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How to Crush the Crushed Tomato Game

The temps are rising, and summer cooking is on the menu. And, whether it’s simple, on-the-go meals or elegant alfresco entertaining ideas you seek, you’ll find adding crushed tomatoes to your go-to ingredient list might just take your culinary satisfaction to new heights. While tomatoes are certainly in season during the sultry months of summer, there are many key advantages to having crushed tomatoes as part of your pantry’s foundation all year round. Like almost any ingredient that you use to cook with, there are a few general “rules of thumb” to note, some fun back story and lingo to learn and creative recipes to explore. Don’t worry, we’re serving all that up in a nice little crushed tomato guide that we’re sure you are going to love. Let’s start crushing on crushed tomatoes, shall we?

Secret Ingredient Alert: Crushed Tomatoes Make Meals Better

Fresh versus canned crushed tomatoes. Fresh tomatoes are delicious this time of year. They offer a world of flavor to your roasted dishes and fresh salads, but the canned crushed counterpart also has much to offer. The advantages of having crushed tomatoes around are many, such as:

  • No need to ripen. A can of crushed tomatoes can be on hand whenever you need it. Fresh tomatoes while seasonal during summer still need to be perfectly ripe (not overripe) at the exact time you need them for your recipe, which can lead to timing challenges.
  • No need to have so many on hand. You will need to have quite a few fresh tomatoes ready to go to equal what you can get out of one standard (or large) sized can of crushed tomatoes.
  • No need to spend as much. Purchasing crushed tomatoes is much easier on the piggy bank than buying the alternative fresh tomatoes would be. Of course, budgets matter too.

Storage and ingredient best practices. Of course, not all crushed tomatoes are created equal. Be sure to read the ingredients, check out expiration dates before using and ensure the cans are dent-free. There will be a few ingredients, such as citric acid, to maintain proper pH levels and firmness. You may opt for a salt-free option and add salt to taste for your recipes, but beware of a laundry list of unwanted/unneeded ingredients when shopping for crushed tomatoes.

The healthy addition to your summer recipes. Low in calories and overflowing with fiber, iron, and vitamins B6 and C, crushed tomatoes can be a healthy addition to your meals. They bring lycopene, the trending antioxidant that has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and even certain degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration.

Creative recipes equal happy families. Now that we’ve built the case for crushed tomatoes, let’s get to the good stuff – recipes! Check out some fun summer recipes to get your mouth watering and your creative cooking wheels turning. There’s no time like the present to start planning your summer menu.

Everyday flavor hacks – summers can get busy, but flavor doesn’t have to wane.

  • Rethink your sauces. Enhance jar sauces or skip them altogether and make your own variation with seasonings, creams and crushed tomatoes.
  • Amp up your grains. Whether you’re cooking up quinoas, rice or farro, replace the water with crushed tomatoes and take the flavor to a new level.
  • DIY salsa will make you the life of the party. We won’t tell anyone how easy it was. Just throw crushed tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro and seasonings in a blender for a delicious summer snack.

Crushed tomatoes can also be the featured ingredient in many of your dinner party favorites. Here are some ideas for your summer entertaining menu.

  • Poaching fish with the flavor of tomato. Fish can be poached in water, yes. But, why not poach your fish in crushed tomatoes for a flavor punch that will wow your guests’ taste buds? It’s so easy!
  • Gazpacho is a cool first course during the dog days of summer. Not to worry if you don’t have perfectly ripe fresh tomatoes, use crushed tomatoes as the base to this flavorful starter.
  • Chicken cacciatore is always a good idea. It’s comfort food for foodies. Grab your crushed tomatoes, Italian spices, black olives and red peppers for a meal everyone will love. Don’t forget the wine.

Crushed tomatoes can be a powerhouse ingredient to add the perfect amount of savory tomato-infused goodness to any dish you’ve got on the menu this summer. Now that you know the ins and outs of cooking with them, your summer line up has so much more potential. Be sure to stock a shelf in your kitchen with Flora Foods crushed tomatoes for the best in quality and flavor. Flora Fine Foods has a complete line of authentically-Italian tomatoes and tomato sauces to add flair to your recipes. Our tomatoes hail from the San Marzano, region known for its quality and flavor. You’ll find all our tomato options from peeled to diced and, of course, crushed in your local market.

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