San Marzano tomato

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San Marzano
San Marzano fruit
San Marzano fruit
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)
Type Heirloom
Vine Indeterminate
Plant height 6 feet (1.8 m)
Fruit Weight 4 ounces (110 g)
Leaf Regular leaf
Color Red (pink)
Shape Plum

San Marzano tomato, is a variety of plum tomato, considered by many chefs to be the best of its kind in the world.[1]


Compared to the Roma tomato, San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic. Many people[who?] describe the taste as bittersweet.

The San Marzano vines are indeterminate and have a somewhat longer season than other paste tomato varieties, making them particularly suitable for warmer climates. As is typical of heirloom plants, San Marzano is an open-pollinated variety that breeds true from generation to generation, making seed saving practical for the home gardener or farmer.

Commercial production and use[edit]

Amy P. Goldman calls the San Marzano "the most important industrial tomato of the 20th century"; its commercial introduction in 1926 provided canneries with a "sturdy, flawless subject, and breeders with genes they'd be raiding for decades."[2] Though commercial production of the San Marzano variety is most closely associated with Italy, seeds for the variety are available worldwide.[citation needed]. It is an heirloom variety.[3] Canned San Marzanos, when grown in the Valle del Sarno (valley of the Sarno) in Italy in compliance with Italian law, can be classified as Pomodoro S. Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino and have the EU "DOP" emblem on the label.

Brands available in supermarkets include Cento, Nina, La Bella, Solinia, Vantia, La Valle and Strianese.[citation needed] Most San Marzano tomatoes sold commercially are grown in Italy, though they are produced commercially in smaller quantities in other countries. Because of San Marzano's premium pricing, there is an ongoing battle against fraudulent product. On November 22, 2010,[citation needed] the Italian carabinieri confiscated 1,470 tons of canned tomatoes worth 1.2 million of improperly labeled product.

San Marzano tomatoes have been designated as the only tomatoes that can be used for Vera Pizza Napoletana (True Neapolitan Pizza).[4]


San Marzano tomatoes originate from the small town of San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. One story goes that the first seed of this tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area of San Marzano sul Sarno.[citation needed]

In the United States, San Marzano tomatoes are the genetic base for another popular paste tomato, the Roma tomato. The Roma is a cross between a San Marzano and two other varieties (one of which was also a San Marzano hybrid),[2] was introduced by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in 1955.[5]

Home gardening[edit]

San Marzano tomatoes can easily be grown in home gardens. Each plant can well produce as many as 2 dozen tomatoes, each of which can be as much as 1/4 of a pound in weight. The tomatoes will continue to grow well into the autumn. However, if you pick the tomatoes green because it is getting too cold to leave them on the plants, they will continue to ripen in the kitchen, and turn bright red, just as they would have done on the plant.

The tomatoes can be frozen for winter use. Just wash and dry them, and put small bunches well-sealed in plastic bags, such as sandwich bags. Take them out of the freezer a few minutes before cutting, run some hot water over them, and they will cut up easily with a sharp knife.

Seeds can be saved for planting the next year, as the variety does come true. The seeds will be viable for a few years, but longer if kept in the freezer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fearnley-Whitingstall, Hugh (September 19, 2009). "Red Alert: Tomato Recipes". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  2. ^ a b Phelan, Benjamin (August 30, 2012). "Awesome Sauce". Slate. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  3. ^ "San Marzano Tomato". Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Certify your pizzeria or restaurant and join the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana". Retrieved 2012-09-11. 
  5. ^ "History of Research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service". Agricultural Research Service. Retrieved 2012-09-11. 

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