What Are San Marzano Tomatoes?

July18

Celia asks: In one of your recipes you said that if I’m going to use canned tomatoes, I should buy Italian San Marzano tomatoes. What’s so special about them?

San Marzano Tomatoes: Why are these so special? http://mamashighstrung.com/blog/2014/07/what-are-san-marzano-tomatoes/

In my recipe for Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce, I suggested that you buy canned Italian San Marzano tomatoes because they deliver a tangy, bright flavor… far superior to many other canned tomatoes. But what are San Marzano tomatoes?

San Marzano tomatoes are basically plum tomatoes with a lush, elegant flesh; they are grown in Italy’s southern Sarno River Valley. The tomatoes stay on the vine longer than many other varieties, which gives them a sweeter, less acidic taste.

They also have thinner skins with fewer seeds, so you have a firm, but supple bite, even after cooking them for a long time, like in my Homemade Tomato Sauce.

If you want to make sure the canned tomatoes you are buying are REAL San Marzanos, look for the Italian D.O.P. (or Denominazione di Origine Protetta) designation on the can. This means that the Italian tomato famers followed specific government agricultural rules. You can (sort of) equate these rules to the USDA regulations regarding products that can and cannot use the USDA Organic Seal.

Italian San Marzano tomatoes do have their detractors, so you’ll need to conduct your own taste test. If you can’t find real Italian San Marzano tomatoes, try whole Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes.

San Marzano Tomatoes via GIFT


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posted under Extra Helpings

11 thoughts on “What Are San Marzano Tomatoes?

  1. Pingback: Mama's High Strung ® » Blog Archive Chilled Red Gazpacho - Mama's High Strung ®

  2. Pamela Heady

    I frequently buy San Marzano tomatoes but I never knew to look for the Italian designation! I’ll have to investigate next time so I’m getting the right ones! I have purchased Muir Glen products – usually the diced tomatoes and have really liked them!

    Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      I like Muir Glen… they have a great product. I use those when I don’t make it to the specialty produce store that always carries San Marzano tomatoes…

      Reply
    1. Christina Post author

      Someone else says that adding sugar makes the sauce sweet… it doesn’t matter what kind of tomatoes they are. I really think these tomatoes taste different… do a taste test!

      Reply

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Hi…
I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mama@mamashighstrung.com.