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No tinned tomatoes, no ketchup, no problem!

Some of products stockpiled by customers include tinned tomatoes and ketchup.

This is unsurprising as tinned tomatoes form the base of some many staple recipes such as pasta sauce, curries, chilli and more. And ketchup (or tomato sauce) is a must for many kids (and adults too!).

This blog post contains our top tomato tips.

Did you know tomatoes are actually a fruit? And count towards 1 of our 5 a day (more details in the table below). Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant which helps to remove free radicals from the body’s system. It's thought that free radicals contribute to the cause of a number of health conditions.

In fact, by heating tomatoes for at least 15 minutes you can increase the amount of lycopene the body can absorb – heating breaks down the plant cells releasing the lycopene.


What counts as 1 portion?

1 Medium tomato - approx 80g

7 Cherry Tomatoes - approx 80g

1 heaped tablespoon of Tomato Puree (concentrated)

2 whole Canned Plum Tomatoes - approx 80g

Tomatoes also contain vitamin C , potassium, folate and vitamin K. They have a water content of 95% making them quite refreshing in a salad and great for sauces. Tinned tomatoes are just as nutritious as fresh tomatoes too.

Speaking of sauces, during the lockdown I struggled to get jarred tomato pasta sauce so I decided to make my own. I’m a big fan of store cupboard cooking and making do with what I already have.

Easy Tomato Sauce

This easy tomato sauce recipe is perfect for pasta using store cupboard ingredients. All you need is:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 white onion

1 garlic clove

400g tinned chopped or plum tomatoes

½ tsp white sugar

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 vegetable stock cube

You can add optional spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper or cumin, try 1 tsp at a time.

How to make it:

Add finely diced onion and garlic to a frying pan with olive oil on a medium heat, sautéed for a 3-4 minutes on a low heat.

Add tinned tomatoes, sugar, tomato puree, stock cube and spices (if you are adding any) to the pan. Reduce the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 10-15 minutes with occasional stirring.

Once finished season with salt and pepper to taste (optional) and either serve immediately or leave to cool before refrigerating.

Easy Tomato Ketchup

Another popular tomato-based item I struggled to get my hands on was tomato ketchup, my kids were not happy! I decided to have a go at making my own easy tomato ketchup recipe. I must say I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. You will need:

230g tomato paste

2 tbsp white wine or apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp malt vinegar

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

How to make it:

In a mixing bowl combine tomato paste with the other wet ingredients; white wine or apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and malt vinegar. Once mixed add onion powder, oregano and salt.

Blend until smooth with a hand blender. If you don’t have a hand blender you can use a hand whisk.

Not only are jarred tomato pasta sauces and tomato ketchup tricky to find, tinned tomatoes are also difficult to track down.

Did you know you can use fresh tomatoes to make sauces etc instead of canned tomatoes?

Make your own tinned tomatoes

You will need:

1 kg fresh tomatoes

How to make it:

Place water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Wash tomatoes and with using a sharp knife mark a cross on the bottom of each tomato – this will help to remove the skin later.

Add tomatoes to the sauce pan and cook for 1 minute or until you can start to see the skin peeling off from where you cut the cross.

Remove tomatoes from the saucepan and place in an ice bath (large bowl with cold water and ice cubes). This makes the tomatoes cool enough for you to handle.

Once cool, remove the skins, that will hopefully slide off easily. Chop tomatoes into quarters and add the them to an empty large saucepan over a medium heat.

Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes down until the desired consistency is reached.

Once mashed sufficiently transfer for a container and use within a few days.

I understand it may be tough trying to get tomatoes – tinned or fresh but there are some substitutes you can use, such as using red bell pepper in tomato sauce. You will need:

Bell Pepper Sauce

3 red bell peppers

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp dried mixed herbs (you could also just use dried oregano or dried basil)

Pinch of salt

Pinch of white sugar

How to make it:

Slice red bell peppers into eights, remove core and place on a baking tray. Drizzle olive oil on both sides and place in the oven at 200oC fan or 220oC for 15-20 minutes.

The peppers will be slightly charred when you remove them from the oven, you can remove the skins if you want less of a charred taste, otherwise keep them on.

Blend peppers with olive oil, mixed herbs, pinch of salt and sugar, blend until smooth.

Store in a container and reheat when ready to eat.

If you’ve been struggling to get baked beans, you can make your own using tomatoes. BBC GoodFood has a recipe for homemade baked beans which can be found here.

If you’ve been successful in getting baked beans, check out my blog post Baked Beans – 12 ways for some inspiration.

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