Tomato Sauce 101

March 04, 2013

We've all used or consumed tomato sauce - but do you know how to shop for tomato sauce, store it and what's so good about it nutritionally? Find out here

What is Tomato Sauce?
Originally from Italy, this sauce uses fresh tomatoes, cooked down to a thick texture, blended with herbs, to use over pasta, meats, or vegetables.

How to Buy:
Prepared sauces are available fresh and refrigerated in 8oz. containers or in jars and cans in an almost endless variety of choices: plain tomato (marinara), olive, green and/or red peppers, cheese(s), vodka, red wine, eggplant, roasted tomato, garden vegetable, garlic and onion, ground beef or sausage, basil, mushroom, and in chunky or smooth texture.

How to Use:
In any recipe that calls for sauce from pasta to lasagna or add as flavoring in burgers or in a marinade.

How to Store:
Refrigerated sauces should always be stored at 40 F. Jar or can varieties can be stored in a cool dry cupboard until ready to use; once opened, refrigerate.

Health Benefits:
Tomatoes are high in fiber and antioxidants, particularly the carotenoid, lycopene, well known for eye health as well as fighting some cancers. Tomatoes, have high amounts vitamins C, A and K, potassium and manganese and trace elements of many other nutrients. Cooking does not seem to diminish the nutrients significantly. Relatively low in calories (70-80), vary in fats from 1 to 5g and in sodium from 360-650mg., all per ½ cup.  Oils can be soybean, canola or olive. The acidity in tomatoes requires some sweetening; sugar is traditional; some lower quality brands use high fructose corn syrup. Organic and salt free available.

Smarter Shopping:
For best value, do not check for per item price, check per-ounce price as container sizes vary from 8 to 15oz. (cans) and 8 to 26 oz. or family sizes up to 4 lbs in jars. Small batch and imported brands can cost up to twice that of domestic brands.

For more product 101s download our FREE Smarter Shopping App