Grow the Best Stuffing Tomato Varieties

Brook Elliott shares the best of the stuffing tomato varieties that make for good cropping and delicious, easy meals.

| February/March 2002

  • Stuffing tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors and shapes.
    Stuffing tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors and shapes.
  • Yellow Ruffles stuffing tomatoes.
    Yellow Ruffles stuffing tomatoes.
  • Zapotec Pink Pleated stuffing tomatoes.
    Zapotec Pink Pleated stuffing tomatoes.

  • Stuffing tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors and shapes.
  • Yellow Ruffles stuffing tomatoes.
  • Zapotec Pink Pleated stuffing tomatoes.

Learn how to grow the best stuffing tomato varieties.

When I was growing up, mom would make stuffed tomatoes. Basically, she scraped out the seeds, core and flesh, and used the remaining tomato as a shell to hold tuna or other cold salads.

I hated them. The juice from the tomato and its thin walls would turn everything into a mushy mess.

Things would have been different if Mom had known about stuffing tomato varieties developed specifically for that purpose. Resembling bell peppers, stuffing tomatoes are thick-walled, hollow and relatively juice-free. "When you slice one open, the seed gel is in the middle and the rest is hollow," says Marianne Jones, who stocks seed for nine different stuffers at Marianna's Heirloom Seeds, in Dickson, Tennessee. "Sales are not big," she says, "but that's only because people don't know about them and how much fun they are."

Stuffing tomatoes are more popular with chefs — when they can get them — than with the gardening public. Chefs like them because they make beautiful, decorative presentations for both cold and hot dishes.

Even without widespread popularity, stuffing tomatoes come in incredible ranges of size, shape and color. On one end of the continuum are varieties like "Coursen Roy's," a large, reddish-orange tomato with a fairly standard round shape, albeit slightly taller than it is wide. On the other end is "Zapotec Pink Pleated," a heavily ribbed, double-bowled tomato that's a true pink color. "Zapotec Pink" looks as if two smaller, fig-shaped tomatoes were stuck together. "Schimmeig Striped Hollow" looks like a striated 'Delicious' apple — red with yellow and orange markings.

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