Writing down an instruction to add the 'passed ingredient X' to bowl Y, I found the possible referring phrases getting slightly clunky, or else unspecific like 'the result'. With tomatoes it would be Passata. I've seen it called purée, but does that cover high-water sludge too? By analogy I'd like to write 'passée' (with care not to drop that second 'e'...) but that doesn't seem to exist conventionally, so might be jarring to (currently hypothetical) readers.

For an example, I boiled and mashed pumpkin with added water, then I pushed the mass through a sieve until the work got too hard and scraped the sieve bottom into the juice. The results were solid-rich but still thin juice, what I want to name; and a fibery, firm lump, much more of an everyday-language puree than the former. Both 'pumpkin', both used further on.

For another, coarsely cut and crushed tomatoes with diced peppers on top, steamed soft and passed resulted in a blended-soup-like fluid. The sludge I mentioned above, which doesn't seem to sound very culinary, or does it? I actually jotted down 'soup' at first, but there's no soup going into or out of that recipe. Avoiding such confusion prompted this question.

Is there a single word I can use, or several for various cases? In English and also in German, if you're equipped to oblige.

  • Purée can simply be a sort of finely crushed/blended product, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been strained / sieved. What you’re calling ‘sludge’ might be considered ‘pulp’ depending on what you’re straining. (True sludge might pass through a sieve, but then settle to the bottom of the liquid, which is why it’s a pain to remote in water treatment)
    – Joe
    Nov 8 at 3:02
  • @Joe, did I seem to you to think puree implied straining?
    – ariola
    Nov 8 at 14:21
  • And I would have thought pulp was the residue?
    – ariola
    Nov 8 at 14:22
  • in your first paragraph, you say that strained tomatoes are passata or purée. So yes. And you mention scraping the sieve and having a fiberous lump … oh, the bottom of the sieve. Okay, that’s not pulp, but I’m still unclear as to what your end result is when you talk about the lump
    – Joe
    Nov 8 at 14:45
  • The lump is the dried pumpkin flesh. About the tomatoes, with respect, you've inverted the logical arrow. I wasn't saying that passata is always strained. Thank you!
    – ariola
    Nov 8 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


If you need to be specific that you're referring to the post-sieving ingredient, I would probably say "the sieved X", or probably clearer and more common, "the strained X" or even "the X liquid" (with the part left in the sieve being "the X solids"). I don't think there's a common noun for "the result of sieving" in English, so in order to be easily understood, you probably have to use more than one word.

You may not always need to be specific, of course. If you pass fruit through a sieve, and then do something else with it later, it's still fruit. It might be a helpful reminder to say "the sieved fruit", but you could likely also accurately refer to it as "fruit" still.

Whether or not "puree" is an appropriate word, or whether there's another appropriate word, really depends on the specifics. Words like that aren't so much defined by whether a sieve was involved as they are by the texture and ingredients.

Your pumpkin sounds like you separated it into juice and pulp, or juice and solids, if you like. Your tomato+pepper sounds like a puree, or if you're really worried it's not thick enough, call it juice, I suppose.

I am aware that if you ask dictionaries you will see purees restricted to thicker liquids, but I have seen it used for things with plenty of water plenty of times in recipes/cookbooks, and "soup-like", especially with tomato, implies the inclusion of plenty of fine solids and at least some thickness. Tomato juice as sold in stores is reasonably thick, though, so whatever floats your boat.

And a final note: the purpose of recipes is, generally, to convey information in a way that's understood by other people. If there is a single word that's abundantly clear and accurate, that's great. But it's very common in recipes to add extra words to be more understandable and/or convey more information. People frequently write things like "thin puree" or "thick juice", and that's a good thing - it lets the reader know that it's actually fine and expected that their juice isn't as thin as apple juice, it helps them confirm that they're adding the right thing in that later step. If your goal is to avoid confusion, clarity should be your primary goal, not single-word.

  • But would ‘the sieved fruit’ be the liquid that passed through the sieve, or the pulp left behind?
    – Joe
    Nov 8 at 2:58
  • @Joe Sure, it's ambiguous sometimes, so doesn't always work. But there's also cases where there's really not much in the sieve (e.g. a bunch of blackberry seeds).
    – Cascabel
    Nov 8 at 3:30

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