Tomato Varieties for Processing

Although any tomato type can be used, red paste tomatoes are the preferred tomato for canning or processing, according to the University of Illinois Extension. Meatier and containing fewer seeds than other tomato types, most red paste tomato plants ripen within a short period of time, which makes them ideal for processing large quantities. The methods used for processing tomatoes are pressure canning or boiling water bath processing. Although both processes are acceptable for tomatoes, the USDA suggests that pressure canning results in better quality and nutrition.


The Bellstar tomato plant is a determinate red plum tomato that is used for canning, paste and juice. Highly productive, this tomato plant produces large fruit weighing up to 5 oz. The Bellstar is crack-resistant and is ready to harvest in 70 days.

Grandma Mary's Paste

Grandma Mary’s Paste is an heirloom tomato plant that is known for its prolific harvests and pointed shape. Juicy and meaty, this tomato is excellent for making sauces or eating fresh. Grandma Mary’s Paste tomato is an indeterminate variety that is ready for harvest in 70 days.

San Marzano

The San Marzano tomato is a pear-shaped tomato with bright red skin and fruit that can grow up to 3 1/2 inches in length. Its mild meaty flavor is ideal for purees, pastes or canning. It is an indeterminate variety ready for harvest in 80 days.

Viva Italia

This determinate tomato plant continues to set deep red fruit in hot weather. Crack-resistant and meaty, it has a sweet flavor that makes it desirable for fresh-eating or for use in sauces and salsa. The Viva Italia tomato also cans and freezes well. It is ready for harvest in 80 days.


The Halley tomato plant is used for tomato processing by industries in California, according to the Tomato Growers Supply Company. This determinate plant produces fruit weighing up to 4 oz. and containing little juice or seeds. Tomatoes are ready for harvest in 75 days.


The Roma tomato plant is popular for its meaty, mostly seedless tomato used in canning and for making pastes and sauces. Packed with dense foliage, the Roma produces an abundance of plum-shaped fruit that grows up to 3 inches in length, weighing an average of 2 oz. each. Tomatoes from this determinate plant are ready for harvest in 78 days.


The Rocky tomato plant is an indeterminate heirloom variety that bears big tomatoes weighing up to 12 oz. and growing up to 6 inches in length. Its meaty, well-balanced flavor makes it perfect for use in sauces or eating fresh. The Rocky tomato is ready for harvest in 75 days.

Keywords: processing tomatoes, canning tomatoes, paste tomatoes

About this Author

Elaine Bolen graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor of arts degree in graphics. She has a 20-year history of writing fiction and nonfiction, and is an avid reader of the written word. Her work appears on eHow, Pluck on Demand and Garden Guides.