Tomatoes are an important ingredient for an endless list of recipes. They make their way into salads, sauces, stews, curries, and almost everything you can think of for sweet, tangy, and balanced flavors.
However, they come in different varieties of shapes, sizes, and flavors. These factors make it hard to tell the difference between them. So is the case with plum and Roma tomatoes.
During your visit to the grocery store, you’ve probably seen both plum and Roma tomatoes. Today you will find out what the difference is between the two. As many of us believe, they are clearly not just two names for the same thing.
The quick answer is that Roma tomatoes are a type of plum tomato. But despite having some similarities, some differences set them apart.
Keep reading to find out the difference between plum tomatoes and Roma tomatoes. This guide will help you pick the right tomatoes for cooking.
Plum Vs. Roma Tomatoes | Difference Table
|Basis of Difference||Plum Tomatoes||Roma Tomatoes|
|Where it grows||Europe and America||US, Mexico, and Australia|
|Variety||Many varieties||A variety of plum tomatoes|
|Color||Red||Red and Yellow|
|Shape||Oval to cylindrical shape||Pear or egg-like shape|
|Taste||Sweet and mildly tangy.||The fresh, tangy flavor that’s sweet but at the same time acidic.|
|Nutritional Benefits||Rich in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, folate, potassium||Rich in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, folate, potassium|
What Are Plum Tomatoes?
Plum tomatoes are the most popular type of tomatoes cultivated widely in Europe and America. These tomatoes are bright red in color and have an oval to cylindrical shape. Besides, the size of the fruit varies depending on the variety.
Plum tomatoes are also referred to as processing tomatoes and paste tomatoes due to their specific purposes in use. These tomatoes can be either determinate (bush type) or semi-determinate.
Compared to an ordinary tomato, the flesh-to-juice ratio of plum tomatoes is greater than other tomatoes, meaning the solid part is more fully represented. They are soft and tender on the outside and have fewer seeds. This quality makes them the first choice for making pastes.
Moreover, these tomatoes are easier to handle and are available year-round at grocery stores.
What Are Roma Tomatoes?
One well-known variety of plum tomatoes is the Roma tomato. These tomatoes are widely grown in different parts of the US, Mexico, and Australia. Many canned tomatoes are Romas.
These tomatoes have a pear or egg-like shape and are larger in size as compared to plum tomatoes. They come in red and yellow colors.
Roma tomatoes have a firm texture, which makes them less prone to bruising from the shipping process. All Roma tomatoes are determinate (vine type).
Some Roma tomatoes are also genetically enhanced and come with the letter VF after their name. This variety is resistant to verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt, which are common plant diseases that affect tomatoes.
Roma tomatoes are a popular variety as they are easy to grow.
Plum Vs. Roma Tomatoes | What’s The Difference?
The key difference between plum tomatoes and Roma tomatoes lies in their classification. Plum tomatoes come in many different varieties, whereas Roma is a variety of plum tomatoes.
Plum tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae family, an order of flowering plants. They include over 165 genera and around 4,080 species. Plants under the Solanales are categorized as the Solanaceae (or nightshades) and the Convolvulaceae (or the morning glories).
Roma tomatoes come under the nightshade family, known as Solanaceae.
2. Growth Period
Have you ever wondered why canned Roma tomatoes are so popular? That’s because these tomatoes are easy to grow. Roma tomatoes take about 80 days to ripen fully. The quick availability makes them commercially viable to make pastes and sauces.
On the other hand, plum tomatoes have a longer growth period.
Both tomatoes are widely available around the world. Most canned varieties found in stores and supermarkets are Roma tomatoes.
4. Size And Color
Going by their name, it’s safe to say that plum tomatoes are small to medium-sized. They are typically bright red in color. However, some varieties of plum tomatoes, such as Banana Legs and Sunrise Sauce, come in yellow and orange shades.
Roma tomatoes are commonly available in shades of red and golden yellow.
5. Taste And Texture
Plum tomatoes are tangy and sweet in flavor with mild acidity. They have thick skin with lower water content and seeds. This quality of plum tomatoes makes them an excellent choice for making deep-red sauces without using tomato paste and eating them raw in salads.
