If you are fond of cooking, you would know how a tomato is an important addition to recipes. However, if you go grocery shopping, it’s common to get overwhelmed by the variety of tomato-based products available in the supermarkets. Ranging from tomato paste to tomato powder, there is so much to know about every product and we are here to share the differences. So, let’s check out the tomato powder vs paste comparison!
Tomato Powder vs Paste
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that tomato powder is a rather new product in the market and is made from dried and ground tomatoes, which means it can be used for garnishing, seasoning, and as a spice. In addition, it makes a perfect base as you can make the liquid paste or sauce. It started as a convenient product as you can quickly transform it into tomato paste and tomato sauce – all you need to do is to add some water to the powder.
It can be added to everything you want, ranging from fish to meat, rice to veggies, and sauces. If you don’t add water and use it in the powdered form, it works as a spice since there are stems, seeds, and roots blended into it. As far as the preparation is concerned, it’s made by drying up the tomatoes, which are ground to make a fine powder. In the majority of cases, the tomato powder is made from the skins and there is no pulpy interior used for making the powder.
To illustrate, tomato powder is pulverized and dried tomatoes are blended into powdered form. Tomato powder is known for a pure tomato flavor, along with the complex yet bright acidity – the overall flavor is pretty concentrated. The best thing about tomato powder is that the flavor remains the same if you turn it into liquid form. However, if you want to use tomato powder to make a paste, it’s recommended to add some salt to enhance the flavor.
When it comes down to cooking, you can use tomato powder in two ways but using it as seasoning or spice is the most common method. This is because it can be incorporated into the spice rubs or you can sprinkle it all over the fish or meat before roasting. In addition, you can use it as a garnish for veggies, pasta, eggs, and rice. Moreover, it can be added to the soups and stews for adding intense and rich tomato flavor. It is readily available at grocery stores and specialty food stores but can be found online as well.
Tomato paste is basically a thick and rich paste that’s made by cooking the tomatoes for a few hours – it is done to reduce the moisture content. After cooking, the skins and seeds are strained out and the liquid is cooked again to reduce this base into a rich and thick concentrate. Tomato paste adds an intense flavor to various dishes, including braised meat, pasta, and soup.
It is traditionally made in Malta, Sicily, and southern Italy as they spread the tomato sauce on wooden boards to dry up the paste. The paste is dried until it’s thick. Keep in mind that this form of tomato paste is an artisan product and isn’t commercially available. As far as the commercial tomato paste is concerned, it tends to be thinner because they use tomatoes with thicker pericarp walls and the moisture level is usually low.
The commercial tomato paste has a natural umami flavor, which is why it’s added during the initial phase of cooking and it can be sautéed to achieve a caramelized texture. Tomato paste can be used as a base for the ketchup. The best thing about tomato paste is that it can be made at home and you can add and store it in clean jars. You need to press the paste to ensure there is no air pocket. In addition, you can add some olive oil to prevent exposure to air.
The canned paste can be stored in a dry and cool corner of the pantry, but once you open the can, you need to store it in the refrigerator to ensure it’s away from the sunlight. When it comes down to the applications, tomato paste can be added to the white bean stew, tomato soup, oyster, and mushroom soup, or you can make the marinara sauce as well!