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Salsa is delicious, when you use the right tomatoes, that is!
Tomatoes are not created the same; just as our taste buds aren’t.
Some love mild and acidic salsa, others enjoy sweet and spicy; then you have juicy salsa with plenty of liquid, and thicker salsa for tacos or salads.
There are hundreds of different ways to make a delicious tomato salsa, and we’re about to guide you through the best tomatoes for salsa, all of which have different flavor profiles to match YOUR type of salsa!
Do you like your salsa rich, thick, and chunky? Then you need to opt for a tomato with a little less juice. For the most part, this will include plum or paste type tomatoes. This is a common style for homemade salsa.
Roma Tomato: Here it is: the traditional salsa tomato. If you want to craft a salsa that is as traditional as it gets, go for Roma tomatoes! These are the most common tomatoes used in households who make traditional family salsa recipes. They are a meaty plum tomato, producing little liquid. Romas hold their shape incredibly well, perfect for chunky salsa.
Thessaloniki Tomato: This is a rich, meaty tomato that really holds up to salsa. It is great for chunky salsa because it won’t mush as easily as other tomatoes will. Without a sweet flavor, it will provide a much more savory salsa.
San Marzano Tomato: These tomatoes are comparable to Romas, but they possess a deeper, richer tomato flavor with even less juice; you could mix both Romas and San Marzanos, or you could even pair them with beefsteaks from your garden to get a salsa that is both rich and slightly juicy (without being runny.)
Juicy and Runny Salsa
If you enjoy a salsa that isn’t quite as thick (for dipping or spreading!), you might enjoy a salsa made with a juicier tomato. This will give you the classic take on restaurant-style salsa, where bowls of this tomato-y goodness is served with fresh tortilla chips.
Cherokee Purple Tomato: With it’s gorgeous purple hues and smokey flavor, the Cherokee purple is going to give you an incredible salsa. Since it is a large beefsteak/heirloom type, the salsa will be juicier and thinner; flesh won’t hold up as well in a chunky salsa, but that’s okay if you’re not looking for a tomato crunch.
Beefsteak Tomato: If you have a variety of beefsteaks to choose from, they will give you a delicious salsa with a more uniform texture! It will not yield a chunky salsa (as previously stated with Cherokee Purple), but it will be appealing for the chip dip crowd. Beefsteak varieties can range from more acidic to sweeter (yellow varieties, for example), so be on the lookout when choosing.
Sweet Salsa (For Those Who Enjoy Salsa That Packs a Bit of Heat)
Sweet and spicy is the dynamic duo in the culinary world; salty and sweet just can’t compete.
A delicious sweet salsa almost requires the kick of a hot pepper, such as the common jalapeno (which most of us also grow in our gardens.)
Let’s get back to the point though: sweet tomatoes! All in all, any tomato you grow in your garden seems to be sweeter than those sold in grocery stores; however, you will find several types of varieties that produce much sweeter tomatoes than others. Give some of these winners a go:
Sunsugar Tomato: These tomatoes are prized for their sweet flesh, providing you with the perfect sun-kissed sugar bomb to pair with your spicy peppers. This plant is highly productive, meaning it’ll keep pumping out tomatoes for fresh salsa all season. Did I mention that it’s incredibly easy to grow?
Sungold Tomato: These tiny tomatoes are deliciously rich and sweet! They have an almost cult-like following among tomato gardeners- you simply cannot go wrong with them. The deep yellow/orange flesh will add a pop of color to your salsa, while the plants themselves flood you with enough tomatoes to make enough salsa for half of your county. Since they are cherry tomatoes, it’s incredibly easy to cut these little tomatoes into eighths for a chunky salsa.
Mortgage Lifter Tomato: This is a very large tomato; thus, you only need to process a few at a time for salsa. It is a sweet variety that is pink rather than red; it’ll give you a juicy salsa, so you may have to drain some liquid off. This old fashioned favorite will give your salsa an old-world tomato flavor.
Oddly Colored Salsa
Want to craft some wild salsa with tons of color? Well, there’s a tomato for that! You would not believe the beautiful rainbow of colors that tomatoes come in: