Author Topic: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.  (Read 8805 times)

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Offline Tscarborough

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Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« on: July 31, 2010, 08:48:44 PM »
OK, so I have tried many types of canned, whole peeled tomatoes for my sauce.  My general recipe is like this:

1-28oz canned peeled tomatoes per 3-4 pizzas (rest of recipe per can)
fresh basil, 2 teaspoons finely chopped)
turbino sugar, 2 teaspoons
sea salt, 1 teaspoon
various other spices in varying small amounts

I drain the juice from the cans, then pulp the tomatoes with a wire potato masher.  I cook them for 20-45 minutes to get rid of about 1/2 cup of liquid then cool to room temp before using.

The DOP is no different than the regular, tasted straight from the can, much less in a cooked sauce.  I nor my wife, nor any of the various people who have eaten my pies could tell any difference at all amongst any of the various, including organic, DOP, and local brands.

Spend your money on the quality toppings and cheese, and don't pay double for DOP or organic tomatoes, it is a waste of money, if not an outright scam.


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2010, 09:03:09 PM »
Did you do the taste test without the sugar and spices? You can taste the difference there. But I agree that once you start loading up on the spices it makes little difference.  For my taste and $ I prefer the stanilaus & eschalon products with few added spices.

JT

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2010, 09:09:45 PM »
Yes, I tasted them side by side from the can.  Visually, texture and taste they are identical.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2010, 09:46:54 PM »
Don't get me wrong.  If you can afford the couple extra bucks, go for it, but the reality is that other than bragging rights, there is no functional difference in canned 'maters.  For that matter, fresh grown will always make better sauce, San Marzano or not.  The best sauce I have ever made, even though it came out kind of orange, was locally grown organic San Marzanos.  They were superb at 6 bucks a pound ($1.20 a pound for on the vine locally grown heirloom tomatoes).  Too bad they are available for only a couple weeks a year.

Offline PizzaVera

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2010, 10:38:23 PM »
you are right... its just all about tradition.. keeping it authentic etc..
I mean just because its grown in italy doesn't mean it's better....

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2010, 11:34:40 PM »
I dunno. There's a HUGE difference between San Marzanos (DOP or not) vs generic Kroger or Hunts tomatoes. IMO :). But I do understand the point that you are making though.   Yes not much if any difference between DOP vs non, organic vs inorganic, etc.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 12:21:43 AM by Jackie Tran »

Offline PizzaVera

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 02:47:59 AM »
I dunno. There's a HUGE difference between San Marzanos (DOP or not) vs generic Kroger or Hunts tomatoes. IMO :). But I do understand the point that you are making though.   Yes not much if any difference between DOP vs non, organic vs inorganic, etc.

yes, Sanmarzano does have a unique taste.. and it makes a great tasting pizza
but a great tasting pizza is had everyday without san Marzano..
I actually find San Marzano canned tomatoes to not be the best tasting for me...I haven't tried that many brands those.. so I guess I need to keep looking...

Hunts.. is actually surprisingly not to bad.. I was shocked actually...

Offline Matthew

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2010, 07:30:18 AM »
yes, Sanmarzano does have a unique taste.. and it makes a great tasting pizza
but a great tasting pizza is had everyday without san Marzano..
I actually find San Marzano canned tomatoes to not be the best tasting for me...I haven't tried that many brands those.. so I guess I need to keep looking...

Hunts.. is actually surprisingly not to bad.. I was shocked actually...


I had a lengthy conversation yesterday with a fairly large importer of Italian products.  The topic of San Marzano tomatoes seems to be a complicated one.  He is from the Campania region & travels there quite frequently in search of products to import.  According to him there is a such a huge shortage of "true" San Marzano tomatoes that the ones that are produced are not even enough to meet the demands of the the local pizzeria's.  In fact, according to him, most of the product that arrives to North America & abroad contain falsified labels & even though they are labelled & stamped DOP are no where near the real thing.  They are of substandard quality & would not even be considered for use in pizzeria's in Napoli.  According to him alot of these products are grown & packed in Turkey & then labelled in Italy for distribution.  The only way to guarantee that you are getting "real" San Marzano tomatoes is to travel to Campania & then find a reliable distributor.  Even then, they won't even talk to you unless you are willing to buy huge quantities.

