Also known as
Canned diced tomato
Canned tomato cubes are just that, tomatoes that have been diced in to cube shapes. The term refers to a relatively recent arrival in the processed tomato market, generally consisting of canned chunks of plum tomatoes in tomato juice or tomato purée, sometimes seasoned with basil or garlic.
The product has become quite popular since its introduction in the mid-90s, probably due to American tastes for a chunkier tomato sauce. Calcium chloride is sometimes added to stabilize the cell structure of the canned tomatoes, giving the end product a firmer texture. Canned cubed tomatoes are primarily used in Italian American cuisine. They are generally available in two sizes, regular (roughly 2 cm/7/8 in) for long-cooked dishes and petite (roughly 1 cm) for quicker applications.
How to select
While selecting the canned tomato cubes, look carefully at the nutritional labeling and the expiry date. Avoid selecting the cans which are bulging or dented (may cause food poisoning) or if the can appears to be rusted or leaking.
· The top uses for canned tomatoes are Italian/Pasta Sauces, Chili, Soup, Pizza, Stew, Casseroles, and Mexican Dishes.
· As they are often more flavorful than commercially produced fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes are well suited for curries
· Tomatoes are a great addition to bean and vegetable soups.
· Enjoy a classic Italian salad-sliced onions, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese drizzled with olive oil.
How to store
Like most canned goods, tomato products have a long shelf life. As long as they are unopened, they will keep in the pantry for up to a year. Once a can is opened, however, the contents should be transferred to a glass or plastic storage container (to prevent it from taking on a metallic taste) and refrigerated for no more than one week. You can freeze leftover tomato paste in an ice-cube tray. Once frozen, pop the cubes into a resealable plastic bag; they'll keep up to six months.
· Canned tomatoes have even more health benefits than fresh tomatoes. Lycopene, a pigment that is responsible for the tomatoes' red color, is one of several carotenoids (a group of antioxidants) that may help to decrease the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. The processing method used in canning tomatoes causes the release of a greater amount of lycopene than what is usually found in raw tomatoes.
· The nutrients present in canned tomato cubes include vitamins B, C, E, and K - with minerals iron, copper, phosphorous - plus protein, pantothetic acid, and niacin.
· Tomatoes even contain a trace of tryptophan.
· Tomato consumption is thought to help reduce blood-clotting and inflammation. The vitamin K helps maintain bone health by keeping up osteocalcin levels.
· Folate in tomatoes helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer. The chromium content of tomatoes helps diabetic patients maintain stable blood sugar levels