Large tomato varieties are the best type for slicing and adding to sandwiches. Do you like slices of big tomatoes with a meaty texture on your burgers? If so, you’ll love growing beefsteak-style tomatoes in your garden.
Once you start producing the best large tomatoes at home, you can pluck a hardy fruit right off the vine anytime.
There are dozens of large tomato varieties to choose from, so it is essential to explore your options. With a bit of research, you can find the perfect large tomato variety for your garden.
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Big Beef Tomato
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What’s the Best Large Tomato Variety?
When searching for the perfect large tomato variety, you should consider some key factors.
First, and arguably the most important, is taste. There’s no sense in growing produce that you don’t enjoy eating. Sometimes you may not know how heirloom tomatoes taste until you grow them. Many of the fruits and vegetables available at supermarkets are hybrid plants grown on commercial farms.
There are some grocery store tomatoes that you can grow at home. Still, the best way to discover the many flavors of large tomatoes is by attending your local farmers’ market.
At a farmers’ market, you can enjoy locally grown heirloom varieties. Almost any crop you purchase from a farmers’ market will be labeled with the exact type. If you find one you like but are unsure about its variety, you can directly ask the person who grew it.
Have you already tried every tomato at your local farmers’ market and have a good sense of what you’re looking for? In that case, you should evaluate your growing conditions and gardening experience.
Some tomato varieties are better suited to large open garden spaces, while others thrive in containers and baskets. It’s important to note the growth habit of tomato varieties and understand the difference between indeterminate and determinate tomatoes.
Indeterminate tomatoes never stop growing, so they might need extra space and care. Determinant tomatoes are compact, bushy plants that can be grown anywhere. Some dwarf-determinate tomato plants never grow taller than a foot. This makes them ideal for growing on patios, balconies, and even window sills.
If you live in an arid climate, then you should look into tomato varieties that are heat and drought-tolerant. Do you experience excessive rainfall during late summer? If so, keep your eye out for large tomato varieties that are resistant to cracking.
There are also countless tomato plants bred for excellent disease resistance. These types of tomatoes are ideal for new gardeners as they eliminate one of the biggest challenges to growing healthy plants.
Tomatoes come in many colors, and these hues are more than just for show. The different color compounds directly impact the tomato’s flavor once fully ripened. When a tomato is exposed to sunlight during its growth, the fruit’s green pigment is converted into sugar. This gives tomatoes their characteristic sweet taste and rosy tint.
Other color compounds in a tomato can contribute to various flavor profiles. Black tomatoes tend to have a complex acidic flavor due to anthocyanin, an antioxidant responsible for their deep purple hue. Lighter-colored tomatoes like yellow and orange varieties have a bright, crisp taste that many find very mild.
If you are ready to find the perfect tomato for your garden, leave the seed catalogs behind and look no further. We rounded up the best large tomato varieties loved by gardeners across the nation.
1. Big Beef Tomato
If you want a big meaty tomato, then you will love the Big Beef. This is one of the best large tomato varieties for new gardeners due to its exceptional disease resistance. Big Beef tomatoes are resistant to Verticillium Wilt, Fusarium Wilt, Root-Knot Nematode, Alternaria Stem Canker, Gray Leaf Spot, and Tobacco Mosaic Virus.
The Big Beef is hardy and produces abundant yields of classic beefsteak-style tomatoes. The plump fruits are mildly sweet with a meaty texture and traditional tomato flavor.
2. Hossinator Tomato (STM2255)
The Hossinator tomato is an award-winning large tomato variety available only through Hoss Tools. This is one of the many experimental hybrid tomato plants popular among gardeners. The Hossinator delivers heirloom tomato flavor despite being a hybrid. This large beefsteak-style tomato grows nearly anywhere, and the compact, determinate plants boast excellent disease resistance.
3. Pineapple Tomato
No large tomato variety list would be complete without the Pineapple tomato. This light-colored tomato has a crisp, sweet, and sour flavor reminiscent of citrus fruit. The large tomatoes are a beautiful golden color with streaks of red throughout the flesh. Pineapple tomato plants are heavy producers, and you can expect to harvest huge yields of one- to two-pound fruits.
4. Mortgage Lifter Tomato
The Mortgage Lifter tomato is an iconic large tomato variety with roots in the Great Depression. M.C. Byles, a West Virginia native, carefully bred this large tomato variety to produce enormous fruits with exceptional flavor. The plant was so popular that he paid off his home by selling the fruits for one dollar each, hence the peculiar name.
The Mortgage Lifter is a hardy indeterminate variety that produces up to 20 pounds of fruit per plant. The first harvest will be ready around 80 days after planting, and it will continue to produce until the first frost. The two-pound tomatoes are pink to red in color and have a mild, sweet flavor.
