10 Best Canned Items to Keep on Hand


Tomato Based Products

Tomato sauce is one of the most versatile of canned ingredients. Well, not just the sauce, but also the many other tomato based products. Tomato sauce is a blank canvas waiting for culinary inspiration. With a little ingenuity and some time, you can make many popular dishes using a canned tomato base. How about chili, spaghetti, stew or pizza sauce? That's just to name a few.

Tomato products are well-represented on your local grocery store shelves, but they can be a little confusing. Here's a short primer:

  • Tomato Sauce - For a basic, wholesome product that's as at home in a nice marinara sauce as it is in meatloaf, tomato sauce is at the top of the list. It has a relatively thin consistency, but can still be considered a tomato puree.
  • Tomato Puree - Usually thicker than tomato sauce, tomato puree has more tomato pulp and less water than plain tomato sauce.
  • Tomato Paste - Thickest of all, tomato paste is a concentrated tomato product that's often combined with a liquid, like broth or water, when used in recipes.
  • Canned Tomatoes - From whole to diced varieties, the name is pretty self-explanatory. These tomatoes are peeled, sometimes seeded, and occasionally contain seasoning ingredients, like cumin or oregano.
  • Stewed Tomatoes - Although this term can refer to a simple canned tomato in light juice, it often means that other ingredients have been added, like onions, celery and peppers.