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San Marzano Puree in Northern NJ?

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I can find peeled San Marzanos just about anywhere, but I've been scouring the state for the puree to no avail.

Corrados (Clifton) used to carry it, but stopped because the distributor was 'charging them too much.' That does tell me, though, that someone is distributing it at least.

I tried pureeing the peeled ones, but it ending up being a huge hassle and involved too much waste.

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  1. my understanding, and it could very well be wrong, is that the DOP tomatoes in the US are packed in tomato puree, rather than juice, to avoid taxes on the import of vegetables, rather than sauce. so, just buy the DOP tomatoes, take out the tomatoes and use them for something else, and you're left with puree.

    regardless, i've found that it's more about taste than designation. i would question if DOP puree is really better than non-DOP puree. i've done blind tastings, and i've found non-DOP brands to be more to my liking in cooked and uncooked applications. something to consider, perhaps.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tommy

      San Marzano's are supposed to be packed in puree, but, with the brands I've purchased, the puree was a lot more like juice.

      As far as the taste goes, the few times that I have gone through the trouble of pureeing the San Marzanos the taste was noticeably brighter/sweeter than the Cento puree that I normally use.

      Now, I'm not cocoa for cocoa puffs over Cento. I only use Cento because, from what I can tell, it's the only supermarket available puree that's not a reconstituted paste. At least, from the non organic stuff (I'm not paying organic prices). I love paste for certain sauces, but, if I'm reaching for puree, it's because I want something as uncooked tasting as possible.

      So, I'm open to other brands, they just have to be unreconstituted and non organic. With this in mind, can you steer me towards some of these non-DOP brands that you prefer?

      1. re: scott123

        Pick up a box of Pomi strained tomatoes (the stuff in the box from Parmalat) and see what you think. I've been a big fan of this stuff for years. It's bright, doesn't taste cooked, and actually tastes like tomatoes. Great for pizza, if you want a bright sauce. I also like Muir Glen products. Not sure if that's in your price range though.

        I don't know that DOP suggests that San Marzano tomatoes are supposed to be packed in puree. I think, again, that this is a cost savings issue when exporting them. Regardless, if it ain't good then it ain't good! Contrary to what people might have us believe, seeing "San Marzano DOP" on a label is no guarantee that you're going to like what's in the can.

        1. re: tommy

          Sorry, let me clarify- the San Marzano's that I buy are supposed to be packed in puree (according to the label), but what's in the can is juice.

          I'll give Pomi a shot, and, maybe if I can find a good sale on Muir Glen, I'll try that too. Thanks.