Real Italian Super Models

Not every great thing coming out of Italy appears on the runway! One of the most sexy Italian exports is the San Marzano tomato, and if you haven’t been seeking them out for your recipes you are really missing out.


San Marzano tomatoes are a plum tomato and one of the most popular food items to come out of Italy. They are grown in the rich volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius, which gives them a sweet flavor and low acidity. These tomatoes are highly regarded for their firm pulp, deep red color, easy to remove skin and low seed count (regular round tomatoes usually have four or five seed pockets, but plum tomatoes like those from San Marzano have only two).

In the United States, San Marzano tomatoes are the genetic base for another popular tomato, the Roma tomato, a cross between a San Marzano and two other varieties (one of which was also a San Marzano hybrid). Canned San Marzano Tomatoes

In Italy, the tomato harvest begins in August and runs through September. The crops are very delicate so all the tomatoes have to be picked by hand.Canned San Marzano Tomatoes

Like Parmesan cheese and Prosciutto, these tomatoes are grown under very specific and strict rules. Look for an official DOP (Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta) on the can or jar.

Because of their great flavor and texture, very little has to be done to them upon opening then can. And because of the close attention to quality, many cooks consider San Marzano tomatoes to be among the best in the world to use in a sauce.

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