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Dumb question: How do I go from canned whole tomatoes to crushed tomatoes?

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I saw 28 oz cans of whole San Marzano tomatoes on sale and have a pizza sauce recipe that calls for crushed tomatoes. I was thinking of using my food processor; however, I am concerned about how much liquid from the tomatoes should be used in the "crushing" process. Should I use something else to crush them?

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  1. I use my hands.

    3 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      2nd. I do wear vinyl gloves, though, then just dig in.

      1. re: c oliver

        but watch out for squirts!

        1. re: paulj

          Another reason for goggles in the kitchen!

      2. Use the whole can of whole tomatoes after running them through a blender, food processor, or food mill. Even a potato masher or fork will work, as will forcing them through a colander with a rubber scraper. If you use a food mill or colander you can put the skins back into the puree if you want to.

        I never fuss about what form of canned tomatoes to use for sauces. Whatever I have on hand works.

        1 Reply
        1. re: greygarious

          Thanks. I completely forgot about a food mill.

        2. I always strain my sauce afterward to get out extra liquid, so don't worry, just only pulse the processor a few times. As long as you only pulse a few times it's fine. I have a food mill etc and the FP works fine regardless what the zealots tell you.

          Also, just using your hands works well too.

          1. I use my hands. I pour the contents of the can into the sauce pan. Then holding each whole tomato over a bowl remove any fragments of skin or dense stem core. i 'open' each one running a finger inside and push out any seeds trapped in the jelly liquid. That liquid gets strained out and added back in if the tomatoes require more liquid. The hunks of 'cleaned' tomatoes I simply crush between my fingers back into the sauce pan. Ready to cook. Use the same approach with fresh tomatoes after processing to remove their skin and notch out their stem core.

            1. I use my potato masher.

              1. I like an in between texture and often use kitchen scissors to cut the tomatoes in the pan.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tim irvine

                  I've put scissors straight down in the can. But also sometimes in the pan. There are always a couple that hide :)

                2. I second or third a potato masher, a plain old fashioned kind. Right in the can!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Violatp

                    Just used a potato masher five minutes ago, reminded by this thread. It worked great and now is my weapon of choice. Used in the pan.

                    Glad this retro tool has it goin' on.

                  2. crush them with your ham fists!

                    1. There is no such thing as a dumb question!

                      1. There's a pizza place in Norther New Jersey that's been voted by many as the top pizza joint. Their sauce is made by simple Plum Tomatoes without any seasonings. They dump large # 10 cans into a 20 gallon food bucket and boat motor to puree the tomatoes.

                        You can achieve the same results with a stick blender.

                        1. Coupla quick pulses in the food processor.

                          A stick blender liquifies into of cutting into chunks, IMO.

                          1. Certified Neopolitan pizza places strain the 'san marzanno' tomatoes. Then crush the whole tomatoes by hand over a strainer/perforated insert. Add a little of the water for can. Save the rest of liquid for other uses.

                            1. I use the food mill after I cook them a bit with olive oil and garlic. Softened, they are easy to mill--maybe FP would work about the same.

                              1. I've found that crushed tomatoes are more concentrated than just canned tomatoes, at least in the brands that I buy. I looked at the labels on the crushed tomatoes, and they all have tomato paste mixed in with them - whereas the canned tomatoes don't.

                                I would try mixing some tomato paste in then pureeing them a bit in a blender.

                                I've never gotten a "saucy" sauce from just simply smashing canned tomatoes by hand or with a potato masher. They tend to stay chunky and don't really coat pasta.

                                I suppose you could also try draining off a little bit of the liquid then puree them in a blender, but the flavor might still be a bit diluted still.

                                1. Cook's Illustrated/America' Test Kitchen ( http://shine.yahoo.com/in-the-pantry/... ) had a piece on the differences among crushed, chopped & whole canned tomatoes in regards to pulp to liquid ratio & the results were eye opening. Even within brands time constraints need to be considered if reduction is involved. Nonnas around the world know one can't rush a good sauce. Best to keep a few cans of each on hand.

                                  1. Is there a SPECIFIC use for WHOLE canned tomatoes??

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: kseiverd

                                      I almost always buy whole canned tomatoes because I like to have the options of chunky vs. smooth, which I control by hand mashing or pureeing. I've been caught too many times wanting chunkier tomatoes for a sauce and only having crushed or pureed on hand. This gives me more choices.