Author Topic: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update  (Read 5225 times)

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Offline kiwipete

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Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« on: March 19, 2007, 08:18:29 AM »
This is an update of a previous thread on the Neapolitan forum http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4262.0.html, but its now more about tomatoes and sauce so its time to move it here..

First an introduction.. I have read most threads here about tomatoes, but most of those don’t really apply to me because all the different brands of tomato (6 in 1, Escalon, Glen Muir, you name it) are not available in where I live anyway (New Zealand).

Secondly, I am primarily interested in making the best Neapolitan pizza you can get (other than in Napoli), so one of my areas of interest is tomatoes and San Marzano tomatoes in particular.

One thing I have found: fresh is best. On a trip to Sydney, Australia I bought a passata mill. After I brought it back home, I was dead keen to try it out and bought a big bag of vine ripened, truss tomatoes and put them through the mill.

Firstly, after processing these tomatoes were very watery and needed reducing before they could be used as a passata on pizza. After reducing them (no additions of any kind), I kept some in the fridge and bottled the rest. The taste of this puree / sauce was outstanding. I invited some friends and relatives to taste this and they found it hard to believe that this was just pure tomato with nothing else added. Even a young friend of mine who rarely eats tomato based products thought it was really good.

Changing tack a little bit here: I came across an interesting article on the internet about canned tomatoes and they tested a whole bunch of different brands. (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/02/26/FD102117.DTL)They found the “Il Miracolo di San Gennaro” tomato to be the second best (first being their organically home grown tomatoes).

On a trip to Naples last year I was able to obtain some seeds from the original strain of San Marzanos (not the more modern, hybridized version).

They were duly planted in the garden, as per below (with the pizza oven in the background):




Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2007, 08:20:10 AM »
When they started ripening and I was able to pick the first crop to turn into pizza sauce, some of the differences between these and the vine ripened truss tomatoes were quite significant: when I processed the truss tomatoes, the first “run trough” was primarily a pretty watery, reddish liquid. I would then return the leftovers into the passata mill another 3 or 4 times to extract more of the pulp. Either way, the end product needed a lot of reduction to achieve the desired consistency.

After I processed my first batch of San Marzanos through the passata mill, I got a very rich, almost creamy tomato concoction coming out of the chute after the first run through. (see picture below).


Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2007, 08:21:00 AM »
Here is the sauce ready to go on the pizza.


Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2007, 08:21:55 AM »
Dressed pizza prior to baking:

Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2007, 08:22:54 AM »
Pizza after baking:


Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2007, 08:24:07 AM »
Here is a shot of a bunch of tomatoes ready to be bottled:


Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2007, 08:24:54 AM »
Ready to be preserved:


Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2007, 08:25:46 AM »
I know I am a bit over the top on some of these things, but I really think that growing your own tomatoes beats just about any canned variety hands down..

Cheers

KiwiPete

Offline Peteg

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2007, 11:10:29 PM »
Great pictures Peter.  Do you cook your tomatoes at all before putting them through the food mill?  I remember Marco talking about how he thought that even the best San Marzano's need to be pre cooked before being used for pizza.  Just curious, it looks great just the way it is.

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2007, 08:04:31 AM »
I meant processed, not precooked, which may be similar but not the same. Processed canned San Marzano, gets quickly boiled and then rinsed and peeled. Next, in the canning/botling stage, they get a second boiling, which in any case is not like cooking them in the pan.

It is worth to notice how Pete highlighted the consistency and absence of water of these tomatoes... That is one of the reason they became so favorable in Naples. Bare in Mind that we do not use San Marzano for salads or other tomatoes preparation, but use instead Sorrento's round, large tomatoes or similar round tomatoes.

Indeed fresh can be better, but it has to be the right varietal. People here in England cook with Tomatoes that in Italy we call "salads tomatoes", and end up with lightly colored sauces.... poor them.

Ciao


Offline PizzaVera

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2010, 02:03:18 AM »
I know I am a bit over the top on some of these things, but I really think that growing your own tomatoes beats just about any canned variety hands down..

Cheers

KiwiPete

Love the pics man.. great effort. how has the home tomatoes been treating you?  It's been a couple years since your post so I guess you have had a couple of summers to make pizzas, what is new??

Offline JConk007

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2010, 08:07:52 AM »
They really look wonderful and very healthy .
I love the way the tomatoes have a great view of their final resting spot  :angel:
John
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Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2010, 02:28:07 PM »
Ok, guys quick update:

I have been growing my san marzanos for 3-4 years with excellent success. One of the frustrations was that we had not much room to grow things because our section is so small. Well that has been solved now: We've sold the house and bought a 5 acre (bare block) section in the country side.

