Cooking Louisiana  -  Talking Tomatoes
Tomato sauce is typically tomato puree mixed with water and has seasonings added. If you read the back of your sauce cans you will see that. It's called a "sauce" because it's ready to use just as any sauce would be. Puree for the most part is just cooked tomatoes with some preservatives and is thicker in consistency (has less water). So logically if you are not going to cook it down the sauce is what you want to use. If you are going to cook it down you're ahead of the game with puree because of the absence of moisture. Lastly it won't matter if the puree has any seasoning in it because you'll typically be adding your own stuff anyway.

Who has the best tomato?
I have not done my own personal testing on this but from what I've read San Marzano tomatoes grown in Italy are supposedly the best; there are those who question this opinion. Here in the U.S. we typically think Ital...ian when it comes to fine tomato sauces. A few brands I've found on the web are Pastene, Cento, Delallo, and Sclafani. I have not found D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin) San Marzano tomatoes in any form but whole peeled. If you go to some of the websites mentioned they explain the D.O.P. certification and how the tomatoes are handled. However, I've also read that The absence of the D.O.P designation does not mean the tomatoes aren't the same variety from the same area, they just don't have to meet the European Union specifications. The non D.O.P. Italian tomato products can be found in other forms such as crushed, sauce, puree and paste.

One thing I did notice is that the D.O.P. tomatoes are picked ripe, not green as done in most processes. If you've had the pleasure of eating any tomato picked ripe off of the plant you know what I'm talking about; the taste is superior.

The CENTO D.O.P. peeled tomatoes are delicious and make an absolutely great Salsa. I bought some Pomidori Pelati San Marzano peeled tomatoes and although they use the San Marzano tomato seed the plants are grown here in the U.S. They are also not cooked well like the Cento D.O.P. tomatoes.

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