When shopping online or at the grocery store, you will most likely be confronted with an enormous range of Australian tomato sauce products. The variety is great; however, home cooks don’t necessarily know how to use each type of sauce correctly.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy little guide on how to select, store, and cook with the most popular types of tomato sauce.
Top types of tomato sauce
Tomato chutney is a thick, chunky condiment that actually originated in India. To make a chutney, the main fruit or vegetable ingredient (in this case, tomatoes) are added to a spiced mixture containing vinegar, sugar, and herbs.
Chutney can be eaten fresh or canned and stored in a refrigerator. While chutneys are often mass-produced, it is easy enough to make your own at home. Chutneys produce a rich, vibrant flavour and can be served with any number of different dishes.
Tomato passata goes by many other names, most notably, tomato paste. Passata is a pureed, strained form of the fruit that is usually sold in jars. The sole ingredient in passata is tomato — no other preservatives, flavouring, or seasoning is added to the final mixture.
Tomato passata that is sold at your local supermarket will be thicker than passata you make at home. If you were to simply puree and strain your own tomatoes, you would end up with quite a watery mixture. People often use passata in recipes where they are trying to create a thick, vibrant tomato flavour, such as in soup or pasta.
What barbecue is complete without tomato sauce? Australian tomato sauce is typically made from a mix of tomato, sugar, vinegar, and spices. It is most often served on top of meat, including sausages and hamburgers, but can also be used to dress fries, meat pies, and eggs.
Many people don’t understand what tomato paste is and how it should be correctly used in cooking. Most recipes will only ask for a very small amount of tomato paste, as it is a very concentrated ingredient. The tomatoes are cooked, strained, and boiled down until a very thick paste forms. To this, additional ingredients are often added including salt, herbs and spices.
Tomato pasta sauce
Tomato pasta sauces come in many different shapes, sizes, and flavourings. Some contain roasted vegetables, garlic, and seasonings. Others are more traditional and limit the ingredient list to a few key elements.
Tomato based pasta sauces are often served with red meat, including mince and lamb.
Storing tomato sauce
How best to store your tomato sauce depends on what kind of product we are talking about.
Australian tomato sauce that is served with meat (ketchup) usually comes in a squeezable bottle. Once opened, some people prefer to store this bottle in the pantry. However, most nutritionists and health professionals recommend keeping sauce in the fridge, to avoid contamination.
This is the general rule for most tomato sauce-based products. Once you have opened a jar, tube, or bottle, keep it in the fridge. You should also check how long you have to finish the product once opened. This information will be on the packaging; it tends to be around 2–5 days.
Buying tomato sauce
With so many different tomato sauce based products out there, how can you know you are purchasing the right one?
Whether you are looking for pasta sauce or tomato chutney, there are a few key deciding factors you should keep in mind:
- Freshness of ingredients: Even though the tomato sauce you are buying will probably be bottled, the relative freshness of the ingredients will certainly make a difference to the taste and nutritional content of the product.
- Nutritional information: Unfortunately, some tomato sauce products can be high in salt and preservatives. Always opt for natural, whole ingredients when shopping for condiments.
- Location: It’s always a good idea to support local suppliers when it comes to food products. Purchasing Australian tomato sauce means you are benefiting from the freshest of ingredients and also doing your part for the local economy.
A fun new recipe to try
Australian tomato sauce makes a great addition to many recipes. You’ll be surprised how versatile an ingredient it is!
Sweet and spicy meatballs
- 1 kilogram ground spicy pork sausage
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup Australian tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Combine the sausage meat and egg in a large bowl.
- Shape into standard sized meatballs
- Place meatballs on a rack in a shallow baking pan.
- Bake at 200℃ for approximately 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and drain.
- In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature.
- Simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Transfer meatballs to a large saucepan.
- Add the sauce and stir gently to coat.
- Cover and keep warm until serving — enjoy!