DOP ITalian San Marzano Tomatoes
What's in that Can of Tomatoes? Is it a San Marzano or just something that is red? chefshop.com/enews
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In this issue:
sugar of all kinds
nuts for baking
get your nuts now! you can never have enough nuts this time of year.
Fall turns into Red
Keep summer in your kitchen year round!
As tomato season slips through our fingertips and fall approaches I find myself preemptively missing my favorite summer fruit. The tangy, sweet, and crisp tomato of
may be on its way out, but don’t panic, hope isn’t lost yet.
As the tomato crop fades away, there is a substitute - the canned tomato. I know, it’s not the same, especially atop a salad, but canned tomatoes substitute beautifully for fresh, in flavorful sauces and soups (
from a canned tomato? Yes, it’s possible!). The trick is finding the right canned tomato.
But, where to start? First, not all tomatoes are created equal. Each variety of tomato has a unique taste and
particular recipes, not to mention that each responds differently to being canned. Secondly, not all tomatoes are canned equally - different processes and additives change the texture and taste of the finished product.
Simple things first: take a close look at the ingredients.
is a common ingredient in domestically canned tomatoes. It’s added to maintain the firm texture of the tomato, but lends an undesirable acidic and metallic taste. Not to mention that an overly firm tomato is not necessarily a positive attribute.
Citric acid is another common additive. While
is found in many can goods, if you’re using a high quality tomato, it shouldn’t need the added acidity - which I should note - is often leveled out with some sugar or syrup. When looking at ingredients, less is more; all I want in my canned tomatoes is tomatoes, and maybe a little basil for taste.
It’s my belief that Italian tomato variety
is the best canning tomato. Although tomatoes are a New World fruit, San Marzano tomatoes originate from the region of Campania, and benefit from the areas warm weather and
rich volcanic soil
. In addition to being naturally sweet and low in acidity, the San Marzano tomato has a thicker flesh than its relative the Roma tomato, and has fewer seeds which is why, even after the canning process, it remains juicy and flavorful.
Shop now for tomatoes!
Controlling the process
How Canning makes a difference!
Now for the trickier distinction: the
method. There are two basic methods used to sterilize canned goods industrially.
The first is a two-step sterilization, called
canning, and is a process similar to that used by home-canners. First, the cans and lids are sterilized by ultra-high temperature steam. Then the product is rapidly heated and cooled to kill all microorganisms that could lead to product spoilage. Finally, the pasteurized product is placed in the sterilized can, and the process is complete.
I prefer this two-step method because it allows the producer to have the most control over the cooking of the product. By strictly controlling how quickly the product is heated and cooled, the producer can almost eliminate the effect of
on the texture and taste of the product.
The alternative method and the one found most frequently in the US, is a single-step process called retort canning. Here, the product is cooked and the can sterilized simultaneously; the container is filled with raw food product and then heated using
until the heat penetrates through the container to the center of the product, at which point the product and container are both sterilized.
While this method is effective and inexpensive, it is much more difficult to control the cooking of the product, and usually results in a product that has been unevenly heated and exposed to heat for a much longer period time than in aseptic canning.
Naturally, the canning process impacts every product in a different way - but I tend to think that the more control a producer has over his product and its cooking - the better the outcome!
When it comes to quality food, it’s important for all of us to remember that it isn’t just where the product comes from, or the variety, or the additives used, or the packaging process used that affect the quality of the overall product - it’s all of it tied together.
Shop now for San Marzano Tomatoes!
real tomatoes from Italy
Rega Rega – San Marzanos at their best. We sell a brand of canned tomatoes called ‘Rega Rega.’
These tomatoes are certified
D.O.P. (Denominazione di Origine Protetta)
San Marzano, which ensures their provenance and quality. Rega Rega pride themselves on picking tomatoes only when they have come to full maturity on the plant - meaning that they are full flavored and sweet, just as nature intended.
The tomatoes are picked ripe and canned (using the two-step process) on the same day to ensure quality, freshness, and maximum flavor.
of the “San Marzano style” canned tomatoes
sold in the US are actually grown and processed in California – and if you look closely at the can, it should say so. And often they never say that there are San Marzanos in the can! If there are hard, indigestible ends in the can and the whole tomatoes don’t easily fall apart when you lightly squish them with your hands or a spoon, that’s your clue that the tomatoes in that can were grown, harvested (green) and processed in the good ol’ US of A. No vine-ripened goodness to be had here!
It's such a simple answer, grown and canned
San Marzano tomatoes.
Italy makes wonderful food.
Shop now for Italian DOP Tomatoes!
36 Month aged Summer Parmigiano-Reggiano is available to be cut and shipped in about two weeks. Order now and keep summer for Fall.
Reed Avocados! "The one I cut open last week-Thursday-is still bright green/yellow-not an iota of oxidation- amazing. And so delicious! I could tweet about them everyday!" Food Editor F&W
NEW Cooking Class!
Cooking Classes with Chef Karen - Tapas II Class
Learn the history and origins of some of the most commonly used Spanish ingredients, as you learn how to prepare a variety of classic Spanish tapas dishes using traditional Spanish ingredients. There are literally hundreds of potential tapas recipes to choose from. Chef Karen hasn't decided yet which recipes to make -- but rest assured, each and every one will be delish. So sign up now, before we sell out -- and check back later for a complete list. Or just come and be surprised!
New Honeys, New Syrups, New foods. Almost Hot Chocolate Season! Rain and Cloudy expected...
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