I have been feasting on delicious, healthy vine-ripened tomatoes for several months now. The key to a good balanced harvest is selecting tomato cultivars that flourish at different times throughout the season.
All tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) fall into one of two categories: indeterminate plants bear fruit continuously up until frost and will provide slow but steady pickings perfect for eating fresh in salads and salsas; determinate plants set one large crop and are finished once it ripens, so they are good for the bounty needed for making soups and sauces.
This year I grew more than 10 different varieties so I could have a long and varied harvest. I am finally harvesting all the remaining tomatoes from their vines. I will ripen the green tomatoes indoors and preserve the ripe tomatoes.
Canning is one of the best ways to save some of your summer harvest for year-round use. Choose tomatoes for canning that are flavorful, meaty, and, if you’ll be canning whole tomatoes, small enough to fit through the opening of the jar. Here are just a few good choices for canning: the ‘Opalka’ variety is a newly available heirloom paste tomato originally from Poland. It has excellent flavor, is very meaty, and has few seeds. ‘La Roma’ is a hybrid tomato that produces a significantly larger crop than the standard Roma. It tastes delicious, and like all plum tomatoes, has an ideal texture for canning. ‘Classica’ is a red pear tomato with wonderful flavor. The deep red fruit is perfect for canning, as well as for making sauces. It’s also known for an exceptionally large crop.