So from our local Safeway, I bought four different canned diced tomatoes. We opened them and tasted them, and wow! what a difference!
Two were just terrible, tasting thin, metallic, and with a bitter chemical aftertaste. Two were quite delicious. All four brands listed the same exact ingredients on the can label: tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, calcium chloride, and citric acid.
From worst to best:
- Hunt's Diced Tomatoes
- Safeway's Petite Diced Tomatoes
- Muir Glenn Organic Diced Tomatoes
- Hunt's Petite Diced Tomatoes
Mrs Elliott and I disagreed about whether the Muir's Glenn or the Hunt's Petite was the best. The MG had a sweet, ripe tomato taste which she preferred, the Hunt's Petites were brighter-tasting, like fresh toms, a taste I prefer. A quibble, they were both quite good.
Next time I make something that needs canned toms, I'm going to re-do the test to see if these rankings still hold. There might be batch-to-batch variations and given how terrible the two worst tasted, one should confirm that the toms taste good before using. They're cheap, anyway, so it's not a big deal to dump a couple cans if they don't make the grade.
Oh -- the cacciatore was delicious. I used my new stainless steel saute pan and it was a pleasure to cook with, and cleaned easily.