Recipes Tomatoes

Canned Foods – One your Garden can Help You Avoid

We don’t eat very many things that come in cans. But according to statistics I saw sometime ago, 17% of the average American’s diet comes out of cans.

The one canned item that was a staple in this household for many years was tomato paste.  Even after I found out about the dangers of BPA, I was naive enough to think that because I bought organic that BPA would not be used as the liner for the cans.  With more evidence coming out all the time on the dangers of BPA, I decided to write to the company to make sure.

Their reply informed me that “Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a critical component of protective coatings used with metal food packaging and provides important quality and safety features to canned foods.”  and that “—BPA is not a risk to human health. ”

What a shock that was!  My opinion of that company plummeted.

BPA has been linked to serious health problems like cancer, heart disease, intestinal malfunctions, infertility and reproductive issues, increase in body insulin levels, birth defects and behavioral changes in children for a good many years now. It’s not a secret.

The company was either lying or ignorant.  And I can’t believe ignorance was a possibility. Furthermore, I’ve read since then that they plan to change their cans to BPA free but don’t have a timeline for it. But even if it’s replaced with another plastic, studies have found that almost all plastics release hormone disruptors at some level.

I have enough problems without inviting more so I like to stay away from canned foods.

(For a short but interesting read you might want to check out the Organic Grace site article on BPA. Some info is from 2008 and 2009 with some 2011 updates about what companies are doing.  Even tells about BPA in toothpaste tubes!)

Canned Tomato Paste – A staple

For years I never thought I could get along without canned tomato paste.  I’d let my tomatoes cook down on top of the stove.  I called it tomato essence.  In the winter I would thaw out a package and add a small can of tomato paste. That gave it a more homogenized creamy texture when I wanted a spaghetti sauce.

Roasted Tomatoes to the Rescue

After experimenting with roasted tomatoes a few seasons ago I found out that I didn’t need canned tomato paste to give my sauce a creamy smooth texture. All I do is peel, cook in the oven until almost all the liquid is gone, and stir.  You won’t believe how creamy smooth it is — not to mention delicious!

All I did here was thaw my quart of tomato sauce and add some fresh frozen chopped bell peppers from my garden.


As I mentioned in my post Tomatoes – Roasted – For the Easiest Most Delicious Tomato Sauce, a TMG reader made it even easier. She sliced and cooked the tomatoes with the skins on and then put it in her Vitamix to make it smooth as butter even with those skins.  After that she wrote to me and said: “—the result (is) the most flavorful, amazing tomato paste you’ve ever tasted in your life! —”

A Great Way to Use ALL your Excess Tomatoes

Once you discover this for yourself, you’ll want to use every tomato that you don’t eat fresh to fix and freeze plenty of this sauce for winter meals. It takes a lot of tomatoes to make a quart of paste/sauce.

Final Thought

Once you have your homemade roasted sauce on hand you’ll never need to buy another can of tomato paste. If you do run out of your own sauce, try buying an organic tomato sauce in a glass jar.  It’s a much healthier choice.

Related Posts:

Tomatoes – Roasted – For the Easiest Most Delicious Tomato Sauce

A Quick and Delicious Tomato Sauce


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient  — and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • I started roasting my tomatos last year thanks to you Theresa, and I’m here to tell you, it is the best.
    I am planning to increase the number of tomato plants I have this year just so I can roast and
    freeze more.
    I’ve been reading about the canned tomato and bpa issues recently. I stopped buying canned soups and vegetables a while back. Now I’m done with canned tomatoes too.
    Thanks again for the roasting recipe. I leave the skins on too.

  • Hi Danita,

    Your comment sure put a big smile on my face! Roasted tomatoes and the easy and delicious sauce that results from them has to be one of the best kept secrets in the world! Surely, if folks knew — they would do as you and I are doing and increase the number of tomato plants in order to have more to roast and freeze.

    Glad you’re taking action to get rid of the BPA in your life and that I could help make it a bit easier regarding tomato paste/sauce.
    I never thought there would be an easy way to do without canned tomato paste until I roasted tomatoes.

    Wishing you the very best of tomatoes this season!

  • Theresa,
    I’ve never tried the roasted tomato sauce but you’ve convinced me and I can’t wait to try it this summer!

    I do dehydrate as many tomatoes as possible every summer and we can’t get enough of them in the winter. They are delicious for snacking–especially the cherry tomatoes!

    I’m curious. How many tomato plants does it take to feed the two of you tomato sauce in the winter?

  • Hi Gayle,
    Glad you’re gonna try the roasted tomato sauce. You’ll never look back. 8)

    I usually have about 40 to 50 tomato plants. In good years (which are most) I usually have all the tomatoes I want in order to fix sauce to freeze. Keep in mind that my tomato plant produce from July through October or November. Most of the time I have fresh tomatoes at least through Christmas.

    For some reason, this past year was not the best for tomatoes in my garden. Bill says it’s because I tried to many new varieties other than the tried and true. And — I think he may be right in part. We did however have plenty of tomatoes to eat and I still put up several dozen quarts of sauce. I prefer having at least 50 quarts and 60 would make me even happier. I don’t have room for more than that in my freezer because I need lots of blueberries, strawberries, green beans, peppers, and a few other things as well as tomato sauce.

    I’ve thought a lot over the past year about getting a deydrator. Not sure I’ll get this year or not. But it would be such a great way to keep some things on hand. Any tips you can give would be appreciated.

    Good to hear from you Gayle!

  • Hi Theresa,
    I have just found your website and I am enjoying it so much! I have been gardening for about 25 years, and growing vegies for about 5. I went all organic last year.

    I dry tomatoes too, and I just use the oven! Slice them and put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Put in a low oven and check after two hours. This will give you a good idea of how often you will need to check. I have even dried them overnight. Let them get good and dry and crispy. I freeze them in containers and add them to soups and sauces and the flavor — oh my goodness! And as Gayle said, they are delicious eating as is. I hope you get a chance to try this!
    Happy gardening,

  • Welcome to TMG Tamara and congratulations on going all organic! That’s a great step!

    Sure appreciate your explaining the details about drying the tomatoes in your comment. I will definitely try them this year!

    Thanks for the tip and Happy Gardening to you as well.

    P.S. Tamara, would you please let me know how you found my website. That would be so helpful.

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