Roma tomatoes have an elongated egg-like shape, and they grow to about three inches long. Their bright red, smooth and thick skin houses meaty flesh with few seeds, high sugar and acid levels, and low moisture content compared to other tomato varieties, ideal for cooking down into a tomato sauce or paste. The disease-resistant plants grow to an average of four to six feet, and because this is a determinate plant, the fruits will grow to a set height and ripen about the same time, producing one large crop typically toward the end of the season.
Roma tomatoes are very high in vitamin A and C, and like other red tomato varieties they?re an inherently rich source of lycopene. Lycopene is a naturally occurring pigment that gives tomatoes their red coloring and doubles as a powerful antioxidant known for its anti-cancer benefits, such as preventing, fighting and repairing cell damage within human bodies, and for its ability to lower cholesterol. Roma tomatoes are also a decent source of iron and fiber, as well as potassium and the B vitamins, which are good for heart health.
Unlike a slicing tomato, Roma tomatoes are not juicy, and they have thicker and drier flesh that cooks down easily into a thick sauce. Cooking also intensifies their slightly sweet tomato flavor. Hence, Roma tomatoes are the trademark tomato for making sauces, pastes, and soups, although they do well in both cooked and raw preparations. They can be slow roasted, dried, stuffed and baked, and their meaty flesh also makes them great for fresh chopped salads and salsas, or adding into an omelet. They pair well with garlic, chilies, beans, shrimp, basil, oregano, cilantro and both fresh and aged cheeses. Store Roma tomatoes at room temperature away from direct sunlight, and use ripe, firm tomatoes immediately, or refrigerate them to slow the process of decay. Roma tomatoes also freeze well for later use.