Homemade salsa is the best! There is nothing more satisfying than making great salsa at home. One of the main components of any salsa is tomatoes. There are different varieties of tomatoes you can use, but only the best tomatoes for salsa will help you get the right flavors and consistency.
Paste tomatoes are preferred when it comes to salsa cruda. This is because they are fleshy, have less juice, and have fewer seeds when compared to other types of tomatoes. Since they are not too juicy, they cook easily, which is great for the next time you make tomato sauce.
No matter the type of tomatoes you use, ensure that they look healthy and ripe. If you're looking for some popular tomato varieties for making a good salsa, here is what you need to know.
What is Salsa Cruda?
Salsa Cruda is a Mexican dish that comprises an uncooked mixture of chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro or coriander leaves, and jalapeno peppers. It is also called pico de Gallo, which is a Spanish word meaning 'beak of a rooster.'
When making Salsa Cruda, you want to use tomatoes that have a potent flavor. So, let's have a look at some varieties of tomatoes for making salsa.
Red Tomatoes for Salsa
You can never go wrong with red tomatoes as they come in many varieties and have a superb flavor. Some of the most common red tomatoes are Amish paste, Juliet, and San Marzano.
1. Amish Paste
This is a large and intensely flavored Amish heirloom that takes 75 to 85 days to mature. It is described as a Roma tomato on steroids since it has a rich tomato flavor in its meaty walls. On average, the tomato size is between 8 to 12 oz, which is larger than most Roma tomato varieties.
Although most Amish paste tomatoes are plum-shaped, some of them grow into mini oxhearts. Since they are flavorful enough, they are perfect for salads but can also be used for sauces, pastes, and salsas.
This tomato variety is indeterminate, unlike many other paste tomatoes. This means that you will get harvests all season since it is a very high-yielding variety.
Looking to plant Amish paste tomatoes? Here are the best seeds for Amish paste.
Burpee Amish Paste Tomato Seeds 25 seeds
- Acorn-shaped Wisconsin Heirloom: for Paste, as a slicer, and in sauces. Fruit weight is...
- Each packet contains 25 seeds
- Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before average last frost date using a Burpee seed starting kit....
- Plant Height is 36". plant spread is 18". yields 8-12 oz. Fruit
- Annual for all growing zones from 1-11. Sunlight exposure = full-sun
The Burpee Amish Paste Tomato comes with a packet of 25 seeds that can yield 8-12 oz tomatoes which can be used as a slicer, paste, or in sauces. These seeds are for all growing zones with a requirement of full sun.
Sow the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the average last frost date. On the other hand, you can transplant to a garden four weeks after the average last frost date. Fortunately, the seeds come with a Burpee seed starting kit to ensure you have a great start.
Juliet tomatoes, also known as Juliet F1, are large, bright red grape tomatoes that are quite similar to mini Romas because of their unusually elongated shape. Juliet is an award winner variety and was the All-America selections winner since it has a sweet flavor, extreme crack resistance, and vigorous growth.
This variety tends to mature very fast, sometimes even after 60 days. It produces heavy yields of tomatoes, providing you with over 100 tomatoes from only two plants. Due to this, Juliet is considered a staple by both home gardeners and market growers and is highly recommended for grape or cherry tomatoes lovers.
They are quite versatile, which means you can use them in sauces, slice them in salads and salsas. Furthermore, you can sundry them into little tomato raisin umami bombs or just eat them as a snack straight from the garden.
3. San Marzano
Unlike regular Roma tomatoes, San Marzano is thicker, fleshed and flavorful. These tomatoes grow in indeterminate vines with clusters of long plum-shaped fruits. They tend to be thinner than other regular Romas, but they have more flesh.
San Marzano is less acidic and sweeter than the regular Roma tomatoes. Moreover, they have fewer seeds and thicker flesh, making them perfect for sun-dried tomatoes, sauces, and salsa. The flavor of this variety is really great, especially if you want more tomatoes in your salsa.
Sow Right Seeds - San Marzano Tomato Seed for Planting
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The Sow Right Seeds San Marzano tomato seeds are small seed cavities with dense, meaty flesh that cooks fast. They are disease-resistant and produce approximately 5-6 ounce fruits. These homegrown heirloom tomatoes come with a lot more flavor than supermarket varieties.
