I learnt to cook out of tins. I don’t mean as a student; I mean when I was growing up we ate out of tins, a lot. One of the staples in the cupboard was tinned tomatoes. They were used for everything. Even when we had a cooked breakfast it would come with tinned tommies.
I don’t know if tomatoes were scarce in Manchester in the 70s, just a seasonal treat or wether we preferred it that way. All I know is that the fresh tomato was rarely seen in our house.
What’s taught is whats known and as an adult I thought tinned tomatoes were an essential ingredient in bolognese, sauces and stews. Consequently the thought of giving up tinned tomatoes as part of our plastic boycott, (Tin cans of food – they are nearly all plastic lined), was scary. But I needn’t have worried…..

Make Passata

When I decided to cut tinned tomatoes I went into compensatory overdrive.. I bought in boxes of tomatoes and cooked up huge batches of passatta to be frozen in case of need.
Heres how
First go buy a big box of tomatoes. Or grow some.
Wash them and pack them in a pot.

You can do them whole or half and cut the hearts out first.


Cover them with a lid


Bake them in the oven or on the the top of the stove till they go squishy.
Sqeeze in innards out, pull the peel off.
freeze till needed
Nice additions – herbs when baking and or a dollop of tomato puree when freezing.
NB I reuse my PLA plastic compostable pots as freezer pots. So far only the lids have failed me.

Buy Passata

Passata in a glass bottle (they will have plastic lined metal lids)

Use Fresh As Is

Now while this is a good and useful thing to do, handy to have in and a great way to store a glut, it is not always necessary. Yes, since then I have found that you can add fresh tomatoes to whatever it is your cooking!

I know! This is how I do it
Cut them in half then remove the white bit out
Steam them on top of the frying veg
When the are steamy cooked it is easy to peel the skins off.
Then you can mash them down to make sauce.
Just as good as tinned – honest.

Find more recipes in the plastic free cookbook

4 thoughts on “Tomatos – an alternative to tinned

  1. We managed to grow more tomatoes than we could eat last year but for some reason still bought in tins so must remember to make some freezer space in preparation this summer. Found cherry tomatoes dried very well so we kept some that way and add a handful into sauces ( when I remember). This kind of thing looks perfect for making in my Wonderbag which I love but am still working out how to get best use from.

  2. Actually they seem to taste pretty much the same but they seem to feel more satisfying!? It is strange as you get older and start to kind of separate into what is really you and what is assumed. Not wrong as such but just not questioned. Interesting.

  3. I was reflecting on this very thing last night – about how, what we grow up with, we more often than not take on board as gospel. Love your new found tomato regime! i can imagine some dishes taste much better made with fresh rather than tinned .

Leave a Reply