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Sandwich Tomato Varieties: Good Slicing Tomatoes To Grow In The Garden

Sandwich Tomato Varieties: Good Slicing Tomatoes To Grow In The Garden


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By: Amy Grant

Almost everyone likes a tomatoin one way or another and for Americans it’s often on a burger or possible asandwich. There are tomatoes for all kinds of uses from those perfect formaking into sauce and tomatoes ideal for slicing. What tomatoes are best forburgers and sandwiches? Slicing tomatoes…read on to learn more.

Types of Tomatoes for Burgers and Sandwiches

Everyone has their favorite tomato and, because we all haveour own personal taste, the type of tomato you use on your burger is yourbusiness. That said, most people are of the opinion that slicing tomatoesversus pasteor Roma tomatoes are the ideal sandwich tomato varieties.

Tomatoes for slicing tend to be large, meaty and juicy – thebetter to go with a ¼-pound of beef. Because slicing tomatoes are large, theyslice well and can cover a bun or slice of bread easily.

Sandwich Tomato Varieties

Again, the best tomatoes for slicing are dictated by yourtaste buds, but the following varieties have been listed as favorites:

  • Brandywine – Brandywine is likely the hands-down favorite, the original large pink beefsteak tomato. It is also available in red, yellow and black, but the original pink Brandywine is the most popular.
  • Mortgage Lifter – One of my favorites is Mortgage Lifter, named after the developer of this big beauty who used the profits from the sale of his tomato plants to pay off his mortgage.
  • Cherokee Purple – Cherokee Purple is an heirloom that is thought to have come from the Cherokee Indians. This large dark red tomato tinged with purplish/green is a sweet accompaniment to burgers and BLT’s.
  • Beefsteak – Beefsteak is an old standby. An heirloom with large, ribbed fruit that is meaty and juicy, and a perfect tomato for slicing and just plain eating with or without the bread!
  • Black Krim – The Black Krim is yet another heirloom slicing tomato, a bit smaller than those above, but with a rich, smoky/salty flavor.
  • Green Zebra – For something a little different, try slicing up a Green Zebra, named for its green stripes backlit by a golden yellow base. The flavor of this heirloom is tangy rather than sweet, a nice change and a gorgeous color.

Not all slicing tomatoes need be heirlooms. There are alsosome hybrids that lend themselves deliciously as sandwich tomatoes. Try slicingup a Big Beef, Steak Sandwich, RedOctober, Buck’s County, or Porterhouse on your next burger or sandwichcreation.

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Glossary of Terms

All-America Selections (AAS):
All-America Selections is the oldest, independent testing organization of flower and edible varieties in North America. Plants are judged in impartial trials, and an AAS winner designates superior garden performance.

Catfacing:
Misshapen, deformed fruit, caused by incomplete pollination, usually due to cold weather.

Determinate:
“Bush” tomatoes, varieties that grow to a compact height (generally 3′-4′). Determinates stop growing when fruit sets on the top bud. All the tomatoes from the plant ripen at approximately the same time (usually over period of 1- 2 weeks). They require a limited amount of staking for support and are well suited for container planting.

Heirloom:
An open-pollinated tomato that has been grown without crossbreeding for 40 or more years whose seed grows “true to type.”

Hybrid:
A controlled method of pollination in which the pollen of two different species or varieties is crossed by human intervention, producing first generation offspring of two distant and distinct parental lines any seed produced by F1 plants is genetically unstable and cannot be saved for use in following years.

Indeterminate:
“Climbing” tomatoes that will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost. They can reach heights of up to 12 feet although 6 feet is normal. Indeterminates will bloom, set new fruit, and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the season. They require substantial staking for support.

Open-pollinated:
Pollen is carried by natural mechanisms, like bees or wind. As long as pollen is not shared between different varieties within the same species, then the seed produced will remain true-to-type year after year.

Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI):

An organization that developed and maintains a mechanism through which plant breeders can designate the new crop varieties they have bred as open source. This mechanism is advanced as an alternative to patent-protected seeds sold by large agriculture companies such as Monsanto or DuPont.

Potato Leaf (PL):
Leaves usually have no or few interruptions of the leaf edge. Sometimes there are a few large lobes or notches, but most of the time the leaf edge is smooth.

Rugose:
An often darker green puckered surfaced leaf.

VFN:
Resistant to Verticillium Wilt (V), Fusarium Wilt (F), and nematodes (N).


Tips for Growing the Best Tasting Tomatoes

A lot of leaves can capture a lot of sunlight, so a plant with dense, healthy foliage can convert more sunlight into sugars and other flavorful components. Heirloom varieties have a greater percentage of leaf than do market-ready hybrids, which may partially explain their flavorful. Do all you can to keep leaves healthy.

Lastly, remember that the most delicious tomatoes seem to come right off the vine, eaten fresh in the garden. Soft, ripe, and fragrant…there is nothing like a truly homegrown tomato.

“What you have is the warmth of the sun. A cold tomato has far less taste. This smells of days of sunshine.”

Monty Don, French Gardens: The Gourmet Garden (picking and smelling a ripe tomato in a french restaurant’s garden)

For more information on the cultivars described above and other tomato varieties, visit the Rutgers Database of Tomato Varieties.

“There are no “wrong” tomatoes (other than those waxed-fruit varieties in the supermarket) you should grow what you like.”

The “You Bet Your Garden” Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes, by Mike McGrath.

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