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Canned Tomatoes

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Today I saw some San Marzano tomatoes that were canned about two years ago, in 2005. That seems like a long time for tomatoes to be in a can, especially an unlined tinned can. Would the acid in the tomatoes react with the inside of the can after being in contact with it for so long? There are some canned good that I get that come in lined cans, which makes me feel a little more comfortable. Any comments on this? Is two years in the can a acceptable, regardless if the can is lined or unlined? What about in glass?

Shel
post #2 of 20
When in doubt,throw it out... :)
When in doubt..Throw it out!
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When in doubt..Throw it out!
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
I didn't buy the tomatoes, I only saw them on the shelf, so there's nothing to "throw out.". However, your clever (and correct) comment does nothing to answer my questions.

Shel
post #4 of 20
I didnt mean to be a smart ***** on that last post..Is the can bulgingor dented?The can is 2yrs old and might be bad,so to me the only real way to find out is to open it..:D
When in doubt..Throw it out!
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When in doubt..Throw it out!
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post #5 of 20
shel,I would think that if i'ts on the shelf it should be allright.1905 is not very old and the safty factor at that time would be well regulated.I'm surprised that there is no use by date.does the can say that it is unlined? that's hard to imagine due to usda canning regulations. now I would use them and if I got sick I'd own the store..lol...good cookin...cookie
post #6 of 20
1905???:lol: That's old!
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
These cans are from Italy, and I know nothing of their regulations and safety standards. However, there are a couple of brands, Muir Glen and Bionaturae (from Italy), that specifically mention that their cans are lined, and the difference between the interior of their cans and the interior of cans from other brands is very obvious. Muir Glen and Bionaturae have a white, smooth interior while other brands appear to have an uncoated grey metal interior. I'm not saying that the other cans don't offer some protection from the acid - they must, I'm sure - but I just don't know the quality and durability of that protection.

I didn't notice a "use by" date, although it may have been on the can somewhere. Anyway, I have been trying to limit my tomato purchases to those in lined cans or in glass, at least until my comfort level about "unlined" cans has been raised. Still, I have been using a variety of San Marzano tomatoes to see which ones taste the best and provide the best value. It has been, overall, a wonderful experiment :lips: All the tomatoes, regardless of the can, have been far and away superior to any tomatoes canned or packed in the US.

Shel
post #8 of 20
Totally agree Shel, San Marzano tomatoes canned in Italy are the only ones in my cupboard, in fact they are superior in flavour to fresh IMO 99% of the time. More expensive but oh so worth it. Can't put a price on top quality ingredients!:smiles:
post #9 of 20
all foods in italy have a sell-by date, even canned goods. Note that the date would be in european style numbers (day, month, year) and it might say "da consumarsi preferibilmente entro" which may then have the date or may refer you to the bottom of the can or something.
HOWEVER since as far as i know, in the states, canned goods have no sell-by date requirement, the cans they export to the states may not have this.
Moral of the story, vote for people who want to put dates on food!!!
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 20
Some foods canned in the U.S. do have a "use by" or "best by" date. Broth is one example (both canned and boxed) but I've seen it on some canned meats and vegetables too.
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post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
One of the things I noticed is that US tomatoes generally are packed with calcium chloride and have a much higher salt content than the San Marzano and similar tomatoes. None of the Italian tomoatoes I've used show calcium chloride as an ingredient. Both US and Italian have citric acid on the ingredient list. The Italian tomatoes all have a salt content of about 1/10th that of the US tomatoes, maybe even less in some instances.

When I first tasted an Italian San Marzano tomato I had to get used to the lower salt content. In some way the tomatoes seemed "weaker" in flavor than the US tomatoes I'd been using (Muir Glen). But once I realized that I was tasting tomatoes rather than excessive salt, I got a better understanding of what a really good canned tomato should taste like.

