Monday, November 18, 2013

Tomato Patch: Buckets of SuperSauce

Large SuperSauce tomatoes are eye-catching
I was skeptical but intrigued by Burpee’s 2013 description of a new paste tomato called SuperSauce:
“It’s SuperSauce! The new tomato superhero. A whole lot bigger, a whole lot better, a Roma with aroma. Weighing in at 2-lbs., a whopping 5.5” tall x 5” wide, SuperSauce produces gallons of luscious, seedless sauce from a single plant harvest—one tomato fills an entire sauce jar.”

The description continued: “Very few people in the gardening world consider a paste tomato for anything other than to make paste or sauce. SuperSauce is extraordinarily delicious and versatile as a salad tomato, as well as having a distinctive quality in that its large segments of fruit often make a shape that is perfect for a meaty and tasty hamburger slice, quite different from the horizontal slice commonly used from a large round tomato. Easy-to-grow, indeterminate, disease-free plants yield a summerlong supply of the exquisitely-flavored marinara, tomato gravy or meat sauce plus plenty for slicing and salads.”

How could I resist ordering a packet of seeds to try, even at a pricey $6.50 plus shipping?

SuperSauce is solid, as a paste tomato should be
My first impression of SuperSauce was negative.  When the seeds sprouted and the plants began to grow, they were what you might call “leggy,” “scraggly,” or “spindly.” Their leaves seemed odd shaped, healthy but somewhat droopy or turned down.  I wasn’t expecting much from SuperSauce, but I transplanted them into the Tomato Patch at four weeks, and SuperSauce grew, blossomed, fruited.

What do I think of SuperSauce now?  I like it—I like it a lot.  SuperSauce is a SuperPasteTomato.

How does the fruit coming out of my garden compare to Burpee’s advertising hyperbole?

“Two pounds and 5.5” long and 5” wide”?  Mine averaged 5” long, about 2 1/2” wide.  From four SuperSauce plants I picked several bucketsful during just two weeks in August.  Fruit of an early picking averaged about 11 oz. and of two later pickings averaged 14.5 oz. and 18.75 oz.  In mid-season, one SuperSauce weighted 1 lb. 13 oz.  Fruit production peaked in August, but I picked numerous smaller fruit into October.

One SuperSauce almost filled a quart container
“Gallons of luscious, seedless sauce from a single plant harvest—one tomato fills an entire sauce jar”?  I originally thought that Burpee ad writers need to get out of the office and into a kitchen, but by mid-season I thought that one SuperSauce plant might, over a season, produce enough fruit to make up to one gallon of sauce.  One average SuperSauce tomato may pretty much fill a sauce container, as you can see in the photo of one fruit in a 4-cup container, but one large tomato does not yield, by far, a “jar” of sauce, at least any jar a respectable sauce maker would use at home.  Compared to the Amish Paste variety I’ve preferred in recent years, the average SuperSauce weighs about the same but has less waste from cracks and blossom end rot when processing for sauce making.  It also may be a few shades lighter red than many paste varieties.

“Delicious and versatile”?  Reasonably tasty, yes, more so than some paste tomatoes, and flavorful enough to pass as a slicer or salad tomato, especially tomato gourmands who find the flavor of supermarket varieties such as Compari acceptable.  Solid and meaty, a slice or two of SuperSauce on a sandwich doesn’t send juice racing down the eater’s arms to drip off elbows—a definite plus.

“Easy-to-grow, indeterminate, disease-free plants yield a summerlong supply”?  Yes, yes, yes.  And the size and number of the growing fruit gives even a tomato fanatic cause to pause and admire.

Enough, already.  I plan to plant SuperSauce hybrids again next year.  It has replaced Amish Paste as my top choice of paste tomatoes.


  1. Well Bob, I generally agree with your evaluation of Super Sauce. While my first flush of fruit was huge, much larger than my Big Mamas, later fruit was about the same size as Big Mama. And, while you could put it on a sandwich, it's not as tasty as an heirloom or SuperSonic.

    My real gripe about Super Sauce is that it is harder to remove the seeds when I'm making a chunky tomato sauce. Will I grow it again, yes, because like you I have seeds left over. Will I buy Super Sauce seeds again, probably not. I prefer Big Mama, Roma, and like you, Amish Paste.

  2. Thanks for your input, Kent. Good choices all! I don't have a gripe about removing SuperSauce seeds--or seeds or skin of any other tomato--because last spring I bought a Roma (by Weston) Food Strainer and Sauce Maker from one of the seed companies. I just chunk the larger tomatoes, feed them through the machine as I crank away, and pulp and other goodies go in one direction and seeds and skins go another. It has saved me hours of prep time for sauce making--well worth the $$$--and our freezer this year has two to three times as many containers of home-made sauce. And I'm a star of the "crank" part--in so many ways! :-)

  3. I had some plants last season and I was very pleased with result.
    Unfortunally I did not find these seeds again. Too bad Burpee do not want ship anything to Canada :-(

  4. Last year I grew one plant and loved the huge tomatoes. But it was in the middle of a row of other varieties and I wasn't impressed with how it lagged so far behind in growth. But the harvest was well worth trying it again this year. I was looking for comments on growing Super Sauce and found your blog. Like you the seedlings I grew this year were leggy and scrawny. Unfortunately in our Idaho climate with days in the 80s nights still mostly in the 40s the 4 plants in a raised bed in the garden I planted out a month ago still are very small and scrawny, way behind other varieties in beds. Two plants I put in a self watering container on the patio are doing great, strong and healthy! I agree with your comment "And the size and number of the growing fruit gives even a tomato fanatic cause to pause and admire." Hopefully warmer weather will get the plants in the garden going.