San Marzano Tomatoes are one of the most popular varieties of tomato in Italy. They have been grown commercially since the late 19th century. However, they were not widely cultivated until after World War II when demand was high due to rationing during WWII. Today, there are many varieties available with varying degrees of ripeness and flavor characteristics.
The name “San Marzano” comes from the town where the first commercial production took place in 1879. The variety was named after its founder, Giovanni Battista Marzani (1823–1905). In 1882, the name was changed to “Marzanosco”.
In 1909 it became known as “Battisti San Marzanosco”, which means ‘Tomato Family’ or ‘Tomato Growers’. In 1929 it was renamed “San Marzano Tomatoes” and in 1935, the name was changed again to “San Marzano Tomatoes” (which means ‘marzeno’ in Italian) because of the large number of small family owned farms that grew them.
In 1938, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designated San Marzano tomatoes as a national symbol and encouraged farmers to plant them in their fields so that they could be marketed under federal guidelines.
They were given the status of “processing” tomatoes, which are slightly different from “eating” tomatoes.
standard for a san marzano should be between 8 and 12 ounces, round (or ovoid), and have a thick skin. They have a classic guide line weight of 1½ to 2 pounds. A minimum of 8 seeds should be present and they should contain no less than 1% of soluble solids. The soluble solids are what give the tomato its sweetness.
These are considered to be the best tasting tomatoes you can get, even better than some “eating” or “gourmet” varieties. They are perfect for cooking because they have very little water content and do not break down when cooked, so they hold their shape. Because of this, it is important not to over-cook them because they become mushy and will turn to sauce.
They are great for pizza and pasta sauces.
Tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, which means they are related to eggplants, potatoes, and peppers. They have been grown in America since the early days of European settlement. They were first thought to be poisonous but Native Americans showed the settlers how to prepare them with enough oil, salt, and spices to make them safe to eat.
Tomatoes are low in calories and high in nutrients such as Vitamin C.
Tomatoes are a very healthy food. They have no cholesterol, very little fat, and a low sodium content. They also contain the antioxidant lycopene, which some studies have linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer as well as other health benefits.
They are related to the poisonous plants of the nightshade family. So it is very important that you don’t confuse them with the likes of the toxic, In Solenaceae (the potato family), which includes species such as belladonna (deadly nightshade), henbane, and mandrake. One way to remember this is by their flowers: all parts of a tomato are edible, so they have flowers (and surely you have seen those before).
Also, the leaves of a tomato plant are unlike most other nightshade family plants (though they do have a little bit of a similarity to the flowers).
Tomatoes are an important part of the cuisines of many countries. The ‘true’ Italian sauce, “Sugo alla Parmigiana” is made with tomatoes and typically served over pasta (typically ‘angel hair’). Another popular pasta sauce, ” arrabbiata ” features tomatoes and hot peppers.
In America, ketchup is a popular condiment made from tomatoes. The British serve tomatoes with the main meal, usually fried or in soup. In Greece, tomatoes are typically served over meat or fish.
In Eastern Europe, however, many people still believe that eating tomatoes is unhealthy.
Tomatoes contain antioxidants that can help prevent cancers in the prostate, lungs, and skin. Tomatoes also protect against prostate and skin cancers. Lycopene, a pigment in tomatoes, is what gives them their red color.
It also helps maintain a healthy heart and good vision. Lycopene helps protect the skin from UV rays and decreases the risk of skin cancer. Lycopene also strengthens cell membranes, which increases resistance to viruses.
Lycopene is fat soluble, meaning it is absorbed by fatty acids. It is therefore more beneficial to take lycopene with a small amount of fat, such as in oil or butter.
There are several types of tomatoes available.
Plum Tomatoes: are more full-bodied and rich. They are best for sauces because they break down well.
Roma Tomatoes: have fewer seeds and less water, so they are perfect for salads. They also work well for cooking, as they don’t disintegrate when heated.
Campari Tomatoes: have a sweet taste and are perfect for salads or sandwiches with mayonnaise and salt.
What is a Tomato?
Tomatoes are one of the most popular foods in the world. This is because they have a lot of benefits and nutrients, such as Vitamin C and Lycopene. People have been domesticating tomatoes for thousands of years and there are many different types, such as beefsteak, plum, cherry, and grape tomatoes.
Tomatoes have grown wild in South America, Mexico, and Central America for thousands of years. Spanish explorers brought them back to Europe, where they quickly became popular because of their delicious taste.
In 1780, a botanist named Anders Nilsen changed the tomato’s original name from nightshade to the scientific name “Solanum Lycopersicum,” which means “wolf peach.” It became known more commonly as Lycopersicum. English immigrants to America renamed it “love apple,” which was eventually changed to the word that we know today: tomato.
Lycopersicum comes from the Latin “Lyco” meaning “wolf,” and “Percosum” meaning “mouth.” This is because the leaves of the nightshade resemble a wolf’s mouth.
One thing that people do not realize about tomatoes is that they are poisonous. This is because they contain a poison called solanine. In 1820, English scientist John Edword Lea caused an uproar when he claimed that tomatoes were poisonous.
He even claimed that the reason why William Cobbett (a radical English pamphleteer who lived between 1763 and 1835) had died was because he had eaten nothing but tomatoes for three weeks!
Tomatoes are included in the biological family “Solanaceae” along with potatoes, eggplants, chili peppers, and about 2,500 other species. The name “nightshade” is common for these types of plants because their flowers usually bloom at night.