Roma tomatoes, on the other hand, are full of flavor. They have a tangy and garden-fresh tomato taste. This variety of plum tomatoes is often sweet and acidic. They have a chewy flesh, which makes them ideal for making delicious sauces, stews, or tomato pastes.
By now, you must have had a vague idea of how to use these two types of tomatoes. But let me break down their uses further.
Both tomatoes are great for making sauces as they have low water content. But plum tomatoes are widely used to prepare sauces as they contain fewer seeds. Moreover, they are sweet in taste with the right amount of tang. This quality helps you to achieve a smoother texture, which doesn’t require much straining.
Therefore, plum tomatoes are excellent for making sauces, purees, and juices. Another USP of plum tomatoes is that they are available throughout the year, which makes them easy to use.
Roma tomatoes are also great for sauces, jams, soups, pickles, and gravies.
Apart from these specific uses, you can add both plum and Roma tomatoes in salads, salsa, sandwiches, etc.
7. Health Benefits
Plum and Roma tomatoes are great for your health. Both types are rich sources of antioxidants packed with vitamins C and K, folate, and potassium.
Including plum and Roma tomatoes in your diet improves skin, digestive, vision, and heart health.
How To Choose The Best Plum Tomatoes?
The next time you visit your favorite grocery store and stand in front of a basket of plum tomatoes, you should look for certain factors for the best culinary results.
Color is a good indicator of the health of tomatoes. Perfectly ripe and ready-to-eat plum tomatoes have a bright red color. A deeper red color indicates that the plum tomato in hand is riper and is going to reach its maturity.
You should avoid buying green or discolored tomatoes with bruised skin.
Furthermore, you must check the quality of the tomatoes by checking their firmness. Ready-to-eat plum tomatoes should be slightly soft but should not cave in easily when pressed.
If the flesh of the tomatoes seems rigid, they might not be ready to eat. In such a case, you should place such tomatoes near a sunny window to allow them to continue to ripen.
Plum Vs. Roma Tomatoes | Which One Is More Versatile?
By looking at the information above, I’m sure you already have an answer for which variety you need for your purpose in specific. However, if you are looking for a tomato variety that you can use blindly for making anything, plum tomatoes are more versatile.
Firstly, plum tomatoes are available around the year, which makes them easy to access. Secondly, they can be used in everything. Most importantly, they are great for making sauces because their taste and fewer seeds result in a smoother sauce texture.
The flavor of plum tomatoes also pairs well with all kinds of herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme, etc. And ingredients like feta cheese, bacon, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and more.
Plum Vs. Roma Tomatoes | Which One Is Healthier?
If you compare the nutritional facts of plum and Roma tomatoes, you will not find much difference in their nutritional value. Both tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, antioxidants, potassium, and folate.
Therefore, you can use either of them without having to think much.
Top Recipes With Plum Tomatoes
1. Air-Fryer Gyro Sandwiches
Make the best use of plum tomatoes by making healthy air-fryer Gyro sandwiches perfect for any time of the day. This item features meatballs with chopped plum tomatoes, onions, and cucumber, placed on a bed of Greek yogurt and wrapped between warm pita bread.
It is a super recipe to make the best use of sweet plum tomatoes that are crunchy yet juicy.
2. Bruschetta Melts
Bruschetta is known for its colorful toppings that feature tomatoes as the key ingredient. Try out this bruschetta melt recipe that uses plum tomatoes with sweet onion, basil, cream cheese, and mozzarella.
These melts will vanish in no time!
3. Spinach-Feta Chicken Penne
Love having pasta over everything else? Try this spinach-feta chicken penne recipe that uses the best flavors of plum tomatoes with a twist. Unlike pasta with heavy tomato sauce, this recipe includes chopped plum tomatoes with pasta, chicken, and seasoning.
4. Enchilada Sauce
Enchilada is a flavorful Mexican dish consisting of a corn tortilla with a filling and covered in a savory sauce. The taste of the sauce is what makes or breaks this dish.
If you are in the mood for making Mexican food tonight, try out this enchilada sauce recipe brimming with flavors. It has a smooth consistency, just what plum tomatoes are known to provide.
