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Jan 10, 2001 11:41 PM

Best Canned Tomatoes?

  • k

I always like to keep a couple cans of chopped, not stewed, tomatoes on hand. I used to like the Contadina Recipe-Ready w/ olive oil, but that line was discontinued a couple yrs ago (the pastes remain, I think). Any favorites for chopped?

BTW, I made a wonderful marinara tonight w/ fresh tomatoes, basil, e-v olive oil, and -- the secret -- a touch of white truffle oil. Buy the best you can find, the others might have a touch of bitterness. This sauce could be eaten straight and cold like gazpacho, no pasta needed here! Try the oil.

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  1. I love the Del Monte Fresh Cuts line for diced tomatoes. Also Pomi tomatoes are great - from Italy and sold in a box rather than a can. They tend to be very sweet. I agree about the truffle oil - it is a better invention than sliced bread!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Radhika

      In my opinion, the best canned tomatoes I've ever tried on this coast are produced by Muir Glen out of Petaluma. They are organic and have never disappointed me. I used to use Pomi, but prefer Muir Glen. They have whole, ground, ect. and also do pasta sauces in jars that are good, though I find it fast enough to put 2 chopped cloves of garlic and 4 anchovy fillets (such as Amati or salt packed)in olive oil, saute 'til anchovies are broken down, throw in a quarter cup of chopped It. parsley and add the tomatoes. Simmer 15 min. and you're done. I think this came from M. Hazan. But back to the Muir Glen brand, you can find it at Berkeley Bowl, Whole Foods, and many small markets. If you shop at Safeway, I can't imagine why you'd be reading anything on this site. (I'm new to the Internet, but I've been serious about food, wine and cooking for decades. And searching out the best ingredients is a big part of the fun for me.) Muir Glen has a website listed on their lable:

      There is a product from San Remo (Italian) that is good for a quick pasta sauce,(and other things), that contains sun dried tomatoes and other goodies pureed together.
      It is $25 at Dean and Deluca but lasts a very long time. I've always liked the San Remo s-d tomatoes packed in olive oil.

      1. re: Ann
        Barry Kaufman

        Give it up guys - there is only one canned chopped or whole Italian tomato ---- SAN MARZANO ---- San Marzano is a type of tomato ---- It is the only canned tomato used by Rao's Restaurant in NY. It is twice as expensive as any other canned tomato but it is worth it. I get mine at Andronicos.

        1. re: Barry Kaufman

          True, San Marzano tomatoes are wonderful but I find them hard to find in the Bay Area. I used to get them in D.C. at Eastern Market and such places, along with Madre Sicilia olive oil. I haven't been able to figure out why many of the Italian products available on the East coast don't make it out here. Andronico's is not usually a destination for me when I can go to Berkeley Bowl and enjoy total bliss. I will stop by though, to get some of the S-M. I'll do a test to see if they are that much better than Muir Glen. Have you tried Muir Glen? It's nice to support sustainable agriculture.

          1. re: Ann

            Besides Andronico's, I just found them at Lucca's in the Mission on Valencia near 22nd. Only variety I saw was the one with basil. Looking fwd to comparing -- thx for the tip!

            1. re: Kara

              You can also find San Marzano tomatoes (and all sorts of other wonderful goodies) at Tower Market on Portola and Teresita in San Francisco.

          2. re: Barry Kaufman

            In case you drop down this far to see this, Barry, I'm wondering if you saw the PBS show with Chrisopher Kimball regarding canned tomatoes? The Muir Glen were the favorites over the San Marzanos. I have since found several sources for S.M. but would have to agree that the Muir Glen whole tomatoes are richer, sweeter and more "tomatoey", and the fact that they are organic and much cheaper AND from CA is a big bonus. Have you tried them yet?

      2. I like Muir Glen chopped tomatoes for sauces.

        Deb H.

        1. Muir Glen makes good chopped tomatoes. The absolute best canned tomatoes I've found are Italian imported organic ones from a company called Bioitalia, sold in Whole Foods markets in the East. Not chopped though, and somewhat expensive, about $1.79 for a medium can.