A quick trip to the supermarket will reveal the fact that tomato products today come in all shapes and sizes. Canned selections are popular because they are so convenient to use that they make whipping up dishes involving tomatoes a trouble-free task. Here are 11 guidelines for buying and cooking with tomatoes:
- It doesn’t matter if you choose economy over premium canned tomatoes
Economy canned tomatoes usually have thinner juice or less sweetness to them. It can be easily fixed by adding puréed tomatoes or a sprinkle sugar.
- Italian tomatoes tend to have fuller flavors
The reason for this is the weather and agricultural conditions in central and southern Italy are perfect for growing tomatoes that are sweet and juicy.
- Tomatoes are packed with anti-cancer lycopene
Lycopene in tomatoes have antioxidant properties that reduce risk of some types of cancer. It also helps reduce cholesterol levels and ward off heart diseases. Heating tomatoes is necessary in order to unlock the powers of lycopene.
- Canned chopped tomatoes are best for long simmering
Unlike other tomato products, canned chopped ones are able to retain more texture even after 30 minutes or so of cooking.
- Canned cherry tomatoes are ideal for making sauces in a snap
It’s important to note that they tend to lose much of their sweet flavor when heated for too long, so use them in recipes that call for short cooking times.
- Opt for canned plum tomatoes when making thick sauces
Compared to round tomatoes, plum ones are revered for being fleshier. It’s for this reason why they are perfect if your goal is to come up with a thick sauce. Canned plum tomatoes are also good on toast as well as for making salsa.
- Use passata when serving home-made pizza
Forget the really fancy word. Passata is just tomatoes that are pureed and sieved. Their very thick consistency makes them superb for use in casseroles, chili, soups and sauces. Fresh from the bottle, you may slather passata on pizza dough before throwing in your choice of toppings.
- Soffritto passata is great for so many dishes
Soffritto passata is simply passatta with finely chopped onions, garlic, celery and carrots all cooked in olive oil.
- Use tomato purée for thickening sauces and casseroles
You may come across tomato products that are labeled “paste” or “concentrate” but all of them are simply tomato purées. They are commonly used for making sauces and casseroles thicker, as well as for adding color to pale-looking dishes.
- Sundried tomatoes are great for vegetable dishes
Whether plain or preserved in oil together with herbs, sundried tomatoes add more flavor to an assortment of vegetable dishes. They are also great for stews, risottos and even bread.
- Add Sunkissed tomatoes to salads
Also known as semi-dried tomatoes, these products are simply dried tomatoes but for less time. Since they’re sweeter than the sundried varieties, they make for excellent additions to salads, sandwiches and pizza.