Author Topic: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!  (Read 2509 times)

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Offline Stavs

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Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« on: November 25, 2006, 12:03:00 PM »
Hi...pretty much a lurker here and an "amateur" pizza maker. I've learned a lot about dough from the fine folks here, so now I turn my attention to the sauce. I really know nothing about canned tomatoes. My question isnt about which brand to buy (escalon seem to be the fave), but rather what is the difference between the different styles of tomatoes. I see crushed, peeled, paste, puree, etc, etc. Most of the deep dish recipes seem to favor crushed tomatoes which is easy enough, but when would you use the other types? The styles of pizza I will be making are deep dish, stuffed (giordanos style), NY style and Greek/Bar style (more emphasis on the Greek since I'm Greek!). The style I will probably make the most is the NY style. Anyone care to give me a primer on tomatoes? Thanks in advance!

Stavs


Offline gschwim

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2006, 12:42:43 PM »
You can't go wrong with Escalon 6-in-1 All-Purpose Ground Tomatoes:  http://www.escalon.net/6in1.aspx?b=1

Only $2.50/can (if you order six 28 oz. cans; otherwise, it's $3.33/can) and $1.50, total, shipping.  I only recently tried them for the first time, myself, and found them to be far superior to anything in the supermarket.  I've been usiing them "as is," no added spices.  The only hard part was restraining myself from grabbing a sppon and eating them straight out of the can before I could get them onto the pizza.

Offline Stavs

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2006, 02:39:19 PM »
I have to get me some of the 6 in 1. Right now I've been using Mids and Cento prepared sauces as my standards. They are both pretty good IMO, but I am anxious to try the 6 in 1s. I am going to try the DKM deep dish recipe this evening. I bought some Cento brand crushed tomatoes for this one. We'll see how it turns out. :)

Stavs

Offline gschwim

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2006, 04:29:38 PM »
Because I'd read that it's best to use canned whole-peeled tomatoes and crush them myself, and because the supermarkets in my neighborhood (Upper East Side, NYC) are constantly running "five 28 oz. cans for $2.00" specials, I'd been putting it off, but now that I've tried them, I can't imagine using anything else.  They're that good.  Just a little bit more money, and easy to order online.  I am sure everyone on this site would agree that you'll be glad you did.

Offline RSMBob

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2006, 08:32:29 PM »
Because I'd read that it's best to use canned whole-peeled tomatoes and crush them myself, and because the supermarkets in my neighborhood (Upper East Side, NYC) are constantly running "five 28 oz. cans for $2.00" specials, I'd been putting it off, but now that I've tried them, I can't imagine using anything else. They're that good. Just a little bit more money, and easy to order online. I am sure everyone on this site would agree that you'll be glad you did.

You know, I'm a 6-in-1 proponent...especially for deep dish pizzas...but the logic in your math mystifies me a bit when you say it's "just a little bit more money". The best I've seen for 6-in-1's is $1.59 for a 28oz can and if you order them it sounds like $2.50-$3.50 per can with shipping. Compare that with your mention of 5 cans for $2/00 or 40 cents per can and the money difference is anything but small. I picked up about 10 cans of 6-in-1's the last time I saw them here in SoCal at $1.59, but I wonder what I can use to make the best sauce without premier price products.

Offline Stavs

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2006, 05:45:39 PM »
Well, I tried the Cento crushed tomatoes yesterday and they were good, but bland. The only ingredients are tomatoes, so that stands to reason. I have heard people mention that the 6 in 1s taste so good out of the can, but is it bland like the Cento was and needs something added?

Stavs

Offline gschwim

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2006, 07:26:25 PM »
Well, I was factoring in quality.  Five for $2.00 is a great price, but the tomatoes are nothing to write home about, as Stavs notes above.  Also, remember that that these are whole tomatoes, so there is "wasted space" -- i.e., thin liquid -- both between and inside the tomatoes.  Though I've never tried it, if after crushing and draining the tomatoes, I put them back in the can, I wonder if it would fill the can even halfway.  28 oz. of 6-in-1, on the other hand, is a full, usable 28 oz.  Percentage-wise, of course, $2.50 is a lot more than 40 cents (and that was unusual; the usual sale price around here is 99 cents).  But in terms of quality, $2.00 is not a lot.

Or to put it another way:  To me, personally, the 6-in-1 is at least $3.00 better than the supermarket stuff.  I get a full 28 oz. of tomatoes; I don't have to mess with crushing or draining; and, though others may use their 6-in-1 differently, for me, there is no buying and mixing of spices; I use it straight out of the can.

For all that (plus, I'm thinkng it's thick and tasty enough that I may try it on pasta), I don't think $2.00 is much, especially compared to a ride on your typical NYC subway, which also is $2.00...   :)

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2006, 12:04:13 PM »
I think what stavs is looking for is a global overview of the different tomato types, processing and when you might use one or the other. I will take a stab from this approach.

Basically you have two main groupings of tomato.

Fresh - Fresh tomatoes are typically used in pizza Margherita, Foccacias, Sicillian styles, etc., where they are typically laid out in whole thin slices. They can be in chunks, depends on taste. Many say if you want a traditional pizza, this is the only way to go. Also, some people use sun-dried tomatoes as well. This isn't a fresh product, however it gives a more concentrated tomato flavor without sacrificing much flavor. Fresh tomatos typically contain a lot water, therefore they are used sparringly, even sometimes being put on AFTER a pizza cooks. The fresh tomato of choice for italian pizzas is the Roma, most notably the San Marzano. This tomato is known for a high pulp content and low water content. A pizza using Roma tomatos will be far different than using other larger tomatos, such as early girl, big boy, etc. as those contain much more water.

