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What is a "plum" tomato?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
And how is it different than any other kind of tomato? Why is it called "plum"?
post #2 of 29
They are shaped like a plum and are meatier and have denser properties
that lend
the tomato to superior sauce. I'm sure there are more intricate scientific
reasons too.
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
M Brown,

How do I know I am buying a "plum" tomato?

I've done my research, I can not find any can that says Plum Tomatoes or even in the produce aisle, they are just "tomatoes"... ie: hot house, vine ripened, etc.
post #4 of 29
shape is oval instead of round. They are also called Italian tomatoes...I have had red, orange, and yellow ones
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post #5 of 29
It's really simple it would either be indicated on the can or the clerck could tell you what kind of tomatoes there are in the produce section. Don't be afraid to ask it is how we learn.

Sisi
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post #6 of 29
They are also known as "Roma" Tomatoes!
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post #7 of 29
There are actually more than one variety of plum tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are one; my favorite is San Marzano. They can be difficult to find and, as far as I've seen are usually sold canned. They're grown in the volcanic soil near Napoli, Italy and have less of a acidic bite. They make excellent sauces.
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post #8 of 29
My boyfriend buys me the fancy ones. San Marzano. I really like them for the traditional second generation Ital sauce. I just can't stand to pay the price, so I am fine with at giant can, of plum tomato.

How is your sauce now, cchiu? Do you make sauce and is it better now? If you ask, it is great to hear back.

Do you make good sauce, or good questions?

[This message has been edited by nutcakes (edited September 22, 2000).]

[This message has been edited by nutcakes (edited September 22, 2000).]
post #9 of 29
i do think, and im am open to correction, that roma/egg/plum tomatoes have a tendancy to be vine grown, and perhaps vine ripened.

They are the tomato of choice for napolitana sauces and et al. Also very good for semi dries or oven dried tomatoes.
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post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
nutcakes: re: ".....sauce.....questions?"

I just always hear of "plum tomatoes" and finally went out of my way to find them. None of the grocery stores ever say "plum" in the produce section. This is why I asked here.

I do make a good sauce. As far as the questions.... I don't know, what do you think?
post #11 of 29
Yep~ questions are important for the guy asking....if you don't want to answer that's Ok too. Everyone starts in at some level of understanding.
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post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Finally, now I know.

Either there's a lot more information on the net now than there was before or I've come a long way in research skills. Anyway, this question was brought to my attention again and this is the research I found. I hope you find it as informative as I have:

The following includes definitions, links, and pics concerning the topic of "Plum Tomatoes".

In the most simple definition, the term "Plum" in reference to tomatoes indicates the "shape". There is also a biological reason they are named "plum" and that is because they have very few "locules" or seed pockets. "Plum" tomatoes tend to have less water content so they are better for dehydrating and commonly used in sauces.


1. 'Amish Paste' 2. 'Anna's Russian' 3. 'Banana Legs' 4. 'Howard's German' 5. 'Martino's Roma' 6. 'Ohio 8556' 7. 'Opalka' 8. 'Rocky' 9. 'San Marzano' 10. 'San Remo



post #13 of 29
What beautiful pictures, CChiu - made my mouth water and wish for August, a tomato, a salt shaker, sleeves rolled up, and a sink!

Ummmm - maybe they don't have plum tomatoes in Missouri?!:D
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post #14 of 29
i know both in the denver area and california the local groceries have plum tomatos almost year round, and the quality is even good to above avg much of the time
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
LOL, marmalady!

As I mentioned earlier in this thread... one of the grocery stores ever call them "plum" in the produce section. When I asked this question over a year ago, I was completely ignorant of the definition. I had no idea it referred primarily to the shape (and low water content) of a tomato. For all I knew, it was the "Key Lime" of limes. The best to use but not so easily obtainable for everyone. (Which, apparently, the true San Marzano variety of tomato would be the equivalent for plum tomatoes.)

We've had them all along in the stores, aka "Roma Tomatoes" as the signs say, but you will never see a sign around here that says "Plum Tomatoes". (The things you never learned in grade school...)

;)
post #16 of 29
Now that ya know what they are, make one of my most favorite things with 'em!

Roasted Plum - Roma - San Marzano - tomatoes

Line a baking sheet with foil, and lightly oil the foil. Heat oven to 300.

Cut of the top stem portion of the tomatoes, and halve them lengthwise; place on the baking sheet skin side down; salt/pepper to taste, and drizzle good olive oil over them. Roast for 45 minutes to one hour, until the tomatoes have lost a good bit of their juice and are starting to caramelize. Cool, and for storage, stack them in a clean jar and cover with more oil.

There are loads of seasonings you can add - thyme, garlic, etc., but I like to do mine plain, then add seasonings to the dish I'm making them with.

Totally low fat salad dressing - put some of the tomatoes in the processor, with vinegar of choice, herbs of choice, roasted or raw garlic, and pulse so some chunks still remain.

pasta sauce - Heat some olive oil in a skillet, add some garlic slices or minced garlic, some shallot, saute a minute or so; chop the tomatoes roughly, add to skillet, along with herbs of choice; saute a minute or so to blend flavors, and add some chopped spinach/broccoli rabe/kale/arugula, and cook until just wilted. Add a little of the pasta water if sauce is too thick.

Although of course it's always best to use absolutely ripened tomatoes, this is good for even the anemic looking winter tomatoes, because the roasting concentrates the flavor. Also good with cherry tomatoes, just watch the cooking times.
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post #17 of 29
Thread Starter 

Fresh Tomatoes

marmalady,

Thanks. I do something similar which I've posted somewhere here before.

