If you’re an acclaimed home chef who specializes in Italian food like me, then I bet you are very well-acquainted with canned tomatoes of all kinds. Now, I’ll admit that I’m no purist when it comes to my gastronomic endeavors; there has been many an instance when I’ve reached for the diced variety instead of the peeled-whole to save food prep time. We all have, right?
Well, apparently the choice that we all thought was a smart one is actually a time-waster! Yup, you heard that right; using diced tomatoes is most likely doing nothing for your pasta sauce!
According to an article from our friends over at Food52, this popular food item is marketed with convenience in mind, but in actuality, the ingredient slows down the cooking time for many sauces.
The science behind this cooking caveat is, not surprisingly, all about the ingredients. Diced canned tomatoes have a harder time breaking down because a firming agent, calcium chloride, is added in the canning process. Brands introduce this additive to mainly differentiate between diced and crushed varieties.
You see, if you take a good look at your canned tomatoes, you should notice that these two assortments have tomato chunks that are of a similar size, but the diced pieces are much firmer and shapelier. This may be the reason why your famous pasta sauce is lacking in consistency. Using whole tomatoes will help yield those smooth results that all diners love.
Before you go about donating your back stock of these tomatoes, there is a bit of an exception to this specific rule. Experts say that whole tomatoes, particularly ones found in sauces or soups, don’t need any dicing, as they will melt down naturally from long exposure to heat anyways. For chilies, stews, and braises, you may find that diced still works well for you!
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