The little tomato is truly a wonder of nature with so many different varieties, with a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes. There are baby tomatoes and big tomatoes, determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. If you, like me, are a huge lover of tomatoes, you’ll want to know which tomatoes are the best determinate tomatoes.
But do you know what determinate tomatoes are? Does it matter if it is a determinate or an indeterminate tomato? Right now, you may even be wondering what these terms mean, and what the difference is between these two types of tomatoes.
Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes
The biggest difference is that determinate tomatoes ripen their fruit in a short time and then they will not produce anymore fruit after being picked.
Determinate tomatoes are cultivated in such a way that the size of the bush is restricted and will only grow to a certain height. Most varieties of determinate tomatoes grow to a height of about 3-4 feet tall.
The fruit production period of determinate tomatoes is relatively short. The determinate tomato plant will get all its flowers at the same time. These flowers eventually become the fruit, and they all tend to ripen simultaneously. They need to be harvested within a brief period.
You will usually have about 2-3 weeks of harvesting time before the tomatoes are finished, and the plant will not grow any more fruit once they have all been picked.
Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, can grow to an indefinite length and height. They are usually more of a ‘vine’ type of plant, rather than a bush. They can be as long as 20 feet and can grow to a height of 10-12 feet.
Indeterminate tomato plants will yield a constant supply of tomatoes until the end of the season. After picking the first fruit, the plant will continue to flower and produce more fruit, usually until the first frost starts to fall.
Now that you know the difference between the two, let us take a look at the different varieties of determinate tomatoes, and consider which are the best determinate tomatoes.
Best Determinate Tomatoes
There are many different varieties of determinate tomatoes, in fact, far too many to go into detail here. So I have selected some of the best determinate tomatoes to share with you.
Determinate tomatoes are so wonderful, because they are easy to grow, even in cooler conditions, their bushes don’t need pruning, and they are easy to support with just a stick or a pole.
Their fruit ripens quickly, and as little as two months after planting, you will be picking those delicious ripe tomatoes and adding them to your salads and other dishes.
A great benefit of growing determinate tomatoes is that they are not too fussy about their growing conditions. Determinate tomatoes will do well in different climates, from cooler areas to very hot climates.
Determinate tomatoes will even thrive in areas with very high humidity. This is especially useful because indeterminate tomatoes might succumb to certain diseases later in the summer, as the humidity climbs.
Because determinate tomatoes all ripen within a short period, it is a good idea to use these if you want to make preserves.
Some of the varieties that ripen early in the season are the Legend, Bush Early Girl, and Glacier.
These are big tomatoes with a bright red hue. They are exceptionally sweet and juicy, with a slightly tart tang to them. They do not have many seeds and usually ripen early in the season. Because of their large size and firm form, they are highly suited to slicing thinly for sandwiches.
Bush Early Girl Tomatoes
As their name suggests, these tomatoes grow on a true bush and ripen very early in the season. They are extra-large, bright red, and super-tasty. Because they are so sweet, they are great for adding to sauces and making tomato soup.
Glacier tomatoes are one of the best determinate tomatoes, because, unlike most other varieties, they will ripen throughout the season. The fruit is a reddish-orange color and has quite an acidic flavor. They are good for cooking and will add fabulous flavor to stews. I also love them in salads.
Many determinate tomatoes mature and ripen midseason, and need a little longer from planting to harvesting, usually 70-80 days. The fruit of these tomato plants is usually medium to large in size. They are best in warmer climates. The best varieties are Celebrity, Patio, and Defiant.
These tomatoes are very big and plump. They have a full flavor and are fantastic in both cooking and salads.
As you may have guessed, these tomatoes do particularly well in containers or pots on a patio, because they don’t need a lot of space. The fruit is small and full of flavor. They are wonderful in salads and are also great for eating individually for a low-calorie, healthy and tasty snack.
You may be wondering about the name of this variety of tomato. Why is it called ‘Defiant’? Well, that’s because it is particularly rugged and hardy, and manages to resist, or defy, most diseases that normally attack tomato bushes. It is a plump, round, bright red tomato that is excellent for slicing.
Many tomatoes are used specifically for sauces or for canning whole. These varieties are known as ‘Paste Tomatoes’, and there are a few different types, such as Sunrise Sauce, Plum Regal, and Tiren.
Sunrise Sauce Tomatoes
These tomatoes are a bright orange color and oval shape, like a Roma tomato. They are sweet and tangy, and perfect for cooking. They are ideal for salsa and sauces.
Plum Regal Tomatoes
These plum tomatoes have a deep red, almost purplish color, and are bright red inside. They have a particularly strong flavor, and should therefore be used in moderation when making sauces or soups.
These tomatoes were originally cultivated in Italy, so they are perfect for those Italian sauces like Napoletana Sauce, because of their strong flavor. They are also good for salsa and are very fleshy inside.
Determinate Tomato Uses
Any of the best determinate tomatoes can be used for most dishes that require tomatoes, but, because most varieties ripen all at the same time, they are generally recommended for canning and preserves, and for things like soups and sauces that require a large number of tomatoes.