How to use canned, whole tomatoes when making tomato sauce?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by inaweofchefs, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. inaweofchefs

    inaweofchefs

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    Recipes very drastically on how to prep canned, whole tomatoes prior to using them in sauce.  I've seen recipes that say cored and seeded, other say just cored, some just dice or tear them (ignoring any cores or seeds), and often they are pulverized in a food processor (presumably this sufficiently breaks down any cores and seeds?).

    So, how should canned, whole tomatoes be prepared for making tomato sauce?

    Also, what is your preferred canned tomato product (or combination of products) for making tomato sauces? (like for pasta)

    Thanks and happy new year! 
     
  2. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    It's very simple. In summer I use fresh tomatoes, in winter canned ones.

    Second, there are canned whole tomatoes but also canned chunks of tomatoes. Don't bother buying the whole ones, they will break apart when cooking anyway, so you might as well use canned chunks. Same taste but cheaper. I don't care for brands, when it says "made in Italy" on the back, they're mine.

    Simplicity works best when making a tomato sauce. I sweat a shallot and some cloves of garlic, add canned tomatoes with the juice, s&p, pinch of dried oregano, fresh chopped herbes if available (and/or basil, parcely, savory...thyme). Let simmer for 30-45 minutes. Done. If you prefer smooth sauce, mix. Here's a dish made with tomatosauce like that. Tiny meatballs poached (...oh yes!!!) in water first; taste and digest 10x better than fried meatballs. Then add to the sauce and homemade mashed potatoes. What else tastes better?

    [​IMG]
     
  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've run a knife back and forth in the opened can. I've seen others use kitchen scissors right in the opened can. I've seen them poured out and a potato masher used to break them up. I've seen them squished and broken in the hand (best to drive a finger to center of the tomato first or it will squirt juice with this method).

    They all work just fine.

    I tend to buy crushed tomatoes for sauce purposes as the break up is already handled. I think you get more solids with the crushed tomatoes over whole peeeled tomatoes. And the crushed are usually packed in puree, not juice, again giving you more solids for the sauce.
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Big US brand, canned, whole tomatoes, like Hunt's and Contadina to name just two, are quite good; certainly good enough not to hurt anything.  San Marzano tomatoes from Italy are better -- as good as you can get. If you're not using fresh or San Marzano, I agree with Phatch about using crushed tomatoes for sauces.  Phatch is a smart fellow.

    If there's a lot of pulp and seeds in a canned tomato, pick it up in your hand, give it a gentle squeeze over the sink, and the pulp and seeds will shoot out.  If there are seeds in the juice, strain it in a sieve just fine enough to catch them.

    The tomatoes available in US supermarkets -- even at the height of the season, which isn't very well defined in SoCal -- are often picked too firm and green; and while they're color might improve, texture and taste are another matter.  Some of "my" markets have good, fresh tomatoes nine months a year, and some never.  Great market or not, it's not much trouble to check.  I choose fresh tomatoes, one by one, by smell and by touch, and if they don't measure up I buy canned. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  5. siduri

    siduri

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    The only kind of canned (or bottled, as they often are here) tomatoes i don;t like are when they;re pureed so much they seem like babyfood.  I like a little texture in my sauce.  There's a type here called "vellutata" (velvety) and i find the sauce they make unpleasant. 

    I usually use whatever they have in the brand i like (which is Valleverde, not sure if they import these), whole, chopped cubes, puree, just not their vellutata. 

    They've already been cooked if they're canned and so they break down, as others have said, even if they;re whole. 

    I don;t have any problem with the seeds, so i don;t remove them (but i never spit out grape seeds or even watermelon seeds, i just avoid chewing them, so i may be an exception). 

    The only exception to this is canned tiny round tomatoes (pachino) which can be wonderful or can have VERY bitter seeds. 
     
  6. iceman

    iceman

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    Not in any order, my favorite brands include these. I chose based on time, cost (who's paying), availability, and/or other such things. 

    Muir Glen, Red Gold, Cento San Marzano, DeLallo San Marzano, Unico San Marzano, Costco's San Marzano, 6-in-1 All Purpose Tomatoes. 

    They're all, in my opinion, high-quality products. On any given day, regardless of sales, there can be some serious price differences. 
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    San Marzano tomatoes from Italy are better -- as good as you can get.

    What, exactly, makes them better, BDL? Taste? Texture? Proportion of pulp to sees & cores?

    Or merely the fact that they're faddish?

    According to the Consorzio San Marzano (which is the San Marzano Tomato Consotium), at least 95% of tomatoes sold in America that are identified as being San Marzano, aren't. So, have you been reacting to the taste and texture of what's in that can? Or just to the fact is says "San Marzano" on the outside.

    When you can, in a blind taste test, tell the difference between any so-called San Marzano and other canned tomatoes, especially in something like a red sauce, then tout them. Otherwise, it ill behooves you to perpetrate these culinary myths.
     
  8. iceman

    iceman

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    San Marzano tomatoes are what they are, a product of a specific region. They look different and have a superior flavor. For that, you pay what you pay. Simple business. 

    [​IMG]  [​IMG]  [​IMG]  [​IMG]

    San Marzano tomatoes, a variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best sauce tomatoes in the world.

