Cirio – all about tomatoes!

 

You say tomato, we say pomodoro!

It is fair to say that if you are after the best tomatoes in the world, you almost certainly turn to Italy. No other cuisine celebrates these fruits with such enthusiasm; they can be found in every aspect of Italian cooking, whether dressed in olive oil or as the base for a fantastic pasta sauce. Combine that with Italy’s overall approach to food – the best ingredients prepared authentically and simply to highlight the produce’s natural flavour – and it’s no wonder chefs all over the world want Italian tomatoes in their kitchens.

 

Of course, not all recipes are best suited to fresh tomatoes, and here in the UK it can be difficult to source them, as they tend to lose their flavour when transported fresh in refrigerated trucks. Instead we use preserved tomatoes. While some tinned fruits and vegetables are seen as inferior to their fresh counterparts, tinned tomatoes are the chef’s friend. Not only do they save time and money (no need for blanching, peeling, deseeding and chopping), they’re also available all year round.

 

The flavour and texture between brands can vary massively. As with any aspect of food, the quality of the produce you put in has a massive effect on the final dish. And as Cirio is Italy’s most popular brand of tinned tomatoes, it’s safe to say our tins are the ones to reach for if flavour, texture and deliciousness are what you need.

 

Cirio’s chef, Vivien Reimbelli’s guide to tomatoes…

All trends in modern cuisine enhance the quality ingredients and the natural taste of raw materials, and preserved tomatoes are no exception. Nowadays quality is reached with genuine “fresh“ taste, quick cooking that does not stress the product, as oppose to high concentration products or slow cooking that result in altered flavours or overcooked food.

 

Quality tomatoes: the redder the better

The natural red color and the sweet fresh flavour of quality tomatoes starts with using the best seeds followed by optimal ripening and processing in 24 hours, along with the advanced technology of the best processing method; a process of rapid pasteurization which reduces the oxidative stress of cooking, ensuring preservation over time without dyes or preservatives, and which preserves the organoleptic characteristics of the products. The burnished color or the bitter-tasting of some low-cost tomato products often are a result of old technologies that lower the product’s quality with excessive temperatures and the acid taste often occurring may be due to the excess of citric acid added to preserve the product.

 

The high yield of tomato products usually means: more tomato, less water. High yield can be helpful due to:

  • Less energy costs: reduces the need for extra cooking to evaporate the excess water;
  • Less labour costs: less time and risk to the workers in kitchen, caused by the high weight of professional crockery for mass catering, less handling and more space in the warehouse, less disposal of empty packaging…
  • More taste of raw material: less need to enrich with other more expensive ingredients (e.g. cheese, olives, mushrooms…).

 

The brix degree:

Brix is the coefficient of concentration of a liquid, which in preserved tomatoes is related to fibers and sugars; it states the product density. Tomatoes in nature have a brix grade of 5.5 – 6. Double concentrated puree has experienced much water evaporation and has a brix of 30.

 

But high brix is not synonymous of quality!

Each different tomato product has it’s own place in the kitchen – a suitable product, ready to use with the correct degree of moisture and pulping, is indispensable for saving time and money.

 

…and selecting the right product

 

Plum

Plum tomatoes generally have a higher solid content that makes them more suitable for processing. The plum tomatoes are usually blanched and peeled before they are canned. Ideal for pasta sauces, meat dishes and dishes that require longer cooking times. The taste of fresh tomatoes available all year long.

 

Chopped

Chopped tomatoes are usually produced from round tomatoes which are peeled and chopped into pieces. The tomato cubes are naturally watery, and the vegetative liquid tends to part from the pulp (a natural phenomenon called sineresi). Chopped tomatoes are suitable for prolonged cooking with other ingredients or if a very wet final result is needed.

 

Crushed

Crushed tomatoes is a recipe; a mix of different tomato raw products blended during the production process, the result: less skins, drained, pulpy, almost a ‘ready sauce’. Crushed tomatoes are best used for quick cooking, where the fresh (and not ‘cooked’) taste of tomato is enhanced.

 

Passata

Round tomatoes, peeled, finely chopped, then passed through a fine sieve. Since it’s ‘almost cooked’ during the process, it can be heated for just a few minutes to get quick preparations, but thanks to its natural texture it is also good for slow cooking such as soups, stews, casseroles, or processed pasta sauce.

 

Puree

A tomato ‘stock’, obtained from a long evaporation method. It is a flavour enhancer that can be added to all dishes: with no need of cooking, it adds a strong taste of tomato without the watery component.

 

 

  • The sweetest whole plum tomatoes grown in Salento area benefiting from the brackish water and soils rich in minerals so they become big, red, hard bodied and unoxidized.

 

  • Only the plumpest & ripest are picked and canned within 24 hours, giving a fresh, distinctive and authentic taste of Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Round tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and cut into large, fleshy pieces.

 

  • Ready to use for quick preparations; simple dishes, especially pasta sauces or bruschetta will deliver an ‘authentic Italian’ experience.

 

 

 

 

  • Cirio Supercirio double concentrated, is a more modern taste than the triple one: less bitter, brown, thick.

 

  • It is also very healthy thanks to the highest percentage of Lycopen, the natural anti-oxidant that occurs in tomatoes, which can be extracted only during slow cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Made from the round tomato, peeled, finely chopped, then passed through a fine sieve.

 

  • Produced in 24 hours.

 

  • A naturally velvety consistency with no seeds.

 

 

Get inspired with these impressive recipes

 

Francesco Cirio was the first to preserve vegetables and tomatoes back in 1856 and ever since the brand has been an essential ingredient in every Italian household. Cirio is now enjoyed in over 80 countries around the world.

Cirio is owned by Conserve Italia, a cooperative of 14,000 farming companies. Rigorous analysis and controls throughout the entire process enables us to promise our products are ‘guaranteed from seed to fork’.

Cirio is made from 100% Italian tomatoes, picked and packed within 24 hours with the skill and dedication of our farmers; a passion that’s been handed down from generation to generation.

Cirio is the official sponsor selected by F.I.C. (the Federation of Italian Chefs) for preserved tomatoes and vegetables.

Agriculture with integrated farming method; Cirio’s sophisticated agronomic techniques minimize the use of chemical additives. We respect the environment (we recycle water, agricultural waste, steam, we produce wind energy to power our plants). Agricultural production is planned throughout the year by experienced agronomists to maximize quality.

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