I know these are silly questions for a long-time cook to be asking, but here goes...
Can you substitute canned whole tomatoes, either squashed with the fingers or food processor-ized, for a can of crushed tomatoes?
And... For tomato puree, can whole tomatoes be processed to make it? Should some of the juice be removed first?
I only keep whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste in the pantry. When I come across recipes that call for something else, I'd like to be able to improvise but am not really sure how to.
I interchange tomato products a lot. Now, the tomato paste is a lot more concentrated than sauce or whatever but you can still substitute sauce. Tomato puree is a bit thicker.
In most dishes it won't make any difference. Or at least, to me, it doesn't.
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I do it all the time and like you usually stock only whole tomatoes because you can crush or puree them for a recipe but it's hard to make whole tomatoes out of a can of crushed!
Paste is different -- it's more concentrated and I don't feel like you can substitute anything for paste.
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Regarding the tomatoe paste issue... I always have on hand at least two or three cans of 6 oz. cans of paste... the best way, I've found, if you're not using the entire can is to put the remainder in a small zip-lock bag and put it in the freezer. It freezes and defrosts wonderfully! If you only need a portion of the amount frozen, simply put the bag in the microwave in increments of 10 seconds until you've reached the desired amount of "unfrozeness?", scoop out of the bag what you need and place the bag back into the freezer for next time!
Yes, I save it that way, too. I plop the leftover paste into a zippered sandwich bag and use a rubber spatula to push (on the outside of the bag) all the paste to the bottom of itand the air out, making a cylinder-shaped 'log'. To use again, I don't thaw at all. The log cuts easily with a chef's knife.
I substituted a can of diced tomatoes once for a can of whole tomatoes in a Texas Hash recipe and it ruined it.
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