Archive | 5:54 pm

Are organic tomatoes a waste of time?

14 Dec

After going to great lengths recently to source organic tinned tomatoes, I’ve been frustrated to read several reports over the last week about the levels of Bisphenol A (BPA) in the linings of steel cans. Apparently this is particularly concerning in high-acid foods such as tinned tomatoes.

So after buying the expensive organic stuff, perhaps the packaging is contaminating my family all over again!

I use quite an amazing amount of canned tomatoes/paste/puree. Other canned good I use a lot of are:

  • Beans/chickpeas/lentils
  • Coconut cream
  • Baked beans/spaghetti
  • Water chestnuts, bamboo shoots/straw mushrooms
  • Condensed soup (oh, the shame – I promise I don’t use it in ‘casseroles’!)

I also sometimes buy other canned food like sauerkraut, pineapple, mandarin segments, mixed fruit.

So I am more seriously considering preserving my own produce, and if I can’t grow enough, then preserving things purchased in season if necessary. The problem is choosing a preserving system – it’s so confusing!

I’ve seen that the Fowlers Vacola system is very popular in Australia. Gav uses it, and there is a relative abundance of second-hand units on ebay, along with the preserving jars. I noticed that my local IGA even stocks some accessories.

The problem with this system is that it only works on high-acid and high-sugar foods like tomatoes and jams. If I want to preserve beans, then (I think) I would need a pressure canner – a completely different system.

Since the tomatoes are my main concern, I’m thinking that I should look out for an electric Fowlers Vacola unit  and start from there. If I’m actually using the system consistently, then perhaps I can move on from there?

Do you use a preserving system? Do you have any words of wisdom for me?