The NYTimes is talking about one of our favorite subjects, canned tomatoes. It’s always a subject that causes perplexity. Are canned tomatoes really better than fresh tomatoes? Are imported tomatoes better?
In this article, two of our favorite people in food, Julia Moskin and Sara Jenkins make Ragù and hash out the tomato situation.
“Canned tomatoes and tomato paste are also linchpins of this recipe. ‘This is kind of a fall and winter sauce, but even if I had fresh tomatoes, I wouldn’t use them here,’ Ms. [Sara] Jenkins said. Canned tomatoes and tomato paste are both cooked during the preservation process, and that gives them a desirable, concentrated, mouth-filling quality that some food scientists identify as umami. Still, the quality of your canned tomatoes does matter. If at all possible, do find — and spend the extra money for — real San Marzano tomatoes with the European Union’s Denominazione d’Origine Protetta seal (meaning that the tomatoes are grown, processed and packed there). They have the virtue of always being fully ripe and packed in top-quality purée. Other cans may contain the same breed of tomatoes, but when grown in China or California and packed under uncertain conditions, they are simply not reliably delicious.”
Here’s our guide to knowing if your tomatoes are Real San Marzano tomatoes with the European Union’s Denominazione d’Origine Protetta.