5. Beefsteak Tomato
When considering a large tomato variety, the Beefsteak is likely the first to come to mind. Beefsteak tomatoes are a classic choice when you need big, meaty tomato slices on your favorite sandwiches.
The best large tomato varieties are bred by crossing the original Beefsteak with other types of tomatoes. Years of selective cultivation have led to hundreds of Beefsteak sub-varieties. In fact, most of the best large tomato varieties on our list have the Beefsteak to thank for their massive fruit and distinct texture.
6. Cherokee Purple Tomato
Tomatoes have been a staple crop among many Native American nations throughout history. The Cherokee Purple tomato is an indigenous plant that thrives throughout North America. According to scholars, this heirloom large tomato variety was passed down through many generations of Cherokee families.
The Cherokee Purple tomato has a unique appearance, as the crown stays a muted green. At the same time, the giant orb matures to a deep red with purple accents. The flavor is full-bodied, sweet, and tangy, and the meaty fruit is perfect for slicing or cooking down.
7. Oxheart Tomato
The Oxheart is a gorgeous tomato that is sure to turn heads in your garden. This tomato’s name is pretty straightforward—the unique shape looks similar to a heart. You may also see it sold as a Cuore Di Bue, which is Italian for ox heart.
This unique large tomato variety grows in distinctive tapered orbs that are bright red when ripe. The Oxheart tomato cooks down wonderfully due to its full flavor. Consider stuffing and roasting them to bring out their natural beauty and taste.
8. Brandywine Pink Tomato
Do you want a large tomato variety that is delicately sweet while still being meaty? Brandywine Pink tomatoes have a wonderfully sweet and tangy taste and toothy texture. Enjoy these delightful pink tomatoes freshly sliced, or try them in your favorite pasta sauce.
9. Black Krim Tomato
The Black Krim is a stunning large tomato variety that is the go-to when you want big dark tomatoes. This large tomato variety gets its deep purplish hue from the natural anthocyanin compound, which also lends it its robust flavor. The Black Krim has a smokey taste and meaty texture, making it a superb choice for sous vide meat alternatives.
10. Purple Boy Tomato
Do you like the tang of black tomatoes but crave more of that classic tomato taste? In that case, the Purple Boy is an excellent compromise. This hybrid large tomato variety is based on the heirloom Cherokee Purple tomato. The results are reliable plants with excellent disease resistance that produce a large harvest of uniform maroon fruits.
11. Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa Tomato
Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa tomato is a great large tomato variety if you love the classic tomato taste. The mature fruits are blush pink and make a delicious addition to salads and sandwiches. Their creamy texture makes them an ideal choice for canning and making sauces.
The Henderson Pink Ponderosa tomato plant is an heirloom variety susceptible to some common diseases. Be sure to properly prune your tomato plants to keep them healthy.
Supporting a Large Tomato Variety
When growing a large tomato variety, it is essential to provide it with the proper support. The fruit on beefsteak-style tomato plants can weigh in at well over a pound come harvest. Experienced gardeners who know how to grow big tomatoes always ensure the plants have sturdy support structures.
There are countless options when it comes to supporting tomato plants. Many gardeners rely on tomato cages when building a structure for large tomato varieties. The wire walls of a sturdy tomato cage provide excellent support for massive fruits that can weigh over two pounds.
There are some drawbacks to using a tomato cage, especially when it comes to harvesting and pruning. Tomato cages can limit your access to the stem of the plant. This can make it challenging to clip dead leaves and prune unwieldy vines.
Tomato trellises are ideal for supporting a large tomato variety that needs extra care throughout the season. A tomato trellis can be structured so that you can easily access the stem and leaves.
You can get creative when building your own tomato trellis. Vining tomatoes will cling to any surface they can wrap around. This means you can use unconventional objects to provide structure for your large tomato variety.
Savvy gardeners have devised very clever solutions for supporting tomato plants. If you have a spare livestock corral panel lying around, then you can stake it near your tomato plot, and the plants will climb and flourish.
You can also use decorative elements as DIY tomato support structures. Anything that is sturdy and has plenty of space for the coiling vines to cling to will work. You might consider a decorative trellis arch or beautiful sculpture to support your large tomato variety.
Growing Large Tomato Varieties in Your Garden
Now that you know all about large tomato varieties, we hope you’re ready to find your new favorite tomato plant. Leave us a comment to let us know what you think is the number one large tomato variety. If you want to learn more about planting, pruning, and harvesting award-winning tomato plants, we have plenty of resources to help you along.
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