Pregnant women often ask me if it is safe to eat tomato sauce. You’ll be happy to know that you can have it in moderation and have nothing to worry about. In previous years the concern with tomato sauce was mainly about Monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is a food enhancer. It is used in the food industry to enhance the meaty or savory taste of foods. MSG has a GRAS status (Generally Regarded As Safe) from the U.S Food and Drug Administration and the European Union has permitted it as a food additive subject to quantity limitations. MSG has been used for over a 100 years to season food with a number of studies conducted on its safety. Findings show that it is harmless unless consumed in large quantities just as it is common knowledge that too much of anything is not good for you. So unless you plan on chugging down a 500ml bottle of sauce in one go then you have nothing to worry about.
Other foods that contain MSG include:
- Dehydrated soup packets
- Instant noodles and cup noodles
- Preserved fish
- All kinds of sausages
- All canned and preserved foods
For extra safety you could make your own tomato sauce in order to avoid the additives. I’ve put together a recipe for you. Try it out and let us know how it goes.
- 15 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 7kgs)
- ¼ to ½ cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons salt (optional)
- Very large pot
- Mixing bowls
- Slotted spoon
- Knife and cutting board
- Food processor or blender
- Jars for canning or containers for freezing
- Bring a very large pot of water to boil over high heat.
- Fill a mixing bowl with ice and water and set this next to the stove.
- Core out the stems from the tomatoes and slice a shallow “X” in the bottom of each fruit
- Working in batches, drop several tomatoes into the boiling water. Cook until you see the skin start to wrinkle and split, 45-60 seconds, then lift the tomatoes out with the slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes, transferring the cooled tomatoes from the ice water to another mixing bowl.
- When finished blanching, use your hands to strip the skins from the tomatoes. Discard the water used to boil the tomatoes.
- Working in batches, pulse the tomatoes in the food processor. Pulse a few times for a chunkier sauce or process until smooth for a pureed sauce. Transfer each batch into the large pot.
- Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Continue simmering for 30-90minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce reaches the taste and consistency you prefer.
- When finished cooking, stir in the lemon juice or vinegar and salt. Add more lemon juice or vinegar to taste if you want it extra tangy.
Freezing- Let the sauce cool, and then transfer it into freezer containers or freezer bags. Sauce can be kept frozen for at least 3 months before develop freezer burn or off-flavors.
Canning-Transfer the hot sauce into sterilized canning jars. Top with new sterilized lids, and screw on the rings until finger tight. Process in a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes. Let it cool completely. Refrigerate and use within a week or freeze it for up to 3 months.