fresh tomatoes vs crushed tomatoes

Has anyone used fresh sliced tomatoes in lieu of a crushed, puree, or paste based tomato ?

I am going to try it and will let anyone know, if interersted.


Year-round consistency is where cans shine. The other thing is that canners can heat under vacuum requiring less heat to extract the extra moisture, causing less of a “cooked” taste.

Snowman has it nailed…moisture will be a huge problem, but consistent quality, consistent cutting, and inconsistent cost make it less desirable, in my experience.

Go for it, Otis!

Hi Otis,

Fresh tomatoes are great on pizza, however, they do require special treatment and if you intend on using them out of season, they can become very costly and difficult to handle–with not the greatest results.

The best tomatoes for all around pizza topping are Roma tomatoes, otherwise known in some parts as egg tomatoes, plum tomatoes or Italian tomatoes. They are slightly pear shaped, have thicker skins and thicker flesh with less seeds and they are best for cooking because they have low moisture and great flavor. The best way to prepare them for pizza is to seed them first and then slice into strips or cut into slices or large dice.

To seed them, cut them through their circumference and simply squeeze the seeds and excess juice out. You can also cut them lengthwise and hollow out the seeds using 2 fingers on each half.

Romas can be used year round, but they become really pricey in the winter and you have to purchase a number of cases at a time to allow them to ripen for a few days before use.

As for other fresh tomatoes like heirlooms, sweet 100’s, cherry tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes, they are best used in season as a specialty topping. I don’t seed these when I use them, but then again, I tend to pair them with just a few toppings so their juices don’t make things soggy. (Put the cheese down first and the tomatoes on top, that helps the moisture factor).Summer is the best time to do lots of variations on the Margherita pizza using a mix of tomatoes in all sizes and colors.

If you want year-round fresh taste and consistency, use crushed fresh-pak tomatoes and they will give a brighter, fresher, flavor to your sauce. If you make your own fresh tomato sauce, I would stick to doing it as a seasonal special.

unless I’m totally reading Otis’ original post wrong, he’s talking about using fresh tomato instead of a sauce. IOW, putting tomato slices down AS a sauce, not as a topping.

When I first opened I used only fresh tomatoes in my sauce. I threw them on a bit tray and ran them through my ovens once and then dumped them into a bit pot of ice water. You can pull the skins right off then. Next I cut them in half dumped out the seeds and threw them into my food processor (it is a big one), and mixed them with a canned base sauce that had onions and some herbs, and about 10% catsup for the color, then added some olive oil and spices. The fresh tomatoes were very inconsistent and the color and taste of my sauce varied with the seasons.

I basically used this method because I couldn’t find any decent sauce in my market (Japan) at the time. After Costco moved in I switched to canned tomatoes right away. The color and consistency was great, and the price was about 75% less. Japan does have $100 melons, so fresh fruit is expensive, but I would have to assume that the same goes in the states.

Now I use a tomato paste, I get a palate at a time shipped from Tokyo. It was great to be able to say I make my sauce from fresh tomatoes daily on my marketing, but operationally it was a nightmare, and the consistency was all over the board.

Just out of curiosity, what sauce are you using now? and why the change?


Otis call Joesph at Nina Dist. in New Jersey they dist some very good tomatoes from the San Marzano valley. Their phone number is 908-226-8866. Tell Todd From Big Apple in Reno told you to call him. They are good people and they have great products specially for old pizza makers from the East Coast.


Yes, my understanding of the post was that Otis wanted to use sliced fresh tomatoes INSTEAD of canned tomato sauce, puree or paste. But he did not indicate that he was going to make a fresh tomato sauce out of them.

Perhaps my answer was confusing because the use of fresh tomatoes on pizza and in sauce–be it fresh or canned, are two different animals.

Sliced fresh tomatoes on pizza do not qualify as “sauce”, they are actually a topping. If the fresh tomatoes were added to the sauce, then they would be part of the sauce. You can crush fresh tomatoes through a mill, that gets rid of the seeds and peel and have fresh tomato sauce. You can roast the fresh tomatoes and make a roasted tomato sauce. So you can have fresh tomato sauce.

But, when fresh tomatoes go on top of the pie, diced or sliced–separate from the sauce, or even without tomato sauce, they are considered a topping just like peppers or onions. Many operators offer fresh tomatoes–diced or sliced as a topping option in addition to their tomato sauce. It was in this spirit that I gave some advice on handling fresh tomatoes as a topping on pizza.

I was giving a great alternative. Unless people made sauce from scratch for a pizzeria they would have trouble. Having been the pizza business for about 26 years in New York and New Jersey. I thought these tomatoes would be great for him. I know Lombaridies and their recipes. Seeing as both of my Godfathers owned Bakieries in New York City, Parisi’s in Queens and Roma Bakery in Brooklyn. We all learned the same recipes from the old timers. And they all teach the better the ingredients the Better the product.


to answer Chris Pizza’s question, I now use fresh pak crushed tomatoes, different brands, lightly seasone with salt, cracked pepper, olive oil.
I sprinkle oregano and/or basil on accoeding to the pizza I am baking.
As I do more volume, I realize the practicallity of combining all these sauce ingredients.

That raises a question from Evelyn’s post about seeds, especially since you taught me the better way to remove tomato seeds.
What flavor do seeds impart and wha do the tomato processors do with all those extracted seeds ?


verifying question, seeds?

yes, to use fresh sliced tomatoes in lieu of a “pizza sauce”

…the seeds seem to be of a difference here, ? do the seeds impart an undesirable flavor ?
I suppose, or assume that crushed tomatoes have been de-seeded "


Re: verifying question, seeds?


Some crushed tomato products do contain some seeds–not a lot, the super-premium ones don’t have seeds. Seeds impart a bitter flavor–just a slight bitter flavor. Some operators actually prefer the flavor–it’s a matter of taste.

When using fresh tomatoes for topping, removing as much seeds as possible is less a matter of flavor as it is excess moisture.

Another technique that I like with great fresh summer tomatoes is a kind of marinated sauce. I take ripe heirloom tomatoes (or anyother), seed them and cut them in to large rough chunks, season them with salt and pepper, fresh basil strips, a small amount of fresh garlic that has been finely minced a just a small bit of extra virgin olive oil. Toss together, and the tomatoes excess juices make their own kind of sauce. This is a very light summer “sauce” that I use as a change of pace for a Margherita type topping–it also works well with feta cheese or goat cheese.

Varying the colors and types of tomatoes works visually and flavorwise–reds, gold, yellow and so on. The flavor of fresh tomato on pizza is awesome.