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Fresh tomatoes cooked for several hours and then strained. The strained tomatoes are then cooked longer to reduce them to a thick concentrate. Tomato paste is used to thicken, add flavor and to add color to sauces or foods. Commercial tomato paste is available in cans or tubes from most grocery stores however, caution should be used when adding this to a food because adding too much may overpower the flavor or cause the taste to become too acidic. After opening tomato paste, it can be kept refrigerated for several days if it was canned, while tube paste will last for approximately a month. The difference between tomato paste, tomato puree and tomato sauce is texture and depth of flavor. The thicker the consistency the deeper the flavor. Tomato paste is the thickest, then puree is next in consistency and tomato sauce is the thinnest.
To make tomato juice using tomato paste, add 1 ounce of tomato paste to 3 ounces of cold water and mix together in a blender. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce if desired. Also, various vegetables can be added or simply include 1 to 2 ounces of vegetable juice with the other ingredients to create a vegetable flavored beverage.
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