I didn’t think I needed another type of canned tomatoes in my life until I met canned cherry tomatoes.
My pantry is always stocked with canned whole peeled tomatoes and diced tomatoes, which I use in soups and sauces regularly, especially in the winter when out-of-season fresh tomatoes are subpar. A few friends of mine, however, kept encouraging me to give canned cherry tomatoes a try, touting them as being even sweeter and juicier than what I usually have on hand.
They were absolutely right. Canned cherry tomatoes taste like a burst of summer sunshine. They’re the very best canned tomatoes I’ve ever tasted, which means I now keep them in my pantry at all times.
For a while I only occasionally saw canned cherry tomatoes stocked at my local Italian market. I never gave them a try because they were quite expensive. Then Mutti Cherry Tomatoes ($17.98 for a 6-pack of 14-ounce cans) started showing up at my local Publix at a much more reasonable price. I couldn’t resist and I am so happy I didn’t.
Canned cherry tomatoes are simply whole cherry tomatoes that have been picked at peak ripeness and packed in tomato puree. The tomatoes still have their skins, which not only holds in their sweet juices but also lends a nice texture to whatever you’re using them in.
Since Mutti preserves these cherry tomatoes at peak ripeness, they truly taste of summer, when fresh tomatoes are so sweet they’re almost candy-like. They also lack any lingering tin flavors and aromas, which you sometimes find in other canned tomatoes. I think that has to do with them being packed skin-on.
Canned cherry tomatoes can be used just like other canned tomatoes. However, given they’re packed whole, they skirt the line between canned and fresh tomatoes in many applications, which is why I particularly love reaching for them right now so I can avoid mealy fresh winter tomatoes completely.
Here are a few ideas for what to do with them:
- Empty a can into a baking pan and add a few smashed and peeled garlic cloves, a few herb sprigs, and finish with some roast chicken or fish on top for an easy, satisfying dinner! For a vegetarian version, stir in a can or two of drained and rinsed chickpeas or white beans instead.
- Use a can in place of crushed tomatoes in your favorite pantry pasta to lend texture and sweetness.
- Drain the tomatoes and stir them into a creamy risotto or bake them inside a savory galette.
- You can even enjoy them straight from the can! Drain and lightly rinse the tomatoes, then pile them on thick toast with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a winter bruschetta. You can also pair them with fresh mozzarella and herbs for a winter take on Caprese salad!