Acidic tasting tomato varieties - recommendations?


I don’t know what exactly they’re called - sour, tangy, etc.? Where I’m from, they consider sweet tomatoes to be inorganic. :joy: Tangy, sour, or acidic ones are considered superior.

Put another way, I haven’t tasted a sweet tomato that I liked.

The Pink Brandywine has a nice balance of sweet and acidic taste. They’re keepers but unproductive and seemed to have a weird leaf curling deformation issue once they reached 2 feet.

Anyway, I’m looking for some acidic tasting varieties. More than Brandywine, or even similar. Any recommendations?


Rutgers, the standard in acidic “canning” tomatoes for several generations. Produced in program at Rutgers University…evidently pre-WWI.
It was the world’s #1 tomato for years!


Nice! I’ll give it a shot. Dumb question maybe - does it have to be for canning? Or can I eat it with a sprinkle of salt? Not sure why there is a distinction made for “canning”.


I grow “Lush Queen” from Wild Boar Farms and it has the most lemon tang of any tomato I grow. It’s a beautiful pink tomato with yellow stripes to boot!


You can’t can low-acid tomatoes…they will spoil.

(Unless you add acid, such as from lemon juice or something).

And yes, ‘canning’ tomatoes can be a good eat with a sprinkle of salt (or even a sprinkle of sugar if that’s your thing).


There are very very few low acid tomatoes. Jetstar hybrid is the only one I know of that actually can’t be canned without added acid.

Dig around on the net and you can find a study done about 30 years ago that showed almost all tomatoes have very similar acidity. That said, most people who want an “acid” tomato actually want a tomato with intense tomato flavor. These are the tomatoes you take a bite out of and the juice drips down your chin while slightly burning your lips. The flavor is intense enough to make you sit down and just enjoy eating the tomato.

If you want intense flavor tomatoes, you just about have to go to open pollinated varieties. There are a few exceptions. Big Beef hybrid actually develops decent flavor. Ramapo - the successor to Rutgers - is another that tastes like a tomato. I grow and sell thousands of these two hybrids because they are reliable, productive, and taste good.

Here are a few open pollinated varieties ranked from most intense flavor to least:

Costoluto Genovese - Flavor so intense I almost can’t eat it, this is the ultimate drying/sauce tomato
Druzba - This is a superb eating tomato with relatively low sugar and relatively high flavor
Box Car Willie - This is another great tasting tomato with a bit more sugar and slightly toned down flavor
Rutgers - If you can get the old open pollinated indeterminate Rutgers, it is in a class by itself
Crnkovic Yugoslavian - This is a balanced flavor pink tomato with more sweetness and excellent flavor It is my go-to standard for good tomatoes
Brandywine Sudduth - This pink boat shaped tomato is superb in all respects save that it has a large core and it tends to be unproductive
Jaune Flammee - This orange beta carotene tomato is tart/sweet with outstanding flavor
Green Zebra - This is the standard tart/sweet tomato that I recommend for anyone who loves licking raw slices of lemon
Hibor - This small orange pear shaped tomato is intensely sweet with some tomato flavor
Sun Gold - This small orange hybrid tomato is intensely sweet with tropical fruit flavor undertones


Before making this thread, I had encountered a similar thread on an old forum where a member was seeking sour tomatoes, and some of them explained that all tomatoes have similar acidity, like you mentioned. That is why I was careful to title this “acidic tasting” instead of “acidic tomatoes”.

It seems like we’re after similar flavors in terms of vegetables/fruit, Darrel. :joy:
This is really well explained and broken down. Thanks for the write up.

Hopefully I’ll be able to find these seeds/varieties easily. Any suggestion on where to find the old Rutgers you mention? I’m assuming you’re saying there are Rutgers seeds being passed around that are no longer the original heirloom.


There is a determinate tomato that is often sold as Rutgers. The original Rutgers is indeterminate.

My comment re acid tomatoes was more directed toward blueberrry as there is a common misconception that tomatoes vary widely in acidity. The reality is that you have to really work hard to breed a low acid tomato. The breeders of Jetstar put in a lot of time and effort developing inbred lines that carry the low acid trait.

Sandhill Preservation has several of the varieties above.


