Tomato paste

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Tomato paste

Tomato paste is a thick paste made by cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce the water content, straining out the seeds and skins, and cooking the liquid again to reduce the base to a thick, rich concentrate. [1] It is used to impart an intense tomato flavour to a variety of dishes, such as pasta, soups and braised meat.


By contrast, tomato purée is a liquid with a consistency between crushed tomatoes and tomato paste that is made from tomatoes that have been briefly boiled and strained. [2]

History and traditions

Tomato paste is traditionally made in parts of Sicily, southern Italy and Malta by spreading out a much-reduced tomato sauce on wooden boards [3] that are set outdoors under the hot August sun to dry the paste until it is thick enough, when it is scraped up and held together in a richly colored, dark ball. Today, this artisan product is harder to find than the industrial version (which is much thinner). [4] Commercial production uses tomatoes with thick pericarp walls and lower overall moisture; [5] these are very different from tomatoes typically found in a supermarket.

Tomato paste became commercially available in the early 20th century.

Regional differences

In the UK, tomato paste is referred to as purée[ citation needed ] or concentrate.

In the US, tomato paste is simply concentrated tomato solids (no seeds or skin), sometimes with added sweetener (high fructose corn syrup), and with a standard of identity (in the Code of Federal Regulations, see 21 CFR 155.191). Tomato purée has a lower tomato solids requirement.

European markets have a preference to tomato paste with salt, while some Middle Eastern countries such as Israel prefer tomato paste with sugar. [6]

In Saint Helena it is eaten in sandwiches, known locally as "Bread 'n Dance" because it was traditionally served at dances. [7]

In Turkey, domates salçası (tomato paste) is a type of salça .


Tomato paste is added to dishes to impart an intense flavour, particularly the natural umami flavour found in tomatoes. Examples of dishes in which tomato paste may be commonly used include pasta sauces, soups, and braised meat. The paste is typically added early in the cooking process and sautéed to achieve caramelization. [8]

Based on the manufacturing conditions, the paste can be the basis for making ketchup or reconstituted tomato juice:

See also

Related Research Articles

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Tomato sauce sauce made primarily from tomatoes, best known as a pasta sauce

Tomato sauce can refer to many different sauces made primarily from tomatoes, usually to be served as part of a dish, rather than as a condiment. Tomato sauces are common for meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as bases for Mexican salsas or sauces for pasta dishes. Tomatoes have a rich flavor, high water content, soft flesh which breaks down easily, and the right composition to thicken into a sauce when they are cooked. All of these qualities make them ideal for simple and appealing sauces.

Mirepoix (cuisine) Flavor base made of vegetables

A mirepoix is a flavor base made from diced vegetables cooked—usually with butter, oil, or other fat—for a long time on low heat without coloring or browning, as further cooking, often with the addition of tomato purée, creates a darkened brown mixture called pinçage. It is not sautéed or otherwise hard cooked, because the intention is to sweeten the ingredients rather than caramelize them. It is a long-standing cooking technique in French cuisine.


Avgolemono or egg–lemon sauce is a family of sauces and soups made with egg yolk and lemon juice mixed with broth, heated until they thicken. They are found in Greek, Arab, Sephardic Jewish, Turkish, Balkan and Italian cuisine.

Tomato purée

Tomato purée is a thick liquid made by cooking and straining tomatoes. The difference between tomato paste, tomato purée, and tomato sauce is consistency; tomato puree has a thicker consistency and a deeper flavour than sauce.

Fujian cuisine

Fujian cuisine or Fujianese cuisine, also known as Min cuisine or Hokkien cuisine, is one of the native Chinese cuisines derived from the native cooking style of China's Fujian Province, most notably from the provincial capital, Fuzhou. Fujian cuisine is known to be light but flavourful, soft, and tender, with particular emphasis on umami taste, known in Chinese cooking as xianwei, as well as retaining the original flavour of the main ingredients instead of masking them.


A purée is cooked food, usually vegetables, fruits or legumes, that has been ground, pressed, blended or sieved to the consistency of a creamy paste or liquid. Purées of specific foods are often known by specific names, e.g., applesauce or hummus. The term is of French origin, where it meant in Old French purified or refined.

Canned tomato

Canned tomatoes, or tinned tomatoes, are tomatoes, usually peeled, that are sealed into a can after having been processed by heat.

Chili sauce and paste

Chili sauce and chili paste are condiments prepared with chili peppers.

Peranakan cuisine Cuisine of the straits Chinese people

Peranakan cuisine or Nyonya cuisine comes from the Peranakans, descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Singapore and Indonesia, inter-marrying with local Malays. In Baba Malay, a female Peranakan is known as a nonya, and a male Peranakan is known as a baba. The cuisine combines Chinese, Malay, Javanese and other influences.

Dried shrimp

Dried shrimp are shrimp that have been sun-dried and shrunk to a thumbnail size. They are used in many East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisines, imparting a unique umami taste. A handful of shrimp is generally used for dishes. The flavors of this ingredient are released when allowed to simmer.

Tunisian cuisine

Tunisian cuisine, the cuisine of Tunisia, is a blend of Mediterranean and Berber cuisines. Its distinctive spiciness comes from the many civilizations which have ruled the land now known as Tunisia: Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Spanish, Turkish, Italians (Sicilians), French, and the native Punics-Berber people. Many of the cooking styles and utensils began to take shape when the ancient tribes were nomads. Nomadic people were limited in their cooking implements by what pots and pans they could carry with them. The Tunisian tagine, is very different from the Algerian or Moroccan dish. It is a type of a pie dish, made out of eggs, meat and vegetables, similar to the Italian frittata or the eggah.

Paste (food)

A food paste is a semi-liquid colloidal suspension, emulsion, or aggregation used in food preparation or eaten directly as a spread. Pastes are often highly spicy or aromatic, are often prepared well in advance of actual usage, and are often made into a preserve for future use. Common pastes are some fruit preserves, curry pastes, and nut pastes. Purées are food pastes made from already cooked ingredients.


  1. Kimberley Willis, Viktor Budnik Knack Canning, Pickling & Preserving: Tools, Techniques & Recipes 2010 Page 88 "Tomato paste - Good tomato paste is a kitchen staple. All tomatoes can be cooked down to paste, but starting with paste-type tomatoes, often called Roma tomatoes, will make a faster, smoother product. Juicy tomatoes may take twice as long ..."
  2. Barbara Ann Kipfer The Culinarian: A Kitchen Desk Reference 2012 - Page 561 "TOMATO PASTE is concentrate of puréed tomatoes sold in cans or at double strength in tubes. ... The differences between tomato paste, tomato purée, and tomato sauce are texture and depth of flavor (the thicker the consistency, the deeper ..."
  3. Lyn Rutherford, Patrick McLeavey -The Book of Antipasti - Page 8 1992 "Sun-dried tomato paste — with a richer flavor than ordinary tomato paste, sun-dried tomato paste is a really useful cupboard ingredient."
  4. Bill Pritchard, David Burch Agri-Food Globalization in Perspective 2003 -Page 183 "Northern Italy is potentially vulnerable to the restructuring of pan-European supply chains because its key output, industrial grade tomato paste, is a standard product readily substitutable from a number of production areas."
  5. Kilcast, edited by David (2004). Texture in food (1st published. ed.). Cambridge: Woodhead Pub. ISBN   1855737248.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6.,7340,L-5434144,00.html, Because of Sugar concentration producers renamed tomato paste to tomato Sauce
  8. Delany, Alex. "Give Tomato Paste the Respect It Deserves". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 2020-08-06.