The next topic we discussed was "buffalo mozzarella".  The company that he represents produces in my opinion the best cheese here in Toronto.  In fact, as of late they have been making 100% pure buffalo milk mozzarella.  This was another lengthy topic.  I have to say that their buffalo mozzarella smokes any imported buffalo mozzarella hands down in taste & texture.  Why??  Again, according to him, the product that we are getting here is mislabelled & is mixed with cow's milk.  He backed the statement up by explaining to me that real buffalo mozzarella has a shelf life of 3 days & that by the time it would arrive to North America it is already past its expiry.

They also make really good burrata.  I picked some up yesterday for use on my pizza tomorrow.  He explained to me the process of making buratta & how alot of manufactures take the shortcut & just use fior di latte, fill it with mascarpone & label it as burrata.  I suspect that this is what Bill/SFNM experience when he purchased the buratta from Trader Joe's.

Matt
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 07:41:27 AM by Matthew »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2010, 10:40:53 AM »
Matt,

Several years ago, in 2005, I had a nice chat with Charlie Restivo, then the head pizza maker at Naples 45 in NYC (and now in Orlando), and he confirmed even at that time what you learned from the importer you spoke with recently, as noted at Reply 167 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1258.msg16292/topicseen.html#msg16292. I believe that scott r said the same thing after he went to Naples and had pizzas there. Marco (pizzanapoletan) has made similar observations.

Peter

Offline Matthew

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2010, 11:13:45 AM »
Matt,

Several years ago, in 2005, I had a nice chat with Charlie Restivo, then the head pizza maker at Naples 45 in NYC (and now in Orlando), and he confirmed even at that time what you learned from the importer you spoke with recently, as noted at Reply 167 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,1258.msg16292/topicseen.html#msg16292. I believe that scott r said the same thing after he went to Naples and had pizzas there. Marco (pizzanapoletan) has made similar observations.

Peter


Hmm.......
On a side note just to stir the pot a little bit more,  he also told me that the cheese sold as fior di latte is technically large boconcini & not at all fior di latte..  Real fior di latte is a virgin product & not stretched.  It is vacuum sealed & not water packed.  It's somewhat dry in texture & crumbles quite easily.  They make this product specifically for Neapolitan Pizzerias.  They don't sell it for home use because it would liquefy in a second in a home oven.  It all starts to make much more sense now as all the videos that I have seen from pizzeria's in Naples use cheese with these exact properties.  As I mentioned, I was there yesterday to pick up some burrata & some fresh mozzarella (notice I'm not calling it fior di latte ;))  He told me to come by next week & he'll give me a block of fior di latte to try out.

Matt



Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2010, 12:01:56 PM »
Quote
author=Matthew link=topic=11517.msg105311#msg105311 date=1280675625]
Hmm.......
On a side note just to stir the pot a little bit more,  he also told me that the cheese sold as fior di latte is technically large boconcini & not at all fior di latte..  Real fior di latte is a virgin product & not stretched.  It is vacuum sealed & not water packed.  It's somewhat dry in texture & crumbles quite easily.  They make this product specifically for Neapolitan Pizzerias.  They don't sell it for home use because it would liquefy in a second in a home oven.  It all starts to make much more sense now as all the videos that I have seen from pizzeria's in Naples use cheese with these exact properties.  As I mentioned, I was there yesterday to pick up some burrata & some fresh mozzarella (notice I'm not calling it fior di latte ;))  He told me to come by next week & he'll give me a block of fior di latte to try out.

Matt



I have been thinking this for a while after reading an old post a while back. Fior di Latte is made by a certain breed of cow right, one that we don't have here in North America... right? I think it is all a selling point, saying "Fior di Latte" on the label instead of saying mozzarella. It makes the consumer want to buy it more thinking its a better product than a regular label saying mozzarella, meanwhile they are the same exact thing. Everytime I see the words Fior di Latte on a mozzarella label or that someone is making their own Fior di Latter at their pizzeria I have a little laugh to myself. It's all for profit and basically false advertisement IMO. Sorry for going on a rant and steering away from the discussion.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 12:04:35 PM by BrickStoneOven »

Offline Matthew

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2010, 12:51:19 PM »
I have been thinking this for a while after reading an old post a while back. Fior di Latte is made by a certain breed of cow right, one that we don't have here in North America... right? I think it is all a selling point, saying "Fior di Latte" on the label instead of saying mozzarella. It makes the consumer want to buy it more thinking its a better product than a regular label saying mozzarella, meanwhile they are the same exact thing. Everytime I see the words Fior di Latte on a mozzarella label or that someone is making their own Fior di Latter at their pizzeria I have a little laugh to myself. It's all for profit and basically false advertisement IMO. Sorry for going on a rant and steering away from the discussion.