Other amazing red tomatoes for salsa include;
- Bonny Best
- Little Mama
- Rio Grande
- Abe Lincoln
- Plum Regal
- Polish Linguica
- Big Mama
- Red Oxheart
- Hungarian Heart
Yellow and Orange Tomatoes for Salsa
1. Cream Sausage
Cream sausage tomatoes, also known as Banana cream, are a determinate tomato variety that has a unique color. They are elongated and sausage-shaped tomatoes that have a color ranging from pale yellow to almost white. This makes them a perfect choice for light yellow sauces and can be mixed with other varieties of tomatoes to brighten up your homemade salsa recipes.
However, this determinate bush variety might need a tomato cage or staking since it is a heavy producer. When grown in ideal conditions, it sometimes yields as much as 60 lbs of tomatoes on every plant. Despite this, it is still a compact grower that can be used for container gardening.
Cream Sausage Tomato Seeds
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With the Cream Sausage Tomato Seeds, you can either plant the seeds now or save them for growing later, even after one year. These are perfect for an avid gardener and rare seeds collector since they are easy and effective to use.
2. Banana Legs
Banana legs come in vibrant yellow color with an oddly long shape that resembles a banana. These heirloom tomatoes are more fruity and sweet than savory and also tend to have a low acid content. They are best used in salsas and salads as they tend to brighten up the color and flavor of the dish.
These are determinate plants which means they don't grow to be super tall and tend to produce most of their fruits and tomatoes all at once. This is a great option if you're want to mass-produce. However, despite them being determinate, they are able to produce substantial yields of yellow banana-shaped tomatoes.
3. Sunrise Sauce
Sunrise sauce tomatoes are ideal if you're planting them in a tight space. They are bright orange tomatoes that add extra sweetness to your homemade salsa. This variety of tomatoes is meaty but not too watery like other Roma tomatoes.
They provide low acidity and a sweet flavor, making them a great option to add to your sauces or any homemade salsa recipe. Furthermore, this variety can be used to make unique orange salsa recipes. The fresh tomatoes are determinate, grow as nice compact plants not taller than three feet, and have high disease resistance to fungal diseases. In addition, they are a high-yielding variety and low maintenance.
Other yellow and orange tomatoes for salsa include;
- Orange Roma
- Roman Candle
- Amish Gold
- Orange Banana Plum
- Yellow Roma.
Unique Colored Tomatoes for Salsa
1. Purple Russian/ Ukrainian Purple
Purple Russian, also called Ukrainian Purple, comes with a sweet and tangy flavor. It is popularly known for its deep burgundy flesh. However, the top of this tomato variety tends to stay green even after ripening.
It is an indeterminate tomato and produces crack-resistant tomatoes. However, it requires staking and a big space to grow. Despite this, they are fairly disease-resistant and prolific producers.
30+ Cherokee Purple Tomato Seeds
- Cherokee Purple Tomato Seeds, Heirloom NON-GMO, Low Acid, Indeterminate, Open-Pollinated,...
- Keep moist, not letting the seeds dry out between watering. **SOIL Temperature for...
- Start seeds in containers approximately 8 weeks prior to the planned set-out date. Plants...
- Over watering can cause fungal growth which leads to seed rot. Excess water can also bury...
- Multiple seeds can be planted in a single starter container, but should be thinned once...
The Cherokee Purple Tomato Seeds are low acid, non-GMO, open-pollinated and indeterminate heirloom seeds that are easy to grow. They are sweet, productive, and take about 75-90 days to grow. However, you should always keep them moist and never allow the seeds to dry outs between watering times.
2. Speckled Roman
Splecked roman comes with red and orange stripes on the surface, and the interior has the normal red or pink flesh. It is a cross between Roman candle and banana legs, both of which are great paste tomatoes. These tomatoes are quite meaty with less gel, have a balanced tomato flavor, and have few seeds. It is highly recommended for pure sauce or salsa because of its texture, flavor, and high yields.
Speckled Roman Tomato Seeds
- Speckled Roman is an elongated plum tomato, avg. 6-8 oz., with bright red skin and golden...
- Start tomatoes indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost of spring, sowing the seeds in a...
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With bright red skin and golden streaks, the Speckled Roman Tomato seeds are perfect for making salsa cruda. They have a meaty red flesh with little juice, making it great for fresh eating and also salsa recipes.
3. Dwarf Saucy Mary
If you're looking for green tomatoes to make your salsa, you don't have to use unripe tomatoes. The Dwarf Saucy Mary is a tomato variety that stays lime green when fresh and ripe. It also has green and yellow streaks on its skin.
Since they are dwarf tomatoes and can reach around 2.5 feet tall, they are suitable for growing on containers. As one of the best tomatoes for salsa, these tomatoes are not only great for green salsas, green sauces, and guacamole, but they are also juicy enough to be eaten fresh.
Tomatoes To Avoid
There are varieties of tomatoes that are better used on a sandwich than in salsa. Many varieties of heirloom tomatoes have a lot of seeds and are high in moisture. While such features will make a tomato tasty, they are not the best for salsa making.
However, the best tomatoes for salsa are the ones you have. So, if you only have tomatoes that are seedy and watery, you can make them work. You only need to slice them and remove the seeds and juice using a spoon or your fingers.
Why Are Paste And Roma Tomatoes The Best for Salsa?
Although you can use any tomato for your homemade salsa, paste and Roma tomatoes tend to be ideal since they have less gel, meaty flesh, fewer seeds, and less water content. Using other tomatoes will often lead to a watery salsa. Furthermore, these are the best tomatoes since they do not require too much cooking time.
When it comes to taste, some regular tomatoes like Cherokee Purple, Abe Lincoln, or Sungold cherry tomatoes can be used to add flavor to your salsa. However, paste tomatoes have a stronger flavor mainly because of the low water content.
Homemade Salsa Recipe
Preparation time/ Processing time: 20 minutes
Yield: Five cups
- 1 cup of diced onions (Red onion or green onion
- 3 cups of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons chopped hot peppers (including seeds). Hot peppers include serrano, jalapeno, habanero, and cayenne.
How to Make the Best Fresh Salsa
Although there are different salsa recipes, making fresh salsa couldn't be easier. Here is how you should make it.
- Add all the vegetables, spices, and lime juice to a food processor or a blender.
- Chop the ingredients until they are all finely chopped.
- You can also roughly chop the vegetables by hand and stir them together in a bowl, in case you don't have a blender or food processor.
Freezing and Canning Homemade Salsa
Nowadays, tomatoes aren't as acidic as they used to be. This means that if you're planning on putting your prepared salsa on a can, you need to add lemon juice or vinegar to raise the acidity. However, you need to ensure you stick to a specific recipe because it is the only way you can make sure the salsa is safe for canning.
When it comes to freezing, stick to paste tomatoes. Globe tomatoes tend to make watery salsa when frozen.
Pico de Gallo vs. Salsa
In Spanish, salsa simply means a sauce, and it can come in a variety of forms. Pico de Gallo also referred to as salsa Fresca, is a type of salsa that is made from a combination of chopped fresh tomatoes and green onions, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and fresh chilis. It has a lower amount of liquids and a chunky nature, which makes pico de Gallo feel a lot like a relish. Since it is a fresh salsa, it needs to be refrigerated and can stay for a maximum of five days.
Unlike pico de Gallo, other types of salsas like salsa verde are cooked or pureed to achieve a saucier consistency. However, similar ingredients as pico de Gallo are used.
Frequently Asked Questions on Tomatoes for Salsa
1. Can you use canned tomatoes for salsa?
Yes. Although making salsa from canned tomatoes is not very impressive or as healthy compared to fresh tomatoes, it is still a convenient way of making salsa. If you plan on going in this route, consider getting a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and ensure they are properly drained before going on with your homemade salsa recipe.
2. How long will fresh salsa last?
Ideally, canned tomatoes last for about a week. So, when fresh salsa is properly stored in a sealed container and put in the fridge, it can last up to one week.