Perhaps you need to educate some of the universities then, as their extension specialists mention being careful not to cold pack process low acid tomatoes without adding vinegar or lemon juice…etc.

I know Rutgers is fine, been there, done that, far too many times. But, I would not attempt a cold pack water bath for most yellow tomatoes, for instance. (They will spoil, unless adulterated).


Whether a tomato is yellow, red, pink, or some other color actually does not influence how acidic the fruit gets. This is because the caroteinoid (makes tomatoes have color) biopath is separate from the biopath that determines acidity. With that said, Manyel (yellow tomato) probably is not acidic enough to can safely without adding some lemon juice. I also would not can White Oxheart sans acidifier as it is distinctly not tart. Jetstar and Ace are two hybrids that a quick search turned up with high enough ph to make a difference. I would not can them without adding acid.

USDA standards specify that ph 4.6 is too high for safe canning. PH 4.0 is generally safe to can so long as canning time is appropriate. Rutgers runs ph 4.01 which means it is just about perfect for canning and eating.

University recommendations are pretty much all the same. They say to add an acidifier regardless of which tomato variety is being canned. I can understand why given that a small mistake can have deadly consequences.

With that said, I’m in the abundance of caution camp which says it is best to add a tablespoon of lemon juice to most canned tomato products. This is regardless of variety. I also pay careful attention to recommended canning times.

Note that the title of this thread is “acidic tasting tomato varieties” which is not exactly the same thing as asking how to can tomatoes safely.




I’m not a specialist tomato grower but I have tried a few and ever since I stumbled upon “pineapple” tomato I have become addicted. It is the best, juiciest and strong tomato flavored tomato that I have ever tasted. It also has quite a bit of acidity! they are best eaten as they are or just with some salt and pepper, no need to add any lemon or vinegar. It is a really large tomato that packs more and better flavor than cherry tomatoes. It is yellow/orange at first but when really ripe it turns red but the inside is always yellow/orange striped with some red. If you cut it across it looks like pineapple, hence the name.


The wonder is that we can all have a different favorite tomato and we are all right!


I’ve never really liked cherry tomatoes.


I grow quite a few cherry tomatoes to have fresh seed. My only complaint is that I hate picking them. I can pick 3 or 4 large tomatoes in a few seconds and have as many pounds of fruit as picking cherry tomatoes for 2 or 3 minutes.

There are a few cherry tomatoes that are worth growing. Camp Joy is a pretty good red cherry. Dr. Carolyn Pink is an outstandingly good pink tomato. Black Cherry is in a class of its own. Galina’s Yellow Cherry is one of the best cherry tomatoes around. If you love rich old fashioned tomato flavor, Anait red cherry would be a top suggestion.

I have a selection made from LA0417 (out of TGRC) that is an exceptionally good cherry. It will be one of my offered varieties next year. I’ve been growing it because it has exceptional disease resistance but it is also a top flavor tomato.


So I grew Mountain Vineyard this year as it was said to be very disease resistant. I have had many problems with Tomato Disease issues. I live in Upstate NY(Lake George area). It tasted great and is a saladette type really, but smallish for them. Very thick walls like a canning tomato. But they fell apart as soon as the weather cooled.


Meant to add, they did get what I think is Septoria leaf spot. This is the image


Septoria is endemic to most humid climates. There is very little resistance in the tomato genome. My selection out of LA0417 is the best I’ve grown yet. It lasts 3 or 4 weeks longer than most other varieties, but still goes down in the end. Iron Lady was selected as a highly septoria resistant hybrid. IME, it is not much of an improvement. I’ve sent seed samples to a few breeders to see if they can do something with the resistance in LA0417.


I grew Galahad this year, which is made crossing Iron Lady and Defiant. I grew Iron Lady the last few years but last year was a total loss. I didnt like the taste of Defiant when I grew it two years ago. As for Galahad, the tomatoes are enormous and the plants held up until the cold snap in the 40’s around Sept. 1st. They are still ripening on the vine and Ive canned 27 quarts of Tomato Sauce and about a dozen more coming this week. I always try to keep up with the latest developments in Tomato breeding and grow them when the seeds are available. I also grew Cedro canning tomato this year but the plants werent very vigorous as others are.