I take garden fresh tomatoes, slice them, and lay them on food dehydrator trays. They are sprinkled with my own homemade herb-infused kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Then I take them outside, (keep them off the ground) to dry in the sun.

At the same time, I'll pour olive oil into a bowl and throw some freshly hand picked herbs from the herb garden, coarse chop them and mix them into the oil (add salt and pepper if you wish), also to sit in the heat of the sun. This infuses the oil tremendously in a couple of hours. (No waiting around for days or weeks in a jar.)

We'll dip fresh bread or crustini into the oil or use it for whatever... if we don't use the sun dried tomatoes all up, I'll stack them in a glass jar and pour the oil in making sure there's enough oil to cover the top of the tomatoes. (Add fresh herbs if you wish, and/or roasted garlic cloves.)

They'll be the best you've ever had. Different than oven dried tomatoes and they make gorgeous gifts.

This summer I may try making some with schewan pepper, some with sugar (for caramelization), the possibilities are endless!

And I don't even like tomatoes that much! LOL!

:lips:
post #18 of 29
I've nothing to add to your recipes...they're just my favourite ones!:)
Only a curiosity: in Italy (where of course plum tomatoes are widespread and pretty cheap) they aren't called "plum" but "pear" tomatoes (POMODORI PERINI)...

Pongi
post #19 of 29
CC, re sundrying your own - don't they take a long time to dry? I've wanted to try that - even have some old (I mean antique!) screens in the garage I was going to clean up and use, but am afraid that unless we get lots of hot, dry days without rain, they'll mold? Any tips.

Schewan (sp?!) tomatoes!!!! Awesome!
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post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
marmalady,

A long time to dry? I suppose that's a matter of opinion. If it's 85 or above on a hot summer day, I can put them out around 11am, they'll get full sun that way. I just forget about them until late afternoon and the sun goes down and they're done! I suppose you could always finish them off to your liking in a low oven if needed. Oven recipes usually call for them to sit overnight with low heat.

It helps to have something that is solid black under the trays. If you use the screens, be sure they're foodsafe and coated with oil. I would also use a couple of sticks of wood or something underneath the screen so it's not sitting directly on a solid surface and air can flow freely underneath.

I find that the top of my car or the grill lid turned upside down works best.

Also, drying time will very much depend on how thin you slice your tomatoes. You could always experiment with different thicknesses in one day. Just cut one tomato one thickness and another a little thinner or thicker. See what works best for you. There are so many variables like humidity, heat, variety of tomato, that unless Cook's Illustrated does an article, there's only one way to find out for yourself.

;)

Try it! Let us know how it goes!
post #21 of 29
Thanks, CChiu, I will try it this summer, thanks to you! I just thought they'd take much longer to dry out. I had some some reading on drying chili peppers a few years ago, when I went on a tear, and planted about 15 different kinds in my garden! I wanted to try drying them, but the instructions I had said it took a few days. I couldn't count on the Jersey weather to be hot/dry enough for a few days to accomplish that, so I assumed tomatoes took the same amount of time.
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post #22 of 29

Drying tomatoes

Since I live in an apartment in the middle of the city, I can't sun-dry anything. But I've had good success oven-drying tomatoes. Cut in half, empty out the seeds (and gooshy stuff if there is any*), lay out on sheet pans, and put in the oven at the lowest possible temp. Turn over at some point. This takes quite a while, since the heat has to be very, very low (lest you cook them instead of drying); time depends on how wet the tomatoes were in the first place. Just to be on the safe side, I store the dried tomatoes in the freezer.

* if I'm doing beefsteak-type tomatoes and have a lot of tomato innards, I usually drip the goosh (like making juice for jelly) to get some tomato water. Makes a good addition to stock or sauces.
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post #23 of 29
Thread Starter 
Suzanne,

Can't use the roof? This is very similar to marmalady's post above.

Pongi,

They're wide spread and cheap here too, just called "Roma Tomato" instead, of course, different in other parts of this country.


Interesting use of language. We have "plum tomatoes" we sub-define a "pear tomatoes" as long as they are shaped like pears...





post #24 of 29

Roof is out

Nah, there's always just too much dirt in the air down here (even before 9/11). The tomatoes would be coated with soot before they had a chance to dry. BTW, thanks for the GORGEOUS pictures -- they really make me long for summer!:lips: :lips:
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post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
Anyone drying any tomatoes yet?
post #26 of 29
We don't start getting tomatoes up here in Jersey til middle-end fo July; and then I'm too busy eating them to start drying them! I only start thinking about drying/canning/freezing around September!
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post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
It's that time... what tomatoes are you planting this year?
post #28 of 29
I grow San marzano and these and Roma make amazing sauces, cheap to grow your own and just take a seed pocket out let them dry and you have next years crop, I also grow my own scotch bonnets and strawberries and onions all in my little greenhouse or my plant trough... A nice sauce is also made by mixing Roma and San tomatoes I have a new tomato plant this year too... Forget its name but hope it makes lovely harvest for me
post #29 of 29

I wanted to grow San Marzano's again this year but forgot to save some seeds and couldn't find any this year ... so I settled with Roma's, Better Boys and what I think is an heirloom yellow tomato.

I have no idea what the name of it would be .. the seed was given to my dad years ago by an older lady  and she probably didn't know the name either ..... I have around 42 tomato plants for me the wife and son  ;-P

Plus around two dozen each of eggplant and bell pepper plants

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