When picking out tomatoes for a recipe or tomato seeds to grow in the garden, it can be hard to know which to choose. There are so many varieties to select. Roma and Cherry Tomatoes are both popular to grow and buy, so what is the difference between the two?
Roma tomatoes are a meaty, virtually seedless, oval shaped tomato. While cherry tomatoes are a sweet small round tomato with a higher water content. While they may be substituted for each other in recipes, it will depend on what you’re making on how successful the substitution will be.
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What are Roma Tomatoes?
Roma tomatoes are also known as plum tomatoes or Italian plum tomatoes. Roma’s are meaty tomatoes often used to make tomato paste or tomato sauce. They have an egg like shape and typically weigh around 2oz per tomato. They have a lower water content compared to other types of tomatoes which is why they have the thicker meatier texture. This lower water content is why they are better for sauces and paste, as there is less water to reduce from the recipe. These also make a beautiful salsa. Roma tomatoes are our favorites!
Recipe ideas for Roma Tomatoes:
- We love making tomato sauce with our Roma, you can see how we do that here.
- We also enjoy making salsa using Rom tomatoes
- This roasted tomato soup recipe is definitely on my to-make list next summer.
What are Cherry Tomatoes?
Cherry tomatoes are small round tomatoes with thin skins. They are part of the “mini” variety, which also includes grape tomatoes. These tomatoes have a high water content and a sweet taste. They often burst when bitten into. Often cherry tomatoes are red but can also be yellow or orange. In our household most of us do not enjoy eating raw tomatoes, so this is not a kind of tomato we prefer. However, they are delicious!
Recipe ideas for Cherry Tomatoes:
- This pasta recipe using roasted cherry tomatoes looks super delicious
- This chicken, tomato flatbread recipe looks amazing, I look forward to trying it!
Can you use Cherry tomatoes instead of Roma tomatoes?
Generally speaking, you can substitute different kinds of tomatoes in a pinch. But it will depend on your recipe how successful the substitution will be. As you read above, Roma tomatoes are more meaty and cherry tomatoes are sweeter and have a higher water content. If substituting cherry tomatoes in a sauce recipe, you may need to reduce the sauce or you will have a thinner (watery) sauce. If substituting a roma tomato in your salad, the tomato won’t be as sweet and it will likely change the flavor profile of that salad.
Tips for Growing Tomatoes
- Sunshine – Tomatoes require sunlight, so make sure you’re planning to plant them where they can get sunlight. You’ll want to check the package of the seed or plant you purchased, but most I’ve seen recommend at least seven hours of direct sunlight
- Fertilized Soil – Adding a compost or fertilizer to your soil will help support growing high yielding tomato plants. Different types of tomatoes will succeed in different levels of PH. You may want to consider buying a soil tester to properly treat the soil (if needed) to get it to the ideal PH.
- Water – Like every other plant, tomatoes require water. Tomatoes require about 1 inch of water per week, depending on the type. Make sure your tomatoes are getting the water needed to thrive.
Are Tomatoes a Fruit or Vegetable?
When researching tomatoes earlier this for our garden – I came across this story and thought it was so interesting!
Botanically – tomatoes are a fruit. But the USDA categorizes them as vegetables because they are consumed more like veggies than fruits.
A fun fact, back in 1893 the Supreme Court was actually tasked with determining if tomatoes were a fruit or vegetable. This became an issue, because back then vegetables had 10% import tax, and fruit had none. Through the court case analysis, they determined they would be taxed as vegetables. So the fruit or vegetable debate has been around quite some time!
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