No it's just regular cow's milk.  What makes fior di latte different from mozzarella or boconcini is the way that it's made.  It resembles a curd as oppose to a stringy ball.


Matt

Offline sear

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2010, 12:57:16 PM »
wife brought home a can of the shoprite brand crushed tomatoes with italian herbs.
out of the 3-4 other canned tomatoes i have tried these tasted the best out of the can


Offline BrickStoneOven

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2010, 03:17:00 PM »
Sorry I misread what Marco said. He said top quality fior di latte comes from the Agerolese cow. The way I read it I thought that all fior di latte was from the Agerolese breed of cow. My bad :-D. I still stand by what I said though about companies labeling everything in fior di latte now and not mozzarella just to sell a product.


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2010, 09:28:20 PM »
Spend your money on the quality toppings and cheese, and don't pay double for DOP or organic tomatoes, it is a waste of money, if not an outright scam.

For some of us who do not cook down tomatoes into a sauce for pizza, but rather use them crushed, straight from the can without adornment, there is a marked and palpable difference in mouth feel, tenderness, acidity, and sweetness from different manufacturers. While it may be that some San Marzano DOP cans are not real, or the breed has been modified down over the years, it essentially comes down to taste - not the label.

In my opinion, the difference between a US commercial can of tomatoes and an italian San Marzano plum is like night and day. And there are cans out there, if you want to pay for them, that are the ultimate in taste and texture. Look at Terra Amore & Fantasia and Il Miracolo di San Gennaro by Abagnale: genetically certified to be 100% true San Marzano - with prices to match.

John
« Last Edit: August 01, 2010, 09:37:16 PM by dellavecchia »

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2010, 10:30:19 PM »
In my opinion, as someone who does it both ways, cooked and just mashed, fresh and canned, the difference is in your mind.  I have grown tomatoes and (still grow) spices, and have done many, many varieties in many different soil types and with various growth regimens, and the sum total of 30 years of growing my own tomatoes is that it is a waste of both time and money.

A buck seventy-nine a pound for local organically grown tomatoes is a bargain, and they usually know better than you how to produce the perfect tomato from the local soils, and any way you look at it, a fresh tomato is better than one in a can.

As noted above, there is no real difference in a tomato grown THERE than one grown 1 mile away, other than a trade group's stamp.  Feel free to pay for it if it works for you, that it is a good thing, but it is a subjective judgment, not an objective one.


Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2010, 10:38:36 PM »
Actually, I misspoke.  I paid almost 5 bucks a pound for fresh organically grown Marzanos, but they were superb, although the fresh sauce was orange, not red.  The cooked sauce (of course the DOP are also cooked before canning) was a more normal red.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2010, 10:44:28 PM »
And please do not take my contentiousness to be anything other than a healthy disregard for norms.  I make pizzas that I (and my friends and family) like to eat.  I have not found (and do not anticipate finding) the "right" way to make a pizza.  Pizza Anarchy!

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2010, 11:05:50 PM »
Tscarborough.  Thank you for your perspective.  I always appreciate an honest opinion, especially one that goes against the current (thinking).  I appreciate your honesty about growing tomatoes. 

I had briefly considered the same since I can buy such great canned tomato products (Stanilaus).  After just one year, I'm convinced i could never grow a better tomato product.  Now I must consider if I were to go to the farmer's market and buy some organic tomatos and mix them with canned stanilaus tomatoes.  That would be a great sauce and likely better than what I can grow at home. 

Now having said that, I think many grow tomatoes for the stress relieving aspect of it.  Aside from that, there is an invaluable satisfaction that comes from making a sauce out of the tomatoes you grow with your own hands and effort.  I imagine it's like the satisfaction that comes from making a pizza from scratch.

I can't fault those for growing there own tomatoes but I'm not sure how many years I will keep it up for.
You may just have save me from a lot of time and effort.  If I don't continue to grow tomatoes i will likely keep growing the herbs.   

Chau

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Canned tomatoes, don't buy the hype.
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2010, 11:18:00 PM »
Do not take me wrong.  I grow many things, peppers, herbs, flowers, and bamboo (I am a Bamboo snob).  However, I am also cognizant of the economics of the thing.  Grow tomatoes or jalapenos?!  It makes no sense, since they are so cheap to buy local and organic. 

I grow things that are either unavailable, or insanely expensive to buy locally.  I could for example grow excellent strawberries, but during the same period my crop is ripe, locally grown organic ones are about a buck a pound, so it makes no sense economically or time wise to grow them.



 

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