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Choosing Between Whole Canned Tomatoes in Juice or Puree: When is the Best Time to Purchase

When To Buy Whole Canned Tomatoes In Juice Vs Puree

There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh tomatoes in your favorite homemade dishes. However, when fresh tomatoes are out of season or simply not available, canned tomatoes become your saving grace. But when faced with the array of options in the canned tomato aisle, it can be confusing to decide between whole tomatoes in juice and puree. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two canned tomato options and help you determine when to use each one based on your cooking needs.

Whole Canned Tomatoes in Juice

Whole canned tomatoes in juice are exactly what their name suggests – whole tomatoes preserved in a tomato juice. They offer a more authentic tomato flavor and texture compared to puree since they retain the natural juices of the tomatoes. The texture of whole tomatoes adds a pleasant chunkiness to dishes, making them perfect for recipes where you desire a more rustic texture, such as stews, soups, and sauces that require a longer cooking time.

The juice in which the tomatoes are packed also adds a rich and flavorful base for your recipes. It provides a balanced tomato taste that intensifies during the cooking process, making the resulting dishes more vibrant and tasty.


Puree, on the other hand, is made by cooking down tomatoes and then blending them into a smooth liquid consistency. This process removes the seeds, skin, and chunks, resulting in a smooth and silky texture. Puree is a great option when you want to achieve a smooth and uniform consistency in your dishes, such as in marinara sauces, pasta sauces, and pizza sauces.

Another advantage of puree is its versatility. It is easier to incorporate into recipes, especially those that require a shorter cooking time. The absence of seeds and chunks in puree ensures a uniform taste throughout your dishes, making it an ideal choice for delicate recipes where smoothness is desired.

When to Use Whole Canned Tomatoes in Juice

If you’re preparing a recipe that requires a longer cooking time or if you want a more rustic texture and flavor, opt for whole canned tomatoes in juice. This is particularly true for dishes like classic Italian pasta sauce, slow-cooked stews, or hearty soups where you want the tomatoes to break down and infuse their natural juices into the dish.

Whole tomatoes in juice can also be an excellent choice when making homemade salsa or bruschetta, as they add texture and a burst of fresh flavor. Plus, the juice serves as a flavorful base that binds all the ingredients together, producing a delicious end result.

When to Use Puree

If you’re aiming for a smooth and consistent texture in your sauces, whether they’re destined for pasta, pizza, or a meat dish, puree is your go-to option. Its refined and velvety characteristic ensures a uniform taste throughout your sauces, making it a perfect choice for delicate and refined recipes.

Puree is especially handy when you’re working with recipes that have a shorter cooking time, as it blends effortlessly with other ingredients and reduces the need for longer simmering periods. It allows you to create robust and flavorful sauces in a fraction of the time, without compromising on taste or smoothness.


Choosing between whole canned tomatoes in juice and puree ultimately depends on the needs of your recipe and your desired texture. Whole tomatoes in juice are best for longer cooking times and recipes that benefit from a chunky, rustic texture, while puree is the ideal choice when you require a smooth and uniform consistency in your sauces.

Remember, both options offer the convenience and versatility of canned tomatoes, allowing you to enjoy the taste of fresh tomatoes in your cooking year-round. So, next time you’re browsing the canned tomato aisle, consider the requirements of your recipe and let that guide you toward the perfect choice of whole canned tomatoes in juice or puree to enhance your culinary creations.


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