San Marzano Tomato Taste Test

After maligning the San Marzano tomato in my last post, an update seems in order.
Following a thorough and deep watering, the vine may not have tomato blight or cucumber mosaic virus or whatever ailments a tomato succumbs to. My mom may have simply neglected to water deeply. Time will tell. In the meantime, a few green ones were picked and ripened in the kitchen for a few days.
MB Maher did the photographic honors and insists the tomato taste test turned into a pretty peppy party, if not an alliterative disaster.


Bred for sauces rather than for eating fresh, San Marzanos typically have fewer seeds and are meatier, less juicy.
Indeed, not a drop of tomato juice was spilled.


Some devotees of the San Marzano tomato claim that its unique flavor cannot truly be replicated outside of its native volcanic soil near the village of San Marzano in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.


With no basis for comparison, and not having been blessed with the most refined palate, yet even I noticed the unmistakably sweet rather than typically acidic tomato taste. However, the round shape is atypical compared to photo references of the San Marzano, which shows a more elongated, cylindrical shape. Also famed for being easy to peel, I completely forgot to do a peel test and ate every last slice.


If the rest of the crop makes it, there will be sauce!

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7 Responses to San Marzano Tomato Taste Test

  1. Kathy says:

    Hooray ! I grew San Marzanos when I lived in San Diego back in the olden days. I made Marinara Sauce from the bounty. Wish I had planted any tom at all this year , I’m going broke buying them .

  2. Grace says:

    Hi Denise, Oh, to have a fresh tomato…. we’re still weeks away from such endeavors so spying yours is truly a treat. I love a meaty [among other things] tomato. 🙂 I’ll have to be on the lookout for this gem up here. Per my blog: Sorry about your Stachys. They really are thirsty plants. One of the benefits of all the cool temps and rain this year is the performance of this plant. I’ll admit that some years it hardly looks this good and later in the season, ick. Perhaps you could grow yours in part shade near the faucet?

  3. Denise says:

    Kathy, you’re way ahead of me! I’d never heard of this tomato until this year.
    Grace, for some reason I thought that Hummelo stachys would be okay with moderate to dry soil. I’ll either move it or give it away in the fall 😉

  4. I love San Marzanos and have grown them in past years with pretty good luck. But I do remember the fruit as elongated, so maybe your first few are just an anomaly. Or might they have been mis-marked wherever you got them, and they are another variety altogether? Whichever, I’m jealous: Portland has no tomatoes in home gardens yet, though they are showing up at the farmer’s markets. Enjoy!

  5. Randy says:

    Never heard of this tomato before, will be looking for them next year.. We have a lot of romas coming on should be picked by the weekend. Romas make good sauce but these sound so much better. A few days ago I picked 4-5 Cherokee Purple tomatoes that weighted over a pound each, best sandwich tomato I know of.

  6. hb says:

    Gorgeous photos!

  7. mprinci says:

    Nice looking pix, but they sure don’t look like San Marzanos. Mine are almost tubular or even rectangular. Mine aren’t very tasty when raw, but wonderful when cooked. Very disease resistant too.

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