Dear Home Ec 101,
What’s the difference between using crushed tomatoes and tomato paste in a sauce? I mean I know they are different, but the sauce recipe I use calls for tomato paste, but when my SIL made spaghetti and meatballs for my dad’s bday last week, she used crushed tomatoes.
Puzzled by the Purees
It’s all about water content and the final sauce you are looking to create. I recently found a wonderful tutorial for making homemade tomato paste -I’m not looking to try this right now, but I’m sure it is amazing. However this tutorial did not provide a yield. According to a county extension’s canning reference, to create 8 pints of tomato paste you need 20 – 25lbs of tomatoes. Whereas from 22lbs of tomatoes you could expect to yield approximately 14 pints of crushed tomatoes. That’s a big difference and still I have the feeling the county’s tomato paste isn’t very thick.
Both crushed tomatoes and tomato paste have a tomato flavor, but they are different in body and depth.
The type of tomato you choose, whether fresh, canned, pureed, crushed, or as paste depends highly on your desired outcome. Additionally, when choosing a canned tomato, read the label, sometimes they are canned in water (really doesn’t do much for flavor) and sometimes they contain HFCS or sugar in addition to spices. Higher quality canned tomatoes are canned in tomato juice and have excellent flavor. Do I always buy the high end tomatoes? Of course not, it depends on how important the tomato ranks in a particular recipe.
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