How to Identify Real San Marzano Tomatoes

updated Jun 5, 2019
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(Image credit: Danielle Centoni)

When it comes to canned tomatoes, one name reigns supreme: San Marzano. But how can a small town near Naples, Italy produce enough tomatoes to fill the supermarket shelves year round? Easy — it doesn’t. Here’s what to look for to make sure you aren’t paying premium prices for San Marzano fakes.

Gusti Blog offers a few tips from the Cosorzio San Marzano for identifying the real deal when buying San Marzano tomatoes. The tomatoes are only sold in cans, either whole or in fillets, so jarred tomatoes or those that are labeled “puree,” “chopped,” “diced,” “sauce,” or “organic” are fraudulent. (The Cosorzio does not regulate organic labeling.)

On the can, look for the words “”Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese Nocerino D.O.P.” and the symbols of the Cosorzio and the D.O.P., the latter of which identifies European regional food products that are protected by law. The Cosorzio also assigns a number to each can, labeled as “N° XXXXXXX.”

If the tomatoes taste good, we honestly aren’t picky about where they were grown, but we definitely don’t want to pay more for a product that is claiming to be something it’s not.

What do you think? Are real San Marzanos worth the extra cost?

Via the New York Times.