And this leads to a somewhat off-topic annoyance I have with Cook's Illustrated. Some time back they did a taste test of canned tomatoes. In fact, they did the test twice. They only compared US grown and canned tomatoes, IIRC - in any case, there was no mention of San Marzano tomatoes. They ended up recommending Progresso tomatoes in both tests. Those tomatoes pale in comparison to any of the Italian tomatoes I've tried. You'd think that, as a venue for testing and recommending ingredients, CI would look further afield than the local supermarket or only US brand tomatoes. I'd think cooks, especially those that read and subscribe to the magazine, are willing to look for better quality ingredients, and while not every market in every area might carry San Marzano tomatoes, they can certainly be purchased on line for those who are interested in expanding their experience with tomatoes, which are such a staple in so many types of cooking and so many recipes.

OK, I'll get off my soap box now ;-))

Shel
post #12 of 20
You can also get crap San Marzano tomatoes. I've been suckered in a few times. Muir Glen Fire Roasted Choice tomatoes are my fav. canned tomato. Cost a fortune but I never regret it.

--Al
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
I suppose you can, although I've not yet encountered real San Marzanos (DOP) that were anything but superb. I always have a few cans of the Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes on hand, but find them to be inferior to true San Marzanos, however, they are good and they have a place in my cooking. There are some "counterfeit" San Marzano tomatoes on the market - there's a brand called San Marzano in a white can with nice, bright, red San Marzano tomatoes on the label. They are domestic tomatoes grown in California. They are nowhere near the quality of real San Marzanos.

I don't know where you're located, but around here the Muir Glen tomatoes aren't that much more expensive than, say, Progresso.

Shel
post #14 of 20
slightly off topic - i was in san marzano once. It is a tomato town, with truckloads of tomatoes, open trucks with mounds of red tomatoes in the back (not in boxes or anything), coming in to the canning plants. It was incredibly hot that day and there were can covers embedded in the pavement! (you know, when the asphalt gets hot and half melts and anything pressed into it by truck tires gets embedded.
However, also a very depressing and economically depressed place.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #15 of 20
I've never been much for canned tomato's but ever since local stores started selling "vine ripened " tomato's with the stems still on-which were pretty good at first, it now seems nothing I buy has hardly any flavor at all, I grew up eating tomato's like an apple as well as in salads, soups etc.,and now that I live in an apartment, I can't grow my own. It seem that whatever I get only adds color but not much else. I read the thing Cooks reviewed but haven't tried them yet, mostly I miss tomato's in salads.
Jannie:(
post #16 of 20
Hi Jannie,
there is one thing people forget about tomatoes. They are a seasonal fruit. You can hybrid (and genetically modify) foods to grow out of season, to have the color that is appealing in the store, to keep and to transport easily, but if you want a good tomato, you have to wait for summer (or spring, anyway, depending on your area) and they have to be locally grown. I'm sure you didn;lt eat tomatoes like an apple in the winter off your vine unless you live in some tropical climate, and even then, i think there are still growing seasons.
Forget tomatoes in salad in winter. They'll taste all the better if you wait for summer and eat them then, after waiting all that time. If you need to cook with them, buy canned. If you want to eat them, try to buy from someone who grows them locally. Otherwise they won;t be good.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #17 of 20
Tinned tomatoes are a basic staple in our pantry, particularly when they are out of season. The tomato shaped things you get in the fruit and veg dept have no taste at all. And they're a good short cut, and generally picked and packed in season, so are much a preferred alternative.

Shel - hard to tell if they'd be any good by now, depends on the can lining. There's no use by dates on cans here either
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #18 of 20
Shel,

Yeah, I think I've been taken by "fraudulant" tomatos. I know, read the lable...

I'm in Ontario, Canada and Muir Glen products run about $4.00 a can, about 2.5 times the coast of "decent" grocery store tomatoes.

We're on the cusp of fresh tomatoes here. Every day off I'm at the local farmers market just praying for the good stuff. Can't wait!

--Al
post #19 of 20
Spam attempt
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Check out where those tomatoes come from. Many are shipped from the Netherlands, some come in from Mexico, some have been hydroponically farmed in the US ... all are insipid pretenders, IMO.

Shel
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