Tomatoes originated in South America around the Andes Mountains. They have been grown in Mexico and Central America since about 7,000 B.C.E.
Tomatoes were not eaten in Europe until the sixteenth century, where they were cultivated as ornamental plants. It was not until the nineteenth century that they began to be eaten as food, and even then it was only the poor who ate them on a regular basis. One theory for this is that people felt that they were poisonous because they belonged to the nightshade family of plants.
It wasn’t until the twentieth century that they became a common food item in most places in the world.
The largest tomato plant on record is one grown in South Africa that was over 30 feet tall!
In 2007, the heaviest tomato weighed in at just over 11 pounds. It was even entered into the Guinness Book of World Records!
Selection and Storage
Tomatoes can be found all year round, although their taste and nutritional value varies by season. They are most nutritious when they are in season and freshly picked. They do not need to be refrigerated.
Tomatoes can be stored for a short period of time by putting them into a paper bag. This will help them stay fresh for about a day. Do not store them in plastic as this will make them sweat and get mushy.
If you need to store tomatoes for a longer period of time, you should slice or quarter them and put them into water. They will last about five days this way.
For maximum taste and nutrition it is best to eat them as soon as possible after purchase.
If you need to extend the usability of your tomatoes even further, you can freeze them in order to preserve their taste and nutrients.
Preparation and Serving Suggestions
Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be eaten by themselves or with a meal. They can be used as a sauce or ingredient in many foods.
Here are a few ideas for serving tomatoes:
Sliced tomatoes make for a great side to most any meal. They can liven up even the most mundane of salads. Try mixing different types of tomatoes to make an even tastier salad.
Green and purple ones mixed with red ones, for example, make a great presentation and have great taste as well.
If you have a garden, growing your own tomatoes is a great idea. Even if you don’t have a garden, they are fairly easy to grow in pots and containers. You can then stuff your fresh grown tomatoes with various types of cheese and herbs for a delicious snack that is also high in nutrition.
You can make your own tomato juice by crushing ripe tomatoes and straining out the seeds and pulp. You can then add salt and pepper to taste. One word of caution: unless you grew the tomatoes yourself, it is always best to be sure the tomato plant was free from pesticides or other chemicals before using the fruit.
If you like a little bit of a smoky taste with your tomatoes, then try baking them. Cut the tops off of your tomatoes and remove the insides. You can do this with either ripe or unripe tomatoes.
If you use ripe tomatoes, then they will need less time in the oven. You can mix up the flavor by adding herbs and vegetables to the inside of the tomatoes before baking them.
Fried Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are not often thought of as a food to eat. However, they have a tart flavor that can be appealing when fried or baked. Cut potatoes into slices around 1/2 inch thick and then fry them in oil until they are golden brown on each side.
Then season to taste and enjoy.
To roll tomatoes, start by slicing the tomato in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pulp. Next, take a slice of cheese (such as cheddar) and lay it across the inside of the tomato.
Add salt and pepper to taste and either roll them up tightly or fold them over. Cook them in an oven at around 375 degrees for around 10 to 15 minutes.
Escabeche of Tomatoes
Escabeche is a Spanish dish of pickled vegetables. Any type of vegetable can be used, but this recipe calls for tomatoes. The tart taste of the tomatoes adds a nice flavor when combined with the other ingredients of the dish.
It is a must for any tapas feast!
Boil garlic cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns and oil in a saucepan for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes. Slice the tomatoes in half and add them to the saucepan.
Let this mixture cook until it starts to thicken. Add white wine, cover the pot and simmer for about 2 hours. Remove from heat and let cool.
Select ripe tomatoes and peel them. Crush them while adding salt and sugar to taste. Pass this mixture through a sieve, then boil it until it becomes thick.
Add spices and vinegar, then put it in clean bottles.
Sauces with Tomatoes
Tomatoes can be used in many different types of sauces. They can be added to other sauces or they can be the main ingredient for the sauce. One of the most popular sauces to use with pasta is tomato based sauce, so that gives you lots of choices for different types of tomatoes to use.
You can make a basic tomato sauce by simmering tomatoes, garlic and onions in a pot on the stove. If you want to give it a little kick, you can add some chili peppers or paprika. Use this sauce with any type of pasta you like.
It’s especially good with fettuccine or shell shaped pasta.
Ragout is another type of thick stew that can be made with tomatoes as a main ingredient. It also usually includes carrots, onions, celery and other root vegetables. This is a hearty dish that works well with potatoes or any type of meat.
Catsup is a condiment that is typically made from tomatoes. In the old days ketchup was primarily used as a sauce for fish but today it is used more as a general purpose condiment for anything you might be eating.
For those of you that love Mexican food, you can spice up your favorite dishes by making your own salsa. This is typically a condiment that is used to add flavor and spice to dishes. It comes in many different varieties, so feel free to get creative with this one!
Sources & references used in this article:
Color Mutations Alter the Biochemical Composition in the San Marzano Tomato Fruit by G Dono, JL Rambla, S Frusciante, A Granell, G Diretto… – Metabolites, 2020 – mdpi.com
Anatomical aspects of blossom-end rot in the tomato with special reference to calcium nutrition by A Spurr – Hilgardia, 1959 – hilgardia.ucanr.edu
Tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.) grown in experimental contaminated soil: Bioconcentration of potentially toxic elements and free radical … by C Piscitelli, M Lavorgna, R De Prisco, E Coppola… – PloS one, 2020 – journals.plos.org