What Are San Marzano Tomatoes?

You can pour your soul into your cooking, but at the end of the day your final dish is only as good as the ingredients you use. To that end, you’ll find a lot of classic Italian recipes – including some of our own Isernio’s original recipes – call specifically for San Marzano tomatoes.

But are San Marzanos truly necessary? Let’s take a look at what they are, how they’re different, and whether they’re worth the extra cost.

What are San Marzano Tomatoes?

San Marzano tomatoes are a variety of tomatoes grown in a specific region of Italy. Located near Mount Vesuvius, the volcanic-infused soil and temperate climate produce a tomato that has fewer seeds, less acidity, and is sweeter than the traditional plum tomato. Because of this perfect balance, San Marzanos need very little in the way of seasoning straight out of the can. The resulting sauce is rich, flavorful, fresh, and practically effortless.

How Can I Identify Real San Marzano Tomatoes?

Because San Marzanos are only grown in a small area of the world, they are imported to the United States and command a premium price tag. But like anything, there are plenty of imitators. Real San Marzanos will have a DOP (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta) seal and certification number on the bottom of the can – and they are only sold whole or in fillets. Any “San Marzanos” that are diced or pureed are fraudulent.

Also, be aware of tomatoes labeled “San Marzano Style.” That means nothing – other than that you’re buying plum tomatoes packaged to look like San Marzanos.

Are San Marzanos Worth It?

Of course, we say yes. When you taste the difference you’ll understand why they’ve garnered the reputation they have. However, we also recognize that they’re not as easy to come by as traditional tomatoes and that they come with a premium price tag. Our best advice, even if you don’t opt for San Marzanos, is to try some new, higher-quality tomatoes than you’ve been traditionally using. Taste how it changes your final dish, and we bet you won’t go back to bland and watery value-priced versions.

Quality Matters

It’s always been our goal to bring you the highest quality Italian sausages available. With no fillers and only premium seasonings, you can taste the difference. Try Isernio’s in your next recipe and see how it takes the flavor to the next level. Try a new variety today!

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