San Marzano tomatoes are small with an elongated and thin, oval shape, similar in appearance to a roma tomato, but with a pointed tip. The skin is smooth, dark red, easy-to-peel, and taut with a slight give when pressed. Underneath the skin, the flesh is thick, dense, and bright red with a semi-firm consistency. Within the flesh, there are also only two seed chambers filled with a few small seeds, which is unique from other varieties that typically contain four to five chambers. San Marzano tomatoes have a low-moisture content with a mild acidity, creating a sweet, rich, and complex, jammy flavor.
San Marzano tomatoes are ideal for making sauces due to their elongated shape, minimal seeds, firm flesh, and lower juice content. The sweet and mild variety can be roasted or cooked on the stovetop for use in pasta, pizzas, lasagnas, or ragus. It can also be used fresh for sandwiches, bruschetta, and salads, sliced thin and baked into a savory tart, or drizzled with olive oil and roasted. Beyond fresh applications, San Marzano tomatoes are famously canned and develop a soft texture when preserved. It is important to note that authentic and certified, canned San Marzano tomatoes are found peeled and are in whole or fillet form, not diced. In addition to canning, San Marzano tomatoes can also be dried and ground into a powder or made into a tomato paste for extended use. San Marzano tomatoes pair well with herbs such as basil, parsley, and oregano, cheeses such as mozzarella and goat, rich meats such a beef, veal, garlic, onions, and balsamic vinegar. Once ripe, San Marzano tomatoes will keep 2-3 days at room temperature. Cooked or sliced fresh tomatoes should be stored in a sealed container and kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.