San Marzano tomatoes vs. regular tomatoes

Every recipe and/or article I read practically insists upon San Marzano tomatoes. I'm curious about the difference between these tomatoes and the ones regular old Italian plum tomatoes. Is it worth the 2x price difference? I haven't done a side-by-side comparison yet.

Thomas C.
posted about 5 years ago

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It depends.

In my experience, the average can of San Marzano tomatoes is "better" than the average can of Roma tomatoes. With canned tomatoes, so much depends on the specific batch and brand.

San Marzanos are prized tomatoes because they contain fewer seeds, are less acidic and have better flavor. However, this isn't always the case. I've gone through my fair share of mediocre San Marzano tomatoes.

Also think about what you're using the tomatoes for. For a New York style sauce, I won't use San Marzanos, but for a Neapolitan sauce, I definitely will. For a nice marinara sauce, I could go either way.

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Raj Irukulla admin
posted about 5 years ago

In my experience, The brand of San Marzano tomatoes is key. Cento, certified San Marzano whole tomatoes taste really good right out of the can with no additional salt or sugar needed. Of course this is a taste preferance that may be individual in nature.

- Mark   about 5 years ago

Just as 00 flour is the ideal flour for Neapolitan pizza, San Marzano is the ideal tomatoes for Neapolitan pizza for the reasons Raj mentions below. And there is no cooking involved in the preparation of sauce. In a pinch, I will try other tomatoes but I find it's too soupy, whereas the San Marzano (Cento and Ciao brands) canned tomatoes - the sauce has more texture of pureed than watery. Personally, I think it tastes better, so I go with the better product. Worth it to me.

Sharlene M.
posted about 5 years ago

Just catching up on all the great posts on this web site. Regarding San Marzano tomatoes from Italy (DOP or otherwise) I would suggest the brand rather than production location is most important. Of course I try to buy local as well for three reasons: promoting jobs, saving resources and, Tony G and the rest of our customers know where to find us if you don't like our tomatoes...I assure you that encourages us to sell you our best! - Rob less than a minute ago - delete

Rob DiNapoli
posted almost 5 years ago

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