What is in canned tomato sauce? (+5 Ways to use canned tomato)

In this article, we will answer the question “what is in canned tomato sauce?”, and the shelf life of canned tomato sauce.

What is in canned tomato sauce?

Canned tomato sauce consists of diced tomatoes cooked and sauteed with onion and garlic and submerged in a liquid typically stoke/broth or wine. Salt is added to improve taste and preservation. Tomato skin and seeds have been removed for visual appeal and desirable mushy texture, respectively. Herbs like parsley and oregano, seasonings like chili and pepper can also be added as an optional ingredient.

How to use canned tomato sauce?

  • Tomato sauce can be used to make soups. It acts as a thickening agent meanwhile adding flavor to your soup.
  • Make poached eggs in tomato sauce and serve with your favorite vegetables. This makes for a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
  • Cook your pasta in tomato sauce. Add it to your curries and noodles.
  • Use it to make sauces like enchilada sauce, puttanesca sauce, or the classic Italian tomato sauce.
  • Use it to make a dip for your tortilla chips.

What is the difference between tomato sauce and tomato paste?

Canned tomato sauce is essentially tomato puree that has been cooked just until the tomatoes are soft and have a chunky texture. Tomato paste is obtained by cooking the tomato puree until smooth and concentrated.

Tomato paste has a smooth and thick texture and concentrated flavor. 1 tablespoon of tomato paste is enough to replace one tomato. Using tomato paste in your recipes saves you a lot of cooking time. If the paste tastes too sweet, neutralize the sweetness with some vinegar.

The shelf-life of canned tomato sauce

An unopened can of tomato juice, If stored correctly,  will retain its freshness for 18-24 months. An opened can of tomato sauce remains good quality for 3 days in the refrigerator but remains safe beyond that time.

Always store the can in a cool and dark place to prevent it from going bad. If storing it in the refrigerator, keep it at 50-70F and makes sure the temperature is steady.

The biggest quality threat to canned products

The biggest threat to canned products is the botulinum toxin produced by an anaerobic bacteria Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum contamination results as a result of improperly processed canned food that is prevalent in homecooked canned foods.

Low ph or acidic food like tomato sauce and fruits inhibit the growth of clostridium so vegetables and meat are highly susceptible to contamination by clostridium.

Food poisoning due to clostridium causes fatigue, dizziness dry mouth, and can even lead to death. 

Sings that the tomato sauce has gone bad

  1. If the surface of the tomato sauce looks cloudy or foamy, it is a sure sign of spoilage, throw it away. Green patches over the surface also indicate mold growth.
  2. If the sauce smells foul, discard the sauce.
  3. If an unopened can of tomato sauce shows signs of bulging, toss it in the bin because it is the gas produced by the clostridium bacteria.
  4. If the can is leaking, do not consume it.

Things to consider when buying or making canned food

  • Make it a habit to read the label of any food before buying it. In case of canned foods, make sure it does not contain any added salt or sugar if you are a patient of hypertension or diabetes. 
  • Do not buy any canned product that shows signs of leakage or is damaged or cracked.
  • If you are canning food at home, make sure to keep the food at the right temperature for the right time for that specific food to ensure safety.

Is canned food healthy?


  • Canning involves high temperatures so a lot of heat-sensitive and water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C will be lost during the process. 
  • BPA is present in the lining of canned foods. Acidic food like tomato sauce can cause the leaching of BPA into the food. BPA has been found to cause heart diseases, infertility, and diabetes.
  • Spoiled canned food can cause food-borne-illnesses like botulism.
  • Canned foods have salt and sugar added to them. They also contain preservatives. Excessive consumption of canned foods might lead to heart diseases, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes.


  • Canned food is very convenient to use. For example, with tomato sauce or tomato paste, you don’t need to spend time preparing or cooking the vegetable before adding it to your food.
  • Canning is an excellent way to preserve food and make it available all year round.
  • If stored correctly, canned foods last a lot longer than fresh fruits or vegetables.


In this article, we answered the question “what is in canned tomato sauce?”, and the shelf life of canned tomato sauce.




Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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