I have an admission to make, friends. Are you ready? It may shock you a little. Okay, here we go. Deep breath.
I have never understood the point of canned, chopped tomatoes.
In my honest opinion, they’re a just a worse version of the whole tomato. They rarely taste as good as their whole, peeled brethren, and they never break down fully while cooking, keeping their cube-like shape long after all other ingredients have turned to mush.
Maybe you want hot chunks of oddly firm tomato floating in your stews and sauces, but I do not. I want my tomatoes to melt and meld.
Plus, using the whole, peeled guys means I only have to keep one type of tomato stocked.
What I prefer, instead, is to take full, peeled tomatoes and taking a few moments to chop those babies up.
How do I chop up my tomatoes?
Chopping slippery, peeled plum tomatoes may seem like a messy task, but it’s actually easy to contain. Just take a pair of clean kitchen scissors, stick it directly into the can (as shown above), and chop the tomatoes to your desired dice size before adding them to your soup, stew, or sauce.
If you desire chunks of discernible tomato, that is also achievable without sodium chloride. Simply reserve some of the tomatoes you chopped yourself, and add them a little later in the cooking process. They’ll be chunky, but not disquietingly firm, and your sauce will taste noticeably better for it.
(And if you want crushed tomatoes? Use your hands. It’s messy, yes, but oddly cathartic.)
Just remember — say no to your old habit of buying canned, chopped tomatoes in bulk. You’ll thank me for it later.
Happy cooking, folks.
This article has been updated since its original publication.