Canned - Within the canned category there are about 3 main types:
1) Canned tomato sauce, paste, puree
2) Canned tomatos (Crushed, chopped, whole.)
3) Prepared "pizza" sauce.

1) Canned tomato sauce - Within this grouping there are further categories to think about. Typical tomato sauce and paste you get in a grocery store (Contadina, Hunts, Del Monte.) is processed with HIGH HEAT. These products typically have less tomato flavor and taste "acidic" or "canned" to most people. If you are using expensive flour and cheese, this is probably your worst choice for a sauce IMO. The more difficult "Premium" brands of sauce are processed under LOW HEAT or NO HEAT conditions and are "vacuum evaporated". This process concentrates the tomato product while retaining freshness. This includes some brands like 6 in 1's, 7/11, Stanislaus, Etc. These typically have a more "tomato" flavor and usually aren't so bitter, which is why many people prefer these premium brands.  In either care, you will have to season the sauce (although some just use it as is), with either fresh or dry herbs, then typically let it sit overnight in the fridge to let the aromatics do their thing. If you use a premium brand for it's freshness, typically you do not cook your sauce, as heating will inpart a different flavor to the tomato. This however is just a matter of preference.

2) Canned tomatoes, whole, crushed, etc. - The same thing applies in this category as above. There are regular store varieties processed with HIGH HEAT, then there are the premium brands which typically taste more "tomatoey". The thing with this group is that you have a chunkier product. This is more recommended towards Chicago styles where the pie is really thick. This however is still a matter of taste. With these products, you have the option of draining off the water, meaning you can have a relatively "fresh" whole tomato taste, without having to use fresh tomato and dealing with the mess.

3) Prepared pizza sauce - These can be either HIGH HEAT or vacuum evaporated products. The basic premise here is that the sauce is usually ready to go out of the can or jar. Typically it has basil or some seasoning in it. You may also wish to add more seasonings to it. Manufacturers of this product target commercial stores since it allows them to just purchase product and use it. If you want a more "commercial" taste, then this one is for you. These sauces are also usually judged by their solid content. The more solids, the thicker the sauce and typically the more "tomato" taste. These sauces also have the best "sticking effect" when put on a dough, as opposed to just fresh crushed tomato, which would not stick to the crust that well.

I have seen people mix and match different varieties. That is to say, take a prepared pizza sauce and dump it in some 6 in 1's. The idea here is to produce a flavor you are happy with without compromising the texture. Your sauce should be flavorful, yet ammenable to the style of pizza you want to create. I would suggest you think about pizza you have eaten which you really like, then try to find a sauce that suits your taste. If you mention a style here on the boards, someone will be able to tell you which types of sauce they would recommend. Good Luck!

Offline Stavs

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2006, 07:26:55 PM »
Thats exactly what I was looking for! I really appreciate your taking the time to write all that up.

Now, I know what sauce I really like, but I dont know if I can get it. I have two pizza joints I used to go to when I lived outside of philly...Pica's and Italian Delight. I dont think either would tell me their secret :) One can only wish!

As for the pricing of the 6in1s...I dont think thats too bad a price. Sure I can get cheaper, but I figure I can  get 2 pizzas out of each can, and I dont make pizza every night (although I eat pizza about 4 times a week), its a relatively small investment for 10-12 cans, especially considering the other garbage I blow my cash on.

Thanks again!

Offline Randy

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2006, 08:04:14 AM »
Don't laugh but walmarts great value crushed tomatoes is very good and is a close second to 6 in 1.  If money is tight at 99 cents a can it is hard to beat.


Online Pete-zza

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2006, 09:42:12 AM »
I agree with Randy. I recently tried a can of the Wal-Mart Great Value crushed tomatoes and was surprised how good they were. They are saltier than the 6-in-1s but if that isn't a problem the tomatoes are a good, economical choice.

Peter

Offline iceman06

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2006, 06:57:26 PM »
Great info on tomatoes DNA. Thanks for taking the time to post. I now have some direction for saucing my pies. Next will come the cheese 101 course but for now I'll play with the sauce. :chef:

Offline cooper

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Re: Differences in Tomato Products-Need Help!
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2006, 08:42:03 PM »
Well, I tried the Cento crushed tomatoes yesterday and they were good, but bland. The only ingredients are tomatoes, so that stands to reason. I have heard people mention that the 6 in 1s taste so good out of the can, but is it bland like the Cento was and needs something added?

Stavs

I just prepared some sauce for tomorrow's pizza using Cento crushed all purpose tomatoes, and I agree with your assessment.

I spooned some in a bowl and added some sugar, salt, olive oil, black pepper, oregano, granulated garlic, crushed red pepper, a dash of some generic "pizza seasoning" and a tiny pinch of bashed up anise seed -- all in an attempt to add some flavor.  The extras helped, but IMO the sauce is still rather bland. 

Next time I'll try Great Value from Wal-Mart.  One of these days I'll order some 6-in-1's.


 

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