On the downside: goodbye WFO, and since we are currently renting whilst waiting to build the house, no growing tomatoes or anything.

On the upside: We now have more growing space than we know what to do with (Apart from tomatoes I'm thinking: massive herb garden, pigs for home made guanciale, lardo and other goodies, maybe making cheese etc).
A new WFO is on the drawing board, as well as an underground wine cellar / cheese maturing room (but my better half wants the house built first.... ).

Peter.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2010, 02:35:49 PM »
On the upside: We now have more growing space than we know what to do with (Apart from tomatoes I'm thinking: massive herb garden, pigs for home made guanciale, lardo and other goodies, maybe making cheese etc).
A new WFO is on the drawing board, as well as an underground wine cellar / cheese maturing room (but my better half wants the house built first.... ).

Peter.

What an unbelievable opportunity. You are going to have so much fun creating a space for all your artisanal pursuits. We are toying with getting chickens, but I am not sure how the neighbors would feel about it (or the town). But I think the one thing I really want, and just cannot figure out logistically, is a curing room for salumi. We have some amazing heritage breed pigs being raised here on Massachusetts farms.

John

Offline PizzaVera

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2010, 10:00:51 PM »
Ok, guys quick update:

I have been growing my san marzanos for 3-4 years with excellent success. One of the frustrations was that we had not much room to grow things because our section is so small. Well that has been solved now: We've sold the house and bought a 5 acre (bare block) section in the country side.

On the downside: goodbye WFO, and since we are currently renting whilst waiting to build the house, no growing tomatoes or anything.

On the upside: We now have more growing space than we know what to do with (Apart from tomatoes I'm thinking: massive herb garden, pigs for home made guanciale, lardo and other goodies, maybe making cheese etc).
A new WFO is on the drawing board, as well as an underground wine cellar / cheese maturing room (but my better half wants the house built first.... ).

Peter.

so the past couple years while you were growing the tomatoes did you find that your homegrown tomatoes were much better than imported canned tomatoes from Italy? 
ps. Where in New Zealand are you? I traveled down there 10 years ago, beautiful country....

Offline RoadPizza

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2010, 07:36:59 AM »
I was re-watching Heston Blumenthal's "In Search of Perfection" episode that was focused on pizza.  He felt that the canning process added something to the flavor of the San Marzanos and he tried to replicate it by roasting half of his tomatoes (not San Marzanos) and used a pressure cooker on the other half (and reducing it on the stove).

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2010, 10:40:37 AM »
so the past couple years while you were growing the tomatoes did you find that your homegrown tomatoes were much better than imported canned tomatoes from Italy? 
ps. Where in New Zealand are you? I traveled down there 10 years ago, beautiful country....

I have also been growing heirloom san marzanos from seed brought over from Calabria, and while the taste is similar, they do not have the exact same characteristics of canned DOP SM's (they are still spectacular, though). One of the reasons may be the soil. I may try adding ash from my WFO next summer as a test, as the soil around Vesuvius must contain a high concentration of ash.

John

Offline DodgerBlue

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2010, 03:33:04 PM »
Hey John, was wondering if you can or bottle any of the tomatoes, and if you do can them do you leave the skins on? The reason i ask is that my Amish paste tomatoes, which are very similar to sm's, taste way better after being introduced to the heat twice during the skinning and bottling process. It would also be helpful to find out the acidity of the soil and try to slowly replicate that. Ash can cause major changes is a soils acidity if not done in the proper amounts. Other than a true heirloom San marzano(which I have never grown) hands down the best paste tomato I have found is the Amish paste which is a heirloom that produces large crops of 6-8 oz tomatoes. Very tasty. Good luck with everything, interested in what e drone finds.

Thanks, Erich

Offline matermark

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2011, 11:04:32 PM »
Did you grind your tomatoes raw without any cooking or boiling or anything? I know most recommend to at least soften them by parboiling them before grinding them. I use a Spremy, but this will be the first year using them specifically for pizza--in the past I've made Annie's Salsa with my tomatoes & onions (& peppers too.) For the salsa I wanted it chunky so chopped everything by hand or while seedsaving. Otherwise I went from plant to plant choosing the ripe tomatoes and a quick rinse then off to the Spremy. I never bothered parboiling but I read somewhere, maybe a USDA site on canning, that parboiling or cooking them first before grinding somehow keeps the sauce from separating.


What I did for the 8 gallons was I waited for it to settle and then discarded any of the water and just saved the "meat." Plus the Spremy removes the skin & seeds.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2011, 11:09:29 PM by matermark »

Offline kiwipete

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Re: Was Visit to Naples - Now tomato update
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2011, 06:46:40 AM »
Hiya.

I ground them raw, just roughly chopped, sorta quartered, that's pretty much it.