Author Topic: Newbie tomato question  (Read 1798 times)

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Offline Gregor111

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Newbie tomato question
« on: October 02, 2007, 07:17:28 PM »
I made my first sauce with San Marzanos and wow what a difference it made over the $.99 can cheapo stuff.  I can't remember the brand but they were $6 per can at a distant grocery store and were packed twelve can's per case.  These were whole peeled tomatoe's in puree with basil leaves.  Right out of the can they were a little acidic and bitter but I took care of that.

I'll double check the brand this weekend but are the La Bella (Sanmarzanoimports.com) or La Regina NOT bitter out of the can? 

Whether pizza or spaghetti I want to get the best San Marzono's I can and hopefully someone here can point me in the right direction.

Greg


Offline scott r

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Re: Newbie tomato question
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 08:06:59 PM »
those are two of the best.  Not too bitter.  Just pull out the seeds and you will fix that problem with any tomato.

Offline shango

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Re: Newbie tomato question
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 08:39:40 PM »
for pasta sauce; Academia Barilla peeled whole cherry tomatoes..very expensive and very good.
pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline Gregor111

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Re: Newbie tomato question
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 11:05:55 PM »
Thanks for the replies.

I just went to a new grocery store not too far from where I live.  They had Cento brand San Marzano which had all the appropriate logo's and labels as far as being genuine, but they were only $2.79 for the 28 ounce can.  Can they be any good at that price?  There was one other brand with no brand name I could discern.  The label was white with pictures of tomatoes alternating with the words San Marzano.  They had no official logo but claim to have been imported by some company in New Jersey.  They too were only $2.79 per large can.

I'll probably order one of the others online but was curious if anyone might be familiar with either of these two.

Greg

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Newbie tomato question
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 11:34:17 PM »
The label was white with pictures of tomatoes alternating with the words San Marzano.  They had no official logo but claim to have been imported by some company in New Jersey.  They too were only $2.79 per large can.

Greg,

You might want to check the label of the can of tomatoes mentioned above. There is a company in NJ called SiLtd (Simpson Imports, Ltd.) that sells San Marzano tomatoes that are grown domestically in the U.S. from San Marzano seeds from Italy. The wording on the label I have says "GROWN DOMESTICALLY IN THE U.S.A." If that is what you saw, I would stay away from them. I tried them once and found them to be inferior compared with the real San Marzano tomatoes.

In general, price alone is not a reliable indicator of the quality of the tomatoes. The cans of tomatoes with the D.O.P. seals on them will usually cost more than those without the seals, but prices of all San Marzanos can vary quite widely from store to store. It is best to shop at stores that move their merchandise so that what you get is as fresh as possible (the D.O.P. cans of tomatoes should have dates on them). As for the Cento San Marzano tomatoes, I believe that most of our members actually prefer the Cento Italian Style tomatoes, even though they are not San Marzanos.

Peter

Offline Gregor111

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Re: Newbie tomato question
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2007, 12:22:34 AM »
3w'sdotfarawayfoods.com/sanmarzano.html

You are right, they are Simpson imports.  Glad I stayed away.  I am surprised Cento rate so highly given their price but like you mentioned you can't go on price alone.

Is there a tomato FAQ I may have missed?  It would be nice to know if there are preferred brands for certain styles.

When I used to buy the $.99/can tomatoes I would use a combination of baking soda and a little brown sugar to cut the acidity and bitterness.  With proper San Marzanos, do folks find they can get away with neither of the above?

Greg


Greg,

You might want to check the label of the can of tomatoes mentioned above. There is a company in NJ called SiLtd (Simpson Imports, Ltd.) that sells San Marzano tomatoes that are grown domestically in the U.S. from San Marzano seeds from Italy. The wording on the label I have says "GROWN DOMESTICALLY IN THE U.S.A." If that is what you saw, I would stay away from them. I tried them once and found them to be inferior compared with the real San Marzano tomatoes.

In general, price alone is not a reliable indicator of the quality of the tomatoes. The cans of tomatoes with the D.O.P. seals on them will usually cost more than those without the seals, but prices of all San Marzanos can vary quite widely from store to store. It is best to shop at stores that move their merchandise so that what you get is as fresh as possible (the D.O.P. cans of tomatoes should have dates on them). As for the Cento San Marzano tomatoes, I believe that most of our members actually prefer the Cento Italian Style tomatoes, even though they are not San Marzanos.

Peter

Offline scott r

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Re: Newbie tomato question
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2007, 02:34:42 AM »
Pete-zza,  the cento italian style tomatoes are not the good ones that most here tend to prefer.   Its cento italian tomatoes.  Some people also like the cento san marzano tomatoes.

Offline The Pontificator

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Re: Newbie tomato question
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 06:07:42 PM »
Another factor is how fresh the product is. Even the best imported brands won't taste very good if they have sat on the shelf so long that they now taste like the tin can they were packed in.

Unless you live in an area where such product has a high shelf turnover you'd probably be better off buying a lower priced, domestic brand.

Turn the cans over and read the expiry date. Look at the cans themselves. Are the labels dirty? Do the cans have lots of dust on them? If so, don't buy them.

Personally, I've been perfectly happy with USA brands. The Great Value brand pear tomatoes with basil in puree have worked very well for me.

Cook's Illustrated once did one of their unabashed blind taste tests on various brands of domestic and imported tomatoes. The winner? Muir Glen. They also did a blind taste test of various brands of pasta. The winner? Ronzoni, I believe.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2007, 05:59:24 AM by The Pontificator »
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