Close up of canned tomatoes
What To Check On The Label Before Buying Canned Tomatoes
Before grabbing a can of tomatoes off the shelf, it's essential to check the label to make sure you're getting a quality product that tastes and cooks down the way you want it to.
Look for cans that specify steam peeling, as this gentle process preserves the tomatoes’ texture and color. It’s more eco-friendly than using lye, which is a caustic chemical.
Consider how additives might impact your recipe. Some cans contain calcium chloride, which keeps the tomatoes firm, but also prevents them breaking down during cooking.
Canned tomatoes may also contain citric acid for color retention, and sodium for saltiness. Whether these additives are of concern depends on your taste preferences and the recipe.
The processing method also needs to fit your recipe. Diced tomatoes with calcium chloride are best for chunky recipes, while whole tomatoes offer versatility for sauces and purees.
If convenience is key, canned tomato puree offers a concentrated flavor and a smooth texture, making it perfect for quick soups and sauces without the need for additional cooking.