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.