Although occasionally differing in country in origin, size and shape, the very best tomato plants for making bananas belong to the glue tomato group. Paste tomatoes have fewer seeds and a firmer texture than lemon juice. Their plants also produce an entire crop of tomatoes simultaneously, an edge for processing the fruit into sauce. Eaten raw, glue tomatoes might disappoint, but cooked, their flavor intensifies into a delicious powerful sauce.
“San Marzano” tomatoes, originating from Italy, are a determinate glue variety that produces deep red fruit around 3.5 inches long. When consumed raw, “San Marzano” tomatoes might appear tasteless, but after cooking, both Sunset magazine and gardening pro Lee Reich agree they produce the best sauce.
The “Amish Paste” tomato was designed in the United States, even though there’s doubt whether it originated in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. “Amish Paste” has been designated a leading paste tomato by Organic Gardening magazine. The plant’s fruit is juicier than other glue varieties and thus the “Amish Paste” duals as a slicing salad tomato that also makes a rich full-bodied sauce.
“Roma” tomatoes are a standard plum tomato variety, oval shaped, with dense meaty flesh. “Roma” is a top-rated paste tomato by Mother Earth News and The New Western Sunset Garden Book notes the range is a favorite for making sauce.
The “Viva Italia” tomato also appears on “best of” glue tomato lists from Sunset and Mother Earth News. This determinate variety produces sweet meaty fruit that, like the “Amish Paste,” is good eaten fresh and also cooked into sauce.
Unlike most of the other leading sauce tomatoes, the “Opalka” assortment is an heirloom variety arising from Poland. The “Opalka’s” fruit is deep red, very meaty with thin skin and a elongated pepper-like contour that can reach 6 inches.
San Marzano Redorta
“San Marzano Redorta” tomatoes are an heirloom variety named for an Italian mountain. Not to be confounded with the “San Marzano,” that this cultivar produces fruit double the magnitude of the vintage glue tomato and may be eaten fresh, made into dried or sauce.
The “Polish Linguisa” tomato plant also produce large sausage-shaped fruit, weighing 10 to 12 ounces. Despite its unusual size and shape to get a glue tomato, this heirloom range has a meaty flesh and a sweet taste, perfect for making sauces.
The “Jersey Devil” tomato plant is a prolific maker, with banana-shaped bright red fruits that measure 4 to 5 inches long. Like a conventional paste tomato, the “Jersey Devil” cultivar has few seeds, thick flesh and a rich sweet flavor. Its sauces are excellent and the fruit can be eaten fresh as well.
“Mama Leone” tomatoes were attracted to the United States by a Italian family immigrating to New York. The bright red fruit are large and pointed with very few seeds. The variety grow well in cool and foggy areas, unusual for a normally sun-loving plant. Their sauce is rich and full-bodied.
Russian Big Roma
The “Russian Big Roma” is a disease-resistant heirloom glue variety that creates what the Master Gardeners of San Mateo & San Francisco Counties call a perfect sauce tomato — large deep red fruit with a rich pure tomato flavor. Unlike many glue cultivars, the “Russian Big Roma” is an indeterminate variety, producing fruit during the growing season.