This post is for an entry into Tomato Products Wellness Council’s #WhyILoveCannedTomatoes Contest. If I win, I’ll get a trip to California to experience the tomato harvest!
Close your eyes and think of one of your most favorite taste experiences.
I would envision myself plucking a perfectly ripe tomato from the garden in the middle of August, washing it off, slicing it open, sprinkling it with salt and savoring every bite of juicy umami goodness.
In reality, I live in Chicago sans garden or even a patio for container gardening. Luckily I have access to farmers markets where I can get fresh garden tomatoes in the summer but during the rest of year, tomatoes from the grocery store are severely lacking in flavor. (Note to self: Maybe 2019 is finally the year you rent a plot in a community garden?)
This is where canned tomatoes come in! While they’re no replacement for that fresh garden-ripe experience, they do pack a punch of nutrients and flavor that I love to incorporate in meals all year-round! When I think of some of my favorite recipes, so many of them include canned tomatoes in some form or another. That could be because Italian is one of my favorite cuisines and tomatoes are a staple in Italian cooking, but I digress.
In my dream home with my dream pantry, I would have an entire shelf stocked with every kind of canned tomato so I would always have them on hand for recipes and random throw-together meals. One of my favorite cheap and easy meals I started making in college was a three-bean stew that includes canned tomatoes! I knew if I kept canned tomatoes, beans and corn on hand, I’d always have a delicious and nutritious meal available in minutes.
Read on to learn the specifics about why I love canned tomatoes so much and some of my favorite ways to use them! I’d love to hear the ways you use canned tomatoes.
4 Reasons Why I Love Canned Tomatoes
From tomato paste to crushed tomatoes to fire-roasted diced tomatoes, there are so many types of canned tomatoes. You even can get whole canned tomatoes! They’re delicious straight from the can in cold or ready-to-eat recipes and there are seemingly infinite ways you can cook them. You can find canned tomatoes with herbs, no-salt-added, organic, etc. Basically you can find any type of canned tomato to suit your fancy!
This is probably the best part, in my opinion. Canned foods are such a great invention and help us get valuable nutrition from otherwise perishable foods all year round! You can stock up when they’re on sale and don’t have to worry about them going bad. Like my pantry fantasy, keeping canned tomatoes on hand gives you a versatile building block for tasty meals at all times!
Tomatoes aren’t the hardiest of produce. They bruise and can get squished and rot quite easily. That’s why canned tomatoes are such a great choice: they reduce food waste by salvaging tomatoes before they go bad! They also make use of tomatoes that can’t be sold fresh (i.e. the “ugly” ones). Not to mention steel cans are recyclable and also are handy for lots of upcycling projects. Remove the label, wash and dry the can and use it for potted plants!
You knew this one was coming! One cup of canned crushed tomatoes is an excellent source of vitamins C (important for iron absorption) and E and a good source of iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, thiamin and vitamins B6 and K. Canned tomatoes also deliver lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant that the body best absorbs from cooked and canned tomatoes. Lycopene is particularly beneficial in the risk reduction of prostate cancer. Psst… lycopene (as well as vitamins E and K) are fat-soluble nutrients meaning you need to eat them with a fat source for your body to absorb them. Just another reason why tomatoes and olive oil are a match made in heaven!
10 Tasty Ways to Use Canned Tomatoes
What are you favorite ways to enjoy canned tomatoes?