones are Pantano Romanesco and the deep red/purple ones are Cherokee Purple.

Can you see the splits in the shoulders?  A common problem in a slicing tomato, they make it harder to peel even after blanching.  They act just like a blemish and have to be cut around.

Due to the size of the tomatoes, they have to be halved or fourthed before they can go into the jars. 

These two varieties did hold up well, just so much more work.

Left is Pantano Romanesco, Middle is Roma, Right is Cherokee Purple

 This also demonstrates two other points.

1. A definite need to label what is in the jar.  I usually label 'Tom 8-11' but in this case, I didn't want to think the purple or romanesco tomatoes were bad in 6 months because they are a different hue.  I labeled them what they are because they are different from what I normally bottle as tomatoes.

2. There is space saving features in using the roma/paste style tomatoes over beef steak.  The amount of unused space in the bottom of the jars is far greater in the beefsteak/slicing type tomatoes.

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