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  1. RECOMMENDED - WINNER
  2. Muir Glen Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  3. “Reminds me of a real summer tomato,” said one taster about our favorite sample. No wonder: Its strong acidity and high level of sweetness made for flavor that was “vibrant” and “sweet in a natural way.” The addition of calcium chloride gave the tomatoes a “nice firm texture” that held up even after hours of simmering.
  4. $2.99 for 28 oz
  5.  
  6. RECOMMENDED
  7. Hunt’s Whole Plum Tomatoes
  8. Even after two hours of simmering in our long-cooked sauce, these calcium chloride–treated tomatoes were “meaty,” with “distinct shape.” A relatively high Brix value and low pH—an ideal combination for tomatoes—explained their “fruity,” “bright” flavors.
  9. $1.95 for 28 oz
  10.  
  11. RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
  12. Red Gold Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  13. These nicely “firm,” globe-shaped tomatoes shared the same low pH (i.e., strong acidity) as our favorite brand, but they lacked its sweetness. As a result, several tasters found them “a bit sharp,” even in the long-cooked sauce. Others liked the big acid punch, praising their “bright” flavor.
  14. $1.36 for 14.5 oz
  15.  
  16. RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
  17. Cento San Marzano Certified Peeled Tomatoes
  18. Although these non–DOP certified San Marzano tomatoes scored highest for sweetness, they lacked acidity, and tasters found their flavor merely “average”—even “untomatoey.” That said, they fared best of all the Italian brands, particularly because their texture “held up” relatively well in sauce.
  19. $3.79 for 28 oz
  20.  
  21. RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
  22. Bionaturae Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  23. Without calcium chloride, these Italian tomatoes were so “mushy” that they “tasted like sauce” before we had even cooked them. Their “sweet” flavor redeemed them for some tasters, but with only moderate acidity, they also tasted “flat.”
  24. $3.39 for 28.2 oz
  25.  
  26. RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
  27. San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes
  28. What’s in a name? In this case, not much. These impostor “San Marzano” tomatoes were grown domestically with seeds from Italy’s famous varietal. Some tasters picked up on their high level of sweetness and complimented them for it, but without equally high acidity, the tomatoes’ flavor was also “muted.”
  29. $3.99 for 28 oz
  30.  
  31. RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
  32. Rienzi Selected Italian Plum Tomatoes
  33. Tasters noticed this sample’s lack of calcium chloride in all three applications, describing the tomatoes as “mushy” and “border-line soupy.” Thanks to low acid and moderate sweetness, their flavor was middle-of-the-road: “fruity” and “light” but also “uninspired.”
  34. $1.95 for 28 oz
  35.  
  36. RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
  37. Eden Organic Whole Roma Tomatoes
  38. With the least amount of sweetness, not much acidity, and no added salt, these tomatoes didn’t “pack much punch.” Some tasters considered that effect pleasantly “clean” and “light,” whereas others complained that they offered “no real tomato flavor at all,” particularly in the long-simmered sauce.
  39. $3.79 for 28 oz
  40.  
  41. RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS
  42. Pastene San Marzano Tomatoes of Sarnese Nocerino Area D.O.P.
  43. We had high expectations for these pricey DOP-certified San Marzano tomatoes but came away disappointed. Because of low sweetness and acidity, their flavor translated as “weak” and “thin”—at best “clean” and “straightforward.” Like the other calcium chloride–free samples, they broke down easily.
  44. $4.53 for 28 oz
  45.  
  46. NOT RECOMMENDED
  47. Tuttorosso Peeled Plum Shaped Tomatoes
  48. We like a bit of firmness to our tomatoes, but thanks to their particularly thick flesh, these samples were “tough,” “chewy,” and “fibrous.” Worse, their low sweetness and acidity made them taste “muted,” “unbalanced,” and “nothing like summer tomatoes.”
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