We all know that great recipes start with great ingredients. But once you're at the grocery store, it can be tempting to just grab the cheapest item on the shelf. It may not look much different from all the other canned tomatoes—but all brands don't necessarily offer the same quality. That's why we rely on family-owned Tuttorosso tomatoes, the best-selling Italian-inspired canned tomatoes in the country. Here's a handy guide to help you identify the best canned tomatoes for yourself.
The first thing to study on a can of tomatoes is the ingredient list. Our hard and fast rule: Steer clear of the long ones! These are canned tomatoes, not tomato sauce, and the ingredient list should reflect that. Quality tomatoes should be naturally sweet, making additives like sugar and high fructose corn syrup unnecessary. The first ingredient should be tomatoes, plain and simple, which is what you'll find in Tuttorosso's Peeled Plum Style Tomatoes. The non-GMO label on the can doesn't hurt, either.
You can learn even more about the quality of your canned tomatoes once you open them up. The color of the tomatoes and juice should be the first thing that strikes you—vibrant and red, just like a fresh tomato. If the contents look muddy or murky, they'll probably taste that way, which is why Tuttorosso's motto is "Quality you can see leads to quality you can taste."
Packaging might not be the first thing on your mind when you're shopping for canned tomatoes, but it's an important consideration. Do some research to find companies that use linings free of BPA (bisphenol A). Linings provide other benefits, too, like locking in freshness. Tuttorosso uses linings that are non-BPA, -BPS and -BPF. They're also phthalate-free and designed specifically to preserve the fresh, vine-ripened tomato flavor without using preservatives.
Have you ever removed a tomato from a can and really looked at it? Turns out, you can learn a lot about quality this way. You're looking for a tomato that's firm but not hard, and tender but not mushy. Just because it's canned doesn't mean it can't be intact! (Read: That tomato should most definitely be intact.)
Your canned tomatoes should be so good and fresh, you could eat them straight from the can. They should have a bold acidity and a bright flavor without tasting tinny; a tartness that balances the natural, fruity sweetness of perfectly ripe tomatoes.