Canned tomatoes are a staple ingredient for me, and for most of you too. I have a whole drawer in my pantry dedicated to various tomato products.
But somehow, I’d never given much thought to the differences in quality of those products. Until now.
Red Gold sent me a product cutting kit to test their whole, peeled tomatoes against Hunt’s brand. I took a bunch of photos so you can see the difference.
The first thing I did was open the Red Gold can. The photo above is exactly as it was when I opened it. Four nice looking, whole tomatoes were near the top. The media (juice) looked red and I noticed a good tomato scent.
I poured the Red Gold tomatoes into the provided pan. All the tomatoes were whole and looked very good. There was one tomato that was much smaller than the others, but overall they were uniform in size.
Next I opened the Hunt’s can. This is exactly what it looked like when I opened it. I couldn’t see any whole tomatoes at the top of the can. The media (juice) looked thick and red though.
I poured the Hunt’s can into the pan. There were a few whole tomatoes, but many were squished.
Above is a side-by-side photo so you can see the differences.
On the Red Gold score sheet, there are five different ratings for appearance. Each is rated on a scale of five, with 1 being poor and 5 being extraordinary.
Red Color of Tomatoes
The brighter the hue of red, the higher the score. I gave both Red Gold and Hunt’s a score of 4 on this.
Uniformity of the Size of Tomatoes
The less variation in size, the higher the score. I gave Red Gold 5 on this. Hunt’s earned 3. It was hard to tell if the Hunt’s tomatoes were uniform in size, because many of them were squished or in pieces.
The more firm the tomatoes look, the higher the score. Red Gold earned 5. Hunt’s earned 2.
Amount of Peel and Seeds Present in Sample
The less peel and seeds, the higher the score. Red Gold earned 5, because I saw no peel or seeds. Hunt’s earned 1. On of the Hunt’s tomatoes still had most of the peel on it. Another had a significant amount of peel. I also saw many seeds in the Hunt’s.
The red and thick juice is the media. The better the color and consistency, the higher the score. This is the only indicator that Hunt’s may have edged out Red Gold. Hunt’s media was very thick and red, almost like tomato sauce. I gave it a rating of 4. Red Gold’s media looked good, but it is a bit thinner and lighter than Hunt’s. I gave it a score of 3.
The final two ratings on the score sheet are for flavor. For this rating, a tomato from each can is cut in half. Notice the appearance, then taste for flavor.
The flavor of Red Gold tomatoes is very good. It’s bright and not far off from a fresh picked tomato.
Hunt’s tomatoes did not taste good. I was pretty surprised by how badly they tasted. There was a distinct metallic taste. They tasted like an old can. Not good.
Intensity of Tomato Flavor
The more tomato flavor, the higher the score. Red Gold earned a score of 5. Hunt’s earned a score of 2.
Tomatoes should taste garden fresh without any off notes. Red Gold earned 5 here. I could easily eat a plate of these by themselves. I gave Hunt’s a score of 1. They just really weren’t good.
Red Gold – 32
I was very surprised at the difference between the brands.
Red Gold is Non GMO certified and uses a Non-BPA Liner for their cans. Both of these add to the quality of the tomatoes.
Have you ever tried Red Gold tomatoes? The next time you open a can, take a bite before adding them to your recipe. I’d love to know what you think.
Disclosure: Red Gold sent me the product cutting kit. I have been compensated by Red Gold for this post, however all opinions are my own.