5. Italian Garden Frittata
Include plum tomatoes in your breakfast by making this Italian garden frittata recipe. It takes your normal egg breakfast to a whole new level.
This recipe features sliced plum tomatoes with Romano cheese, fresh sage, zucchini, onions, and seasonings.
Top Recipes With Roma Tomatoes
1. Roma Tomato Jam
Jams are fruits preserved in sugar, having a thick consistency. They come in many flavors. One of the jams that I love to use is tomato jam on burgers, sandwiches, and toast. But to make tomato jam, you must have the right tomatoes.
That is why we use Roma tomatoes to have the most wonderful taste. If you want to make tomato jam, I recommend trying this Roma tomatoes recipe full of sweets and tangy and warm flavors.
It is made with Roma tomatoes, sugar, jalapeno, lime, and warming spices like cumin, cloves, and cinnamon.
2. Slow- Roasted Tomatoes
If you love adding roasted tomatoes to sandwiches, pizzas, and salads, you must check out this slow-roasted tomato recipe. This recipe uses fresh Roma tomatoes, olive, salt, and pepper to make the best topping.
These tomatoes are not like sun-dried tomatoes. They are still slightly juicy, sweet, and full of the quintessential tomato flavor in every bite. You can also freeze these tomatoes to use them year-round.
3. Creamy Tomato Basil Chicken
Make the best use of Roma tomatoes by turning them into a delicious sauce for basil chicken. It has a creamy consistency that coats every bite of the chicken. Try out this creamy tomato basil chicken recipe that only requires five ingredients to make, and thanks me later.
4. Basil Tomato Pie
Here’s another unique and flavorful way to use Roma tomatoes.
Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, cheese, and a flaky pie crust come together to make an incredibly delicious appetizer you won’t forget.
The basil tomato pie features wedges of Roma tomatoes layered on a pie, topped with fresh basil and cheese. This pie is then placed in the oven to be baked to perfection.
5. Baked Caprese Chicken
Use freshly produced Roma tomatoes in another spectacular side dish, baked Caprese chicken, to enjoy its flavors.
This dish featured crisp-tender chicken baked with melted mozzarella and topped with slices of Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and a sweet and tangy balsamic reduction. You will fall in love with this recipe for a wide range of flavors and textures.
Can We Substitute Plum For Roma Tomatoes?
Now you know that Roma tomatoes are a type of plum tomato. This means that you can use either of the tomatoes for each other.
Check out our specially curated article on the best substitutes for tomatoes and substitutes for crushed tomatoes in case you’re short or out of them.
Plum Vs. Roma Tomatoes | Which One Is Better?
Although plum tomatoes and Roma tomatoes are different varieties, they share many of the same qualities. Both have similar colors and tastes. Therefore, choosing which tomato is better depends entirely on its purpose.
If you are looking for tomatoes to make pasta or pizza sauce, you should go for plum tomatoes. These will give you a sweet, tangy, bright red colored, and smoother texture sauce.
The sauce made of these tomatoes is also hassle-free because of the lesser number of seeds. This means it’s less labor intensive as it will reduce the time straining the seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between plum tomatoes and Roma Tomatoes?
Plum tomatoes are a whole category of tomato varieties. But Roma is just one of those varieties within the plum category.
How do plum tomatoes taste?
Plum tomatoes are sweet and mildly tangy. They don’t have as much acidity as most other tomatoes do.
How do Roma tomatoes taste?
Roma tomatoes are known for their fresh, tangy, sweet, and acidic flavor.
How do plum tomatoes look?
Plum tomatoes can fall anywhere on a spectrum between oval and cylindrical.
How do Roma tomatoes look?
Roma tomatoes tend to be oval, like an egg, or pear-shaped.
What do Roma tomatoes with the letters VF mean?
VF Roma varieties are bred to resist two diseases common to tomatoes; verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt.
Are plum and Roma tomatoes the same thing? Yes and no! Roma tomatoes are a variety of plum tomatoes. The confusion between plum and Roma tomatoes stems from the fact that Roma tomatoes are popular for being one of the most commercially produced plum tomatoes.