    [​IMG]  [​IMG]

    "Red Alert: Tomato Recipes"
     
  9. xerp

    xerp

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    I would rather pay for those tomatoes fresh than buy them in a freaking can after they have already lost their flavor... I will do what i do now and buy a decent brand since nobody can seem to tell the difference half the time if my product is a turd or phenomenal.. I would never serve a turd but I wonder sometimes what I could sell in this day and age.. If my geusts raved about it and noticed a difference I would for sure change but they dont unfortunately.. I struggled with this issue for so long wanting to make everything from scratch.. but in this area 80 - 90% of people really dont notice... Although I do make 90% of things from scratch I dont understand why I have never seen anyone with a real palette. even doing special requested dinners for people who have the money in this town and "Supposedly" know what their talking about.... maybe its the same all over though maybe its just a chef thing.
     
  10. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I like Red Pack or Hunts. But the commercial one made for food service. They come in #10 cans or  6 pound  pouches  only  and are different then the retail pack cans sold in supermarkets.
     
  11. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    Since climatically, Spain and Italy are quite similar to each other, I am able to get luscious Pomodoro fresh that is fresh aromatic Plum variety tomatoes. Nothing like a ripe juicy aromatic and fresh plum tomato ... I use a bit of canned sauce as a paste or thickener depending on the dish I am making and the same brand Siduri does or Barilla which also makes Italian linguini, macaroni etcetra.  
     
  12. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    @ Iceman,

    Awesome fotos ... Gorgeous pomodori ...
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Any of the ways you mentioned works fine.  I doubt that you could get us into a heated debate over which way to prep whole canned tomatoes lol.  Me?  I stick them in the pan and use spoon, fork or masher to mash the daylights out of it.  More often than not I buy crushed or diced tomatoes and save myself the hassle.

    Muir Glen is my favorite, especially the fire roasted crushed or diced.  I've never been impressed with cans of san marzano from the italian grocers.  I always regret buying them.  Red Pack is also a decent brand as is contadina or Hunts in a pinch.  But Muir Glen meets all my expectations in a canned tomato product.
     
  14. siduri

    siduri

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    Actually, Xerp, often the fresh ones, especially in places that haven't got the wonderful volcanic earth and the long days of sun of san marzano, are probably less tasty and even the real ones will only be at their peak in a REALLY short period of the year.  That's why they've been canned since canning existed. 

    It may surprise many people to know that italians, especially those who are really concerned with good eating and "genuine" foods (as they call them) and usually those living in the country and raising tomatoes and other stuff, will can their own.  Actually they use beer bottles and do hundreds of bottles during the peak of the season when tomatoes are too good to be true.  They have a camping stove burner outside with gigantic pots and put newspaper between the bottles, and the old system was to put corks in the bottles and tie the corks down with strings.  But many have their own beer can top press (none of the beer cans here have screw on tops).  My mother in law used to pay this family in the country that worked a farm to make their bottled tomatoes, and i can tell you they were amazing.  Here's what the process looks like:

    http://finefoods.ecodelgusto.com/jo...stosa-della-gastronomia-tipica-siciliana.html

    In a sauce, you'll be cooking the fresh tomatoes anyway, and so cooking them to can them is not going to lose their freaking flavor any more than will be lost when you pick them green enough to transport. 
    Not sure about the others but the last ones are definitely not san marzanos.  Not to be picky...

    Koukouvagia, one more thing we have in common.  My mother had done an extensive research of tomato brands and ended up choosing muir glen as a first choice and red pack as a second.  Sometimes the best thing is to take the best of the local ingredients than the crappy stuff that is exported from countries that like to keep the best for themselves!
     
  15. iceman

    iceman

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    The last pic of tomatoes in a bowl just goes along w/ the story. It's the dish from the included article. Now maybe if you had read the article before making your comment, you would have been aware of that. Then again, maybe not. 

    Quote:
    LOL. Stop yourself. This general crowd would have a heated debate over pouring a glass of water. 

    Quote:
    palette may refer to:
    • Palate, the roof of the mouth
    • Pallet, a holder for goods for use with a forklift
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  16. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    A) Why must all your posts include creative text, graphics, and enclosed articles?  Am I supposed to read every article you post?  Why not just say what you want to say, a picture book and references is not always necessary when having a conversation. 

    B) We might debate a little here but that's how this community is.  No reason to put us down.

    C) Wow, you googled the word palate.  Impressive.
     
  17. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Q.E.D.!
     
  18. xerp

    xerp

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    Well I am actually very fortunate to have local grown very good tomatoes almost all year round, only thing I used the canned stuff for is salsa, and cocktail sauce really... lol and thats about it. The only reason I use canned for the salsa is because its free on our menu.. (Owner decision not mine trust me) But I do Charge 8 Bucks for Fresh Pico, and 12 Bucks for fresh Guacamole. Which is made fresh to order so i can go cheap on the salsa.. I dont care though since I think its stupid considering we are American/New Mexico/French Influenced.. Casual Fine Dining... oh well pick your battles I geuss
     
  19. iceman

    iceman

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    Why must people entirely quote very large posts at all, even more so in the very next post?

    My posts include "creative text, graphics, and enclosed articles" because that's the way I do it. Silly me though, that I would expect someone to read what I post before making any comment about the body of my post. Reading a post before commenting is just maybe a little bit necessary when having a conversation.

    LOL. Why is it that some people have a hard time just having conversation in general? I've been here well long enough that regulars should be aware of how I speak. I wasn't putting anyone down. LOL. I WAS MAKING A JOKE.

    NO, I did not "Google" anything. I just went directly to Palate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
     
  20. benway

    benway

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    Taste.  I buy the myth and do think I could taste test the difference and I'm generally a hard skeptic on snobby ingredients.  This one happens to be a little true.  San Marzano tomatoes that actually come from the area just taste more like a tomato to me.  Worth paying 3x more for?  Not going to touch that.