Few things go together better than crisp, crunchy chips and a bowl of fresh, chunky salsa. However, if you want to take your chips and salsa game up a notch, you should try making your own homemade salsa.
As most people know, tomatoes are the main ingredient in salsa. Contrary to what many people think, you can’t use just any tomato if you hope to have tasty salsa. In order to have the best end product, you must plant and grow the best tomatoes for salsa. If you’re curious about what those tomato varieties are, read on to discover the five best tomatoes for salsa!
The Best Tomatoes for Salsa
Overall Best Tomatoes for Salsa
Amish Paste Tomato
If you’ve never spent any time in the Amish country of Indiana, Ohio, or Pennsylvania, you’re missing out on some of the best food on the planet—and some of the best tomatoes for salsa! When it comes to cooking, baking, and canning, few people do it better than the Amish. Their ability to grow and harvest crops is so renowned that they have their very own tomato variety, the Amish Paste Tomato, which happens to be one of the best tomatoes for salsa.
Amish Paste tomatoes are an heirloom variety that has been a part of the Amish community for generations. They’re similar in size, shape, and quality to Roma tomatoes but are much larger. It’s an excellent tomato for salsa because of how big they are and how fruitful and hardy the crops tend to be. The tomatoes themselves also tend to be meaty and thick with relatively low water and seed contents.
Amish Paste tomatoes are also very versatile. In addition to being one of the best tomatoes for salsa, they’re also great for tomato sauce, pasta sauce, or for eating raw. They’re an intermediate plum variety that takes two and a half to three months to mature. However, it’s well worth the wait to reap the fruitful harvest.
Runner-Up for Best Tomatoes for Salsa
Roma tomatoes are one of the most popular tomato varieties in the world, and for a good reason. They’re an all-around winner that you can use for many different things, including homemade salsa. Roma tomatoes are relatively small and have a round/oval shape similar to a pine cone. On average, they grow to around three inches in length and weigh one to two ounces.
Part of the reason Roma tomatoes are perfect for salsa is their balance between sweet and bitter. They also have relatively few seeds to pick out, making them an easy tomato to use in salsa, sauces, and pastes.
Much like Amish Paste tomatoes, Roma crops are typically bountiful. It’s also relatively easy to harvest and pick Roma tomatoes because they fit perfectly in the palm of most hands. The main thing that makes Roma tomatoes perfect for salsa is that they’re meatier than juicy.
While traditional Roma varieties are best for salsa, there are numerous Roma varieties, all of which make excellent salsa.
Best Grape Tomato for Salsa
If you’d rather try your luck with a cherry or grape tomato than a plum or heirloom variety, you’ll have a hard time finding a better option than Juliet tomatoes. Like most grape tomato plants, Juliet tomatoes typically weigh around one to two ounces and are the size of a large grape. The advantage of using grape tomatoes like Juliet is that they reach maturity in sixty to seventy days versus seventy-five to ninety for plum varieties.
Where Juliet grape tomatoes differ from other grape varieties is in their shape and size. At maturity, they look more like small Romas than a typical grape tomato. Juliet is an award-winning, highly durable, and stout tomato, making it reasonably easy to grow at home and in northern climates.
As far as grape tomatoes go, Juliet’s size and productivity make it one of the overall best tomatoes for salsa. They also have the versatility of being great for sauces, pastes, and eating raw. Additionally, Juliet tomatoes have the necessary quality of meatiness over juiciness, which is ideal for salsa production.
Best Orange or Yellow Tomatoes for Salsa
Banana Leg Tomato
If you’re looking for a solid yellow tomato to spice up your salsa, you should try the banana leg tomato. Banana leg tomatoes are yellow or orange and have a unique shape, similar to a Roma tomato, but skinnier and longer. Banana leg tomatoes look more like longer and beefier banana peppers than they do tomatoes.
Despite its unique shape and color, banana leg tomatoes are sweet and meaty, making them one of the best tomatoes for salsa. While you may not want to rely solely on banana leg tomatoes for your salsa because they tend to be slightly juicy, they would make an excellent addition to spice things up. Like most yellow and orange varieties, the Banana Leg is less acidic than red tomato plants.
Finally, Banana Leg tomatoes produce a hearty harvest despite being a determinate variety. They also mature much faster than other tomatoes, taking only fifty to sixty-five days. While they’re one of the best tomatoes for salsa, they’re also great in salads or for eating raw.
Most Unique Tomato for Salsa
Purple Russian Tomato
If you really want to spice things up and make a funky-looking salsa, you should try the rare Purple Russian tomato. The Purple Russian gets its name from the deep red, almost purple color of the tomato’s skin. Purple Russian tomatoes aren’t always purple when they reach maturity despite their name. At the very least, however, they’ll usually have purple splotches or marks on their skin.
As an indeterminate heirloom variety, the Purple Russian is a strong, hearty producer of bountiful crops. It’s also fairly resistant to disease and frost that hinder many other tomato plants and is especially strong in colder climates. One of the most unique features of the Purple Russian is that, although the outer skin of the tomato varies in color, the flesh inside is almost always a deep red.
How to Choose the Best Tomatoes for Salsa
Technically, you can use almost any tomato when making salsa, but some are certainly better than others.
The best tomatoes for salsa should always be more meaty than juicy. Tomatoes that are too juicy have higher water content and will make watery salsa. You can still dip your chips in them, but it won’t be as good as salsa from meaty tomatoes. For this reason, any type of paste, Roma, or beefsteak tomato is ideal for salsa.
Low acidity isn’t mandatory for the best salsa tomatoes, but it’s a nice bonus. Tomatoes that are high in acid often aren’t as sweet and fruity, which will be revealed in the taste of your salsa.
The more seeds you have in your tomatoes, the more inconvenient it will be to pick them out or eat around them. As a general rule, seedy salsa is bad salsa, so choose tomato varieties with fewer seeds in them.
If you’re growing tomatoes from seed to maturity, the size of your tomato plant will be a very important factor. If you’re limited on space, you’ll need to choose smaller varieties where the plants won’t grow as round or tall. If you fall into this boat, you may want to opt for grape or cherry varieties that you can grow in containers.
Tomatoes to Stay Away From for Salsa
There are many different tomato varieties you can use to make top-notch salsa. However, for best results, you should stay away from tomatoes that are overly juicy, acidic, or seedy. Large heirloom varieties, with the exception of Amish Paste and beefsteak tomatoes, are better suited for sandwiches and eating raw than they are for salsa.
Wrapping Up The Best Tomatoes for Salsa
While there are more tomato options for salsa than what’s listed in this article, the ones listed here are the best tomatoes for salsa. By choosing one or a variety of them, you’re guaranteed to have chunky, juicy salsa that will be the envy of any party.
Looking for more information on different kinds of tomatoes, growing guides, and even recipes? Check out our tomato section for everything you need to know!