Plum Tomatoes

Plum tomatoes are small to medium in size and shaped more like an egg. They are fleshy with less water content and fewer seeds than most other tomato varieties. This makes them the best choice for thick homemade sauces and pastes.


The term “plum” encompasses several different tomato types. You may be more familiar with the term “Roma,” which is one variety. Paste, sauce, or saladette tomatoes include such popular names as San Marzano, which is mainly grown in Italy, but may be available at specialty shops. Others include “Quimbaya,” “La Rossa,”  and “Black Plum Paste.”

If you cannot find plum tomatoes in season, look for canned varieties. While the flavor is not as fresh, it may be a better option than the fruits that are produced out of season.

Color will be either yellow or deep red.

Buying Tips

  • Crops peak August-October, but the fruit is generally available year-round.
  • When making sauce, use only ripened tomatoes for best flavors.
  • Avoid pre-packed, sealed containers as you will not be able to detect soft spots.
  • Locally-grown varieties usually have better flavor and texture.

Storage Tips

Keep plum tomatoes out of sunlight and out of the refrigerator. Too much light will make them ripen too quickly while cold temperatures will cause them to lose flavor. If you must refrigerate to prevent mushiness, place them in one of the door compartments. This will prolong usability for a few days.

This tomato is the recommended choice for canning. It is also easy to grow either in gardens or in containers.

Usage Tips

  • Skins are easily removed with blanching. Drain and cool before peeling. It can be frozen in this state.
  • Other uses include stews and soups, although they can be sliced and eaten fresh.
  • As with most other varieties, these can also be broiled, grilled, sautéed, and stewed.
  • Always prepare tomato-based recipes in nonreactive cookware.
  • One small plum tomato equals about one-third cup chopped.

Substitution Tips

Any type of tomato can be used instead, but the results will be watery.

Try one of our favorite plum tomato recipes:
Pasta alla Pomodoro
Tomato Pizza Sauce
Potato and Tomato Gratin