TexasGardenGirl wrote:If I don't end up with new tomato plants for mother's day (what a wonderful gift that'd be!) then I may give Amish paste or San Marzano a try. There's 3 other varieties I'd like to give a try this year if I can get them ordered by next week. I'm really grateful the growing season is pretty decent here.
The thing with plum tomatoes is that they're very prone to blossom end rot. Not only did I have to throw away a lot of San Marzano fruit, but often the rot was hidden and I didn't discover it until I cut the end off. But I did get many good pounds from two plants.
This. I'm sorry I don't have a recommendation for you. I try to grow a few "sauce" tomatoes in my lineup each year, and every time, they are practically the only ones that get Blossom End Rot. And so far, they are not special enough to warrant the extra care regimen and nutrients to ensure THEY don't get BER when everybody else -- and we're talking dozens of others, if not over 100 -- is doing fine.
I will admit that some of those varieties, when they DO produce good fruits, are amazingly intensely flavored -- but I can't deal with the disappointment of finding the bad ones and throwing away of these fruits -- the bottom 1/3 of the tomato is the best part so there is no sense in trying to keep the top 2/3 even if you could cut away the BER -- besides, usually the spoilage gets in the core/pith so nope, no saving.
...I'm not sure if did grow any sauce tomatoes -- dry plum/elongated shape tomatoes -- this year.
I gues when you are growing a limited number of plants, what you want are good producers. Another trait for "sauce" tomatoes is Determinate growth -- they fruit with large clusters at the end of each branch all at once then usually die. But you harvest a whole bunch at once... Which you can then process at once.
You can overcome that by freezing peak ripeness fruits, then when you have enough and the energy and time, process them for sauce. I end up cooking ones that are not as good to eat fresh -- too bland in some way -- dehydrating or into sauces. I freeze peak ripe fruits that we can't keep up eating fresh and those go in the sauces too. So most of my tomatoes are juicy and I just strain out the nearly clear water and broth when they first start boiling, then put them through the food mill to remove skin and largest seeds, then cook down. The (Incredibly flavorful) tomato broth/juice is saved for another use -- or I might just drink it as the chef's reward.
I suppose the ones that have been particularly suited for sauce, if I were to name them, are the big oxheart types -- they are meaty with less gel and with only small pockets/cavities (and less seeds which are typically elongated and thin rather than squat and fat). But most of them are indeterminate and sometimes produce later. And if they are exceptional as fresh, are coveted for sandwiches due to their meaty texture and superior, stand-up-to-other-flavors presence, and I hardly get any to freeze or sauce.
I do end up with a lot of productive small red (or other colored) pingpong ball to racket ball sized ones earlier in the season, and if they are not GREAT for fresh eating, they will get cooked down into sauce. And then late season when the big ones are done, cherries keep pumping out so I end up with quart and gallon freezer bags of cherries, yeah.