Sauces Thickened with Plant Particles: Purees

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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Some of the most delicious sauces we eat, including tomato sauces and applesauce, are made simply by crushing fruits and vegetables. Crushing, or pureeing, frees the juices from the cells of the fruit or vegetable, and breaks the cell walls into fragments that become suspended in the juices and block their flow, so giving them some thickness. Crushed nuts and spices have no juices of their own, but they thicken a liquid to which they’re added by absorbing some of its water and providing dry cell particles that obstruct the liquid’s flow.