How to Substitute Fresh Tomatoes for Canned

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You can substitute fresh tomatoes for canned.
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Canned tomatoes are convenient and affordable, and you can enjoy them year-round. But when tomatoes are in season, you may want to substitute fresh tomatoes for canned ones to enjoy the produce directly from your garden or farmers' markets. Fresh tomatoes are just as tasty in nearly any recipe.

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Substitute for Canned Tomatoes

The key to successfully substituting fresh tomatoes for canned is to make sure you are using the correct number of tomatoes. A 14.5-oz can of tomatoes is equal to about 1 pound of fresh tomatoes. How many tomatoes are in a can? This is usually about five or six tomatoes and comes out to about 2 cups. A 28-oz can of tomatoes is equivalent to approximately 2 pounds of tomatoes, which is usually 10 to 12 tomatoes.

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You will also need to do some extra prep with the fresh tomatoes. Canned whole tomatoes are often already peeled, and canned tomatoes may also come chopped, diced or crushed. In most cases, canned tomatoes also have salt added, and some cans may have other seasonings as well.

Peel Fresh Tomatoes

Start by peeling your fresh tomatoes. Remove any stickers and thoroughly wash the tomatoes. Remove the core and boil the tomatoes for about 30 seconds to one minute. Then, remove them from the hot water and immediately put them in an ice bath. This prevents the tomatoes from getting overcooked, which can give them a mushy texture. Use a knife to gently peel the skin from the tomato.

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You can also loosen the skin by roasting tomatoes. Wash and core them and then cut each tomato in half and put them cut side down on a baking sheet. Put them in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes or broil them for eight to 12 minutes. Once the tomatoes have cooled, you can peel the skins. They usually come off easily with your hands.

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Using Tomatoes in Recipes

You can use nearly any type of tomato you want in your recipe. If you are trying to closely match the flavor of canned tomatoes, consider plum or Roma tomatoes. Beefsteak and San Marzano tomatoes are also good if you are making a sauce.

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Once you have peeled your fresh tomatoes, you can prepare them for use in your recipe. If you are replacing diced canned tomatoes, chop up the fresh ones to the desired size. If you are replacing crushed tomatoes, you can put the peeled tomatoes in a food processor until they are the desired size.

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Fresh vs. Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are incredibly convenient and already prepared, which cuts down on the time you need to spend in the kitchen. Plus, most are salted, which brings out the flavor of the tomatoes over time. However, fresh tomatoes are a delicious substitution, especially when you can get them from your garden or they're locally grown.

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There are some other options for substituting canned tomatoes. Tomato paste and sauce will add a lot of flavor to your dishes, although you will lose out on the texture of the tomatoes. You may need to add water to tomato paste to get a thinner consistency. If you use tomato sauce, check the can to see what if any other seasonings are in the jar. Make sure the seasonings work with your recipe and adjust the amount of seasoning you add to compensate.

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