There was a time when tomatoes were plentiful. A pot of tomato soup was considered an affordable family meal and people threw slices of tomato off their sandwiches into the bin without a second thought

Now good quality tomatoes are hard to come by and when you can find them, the price can be wallet-emptying. Unseasonable heavy rains at the beginning of the year damaged a considerable amount of this year’s tomato crop causing an unexpected shortage of good fresh tomatoes. 

Here’s how we are adapting our recipes to stay within the budget without fresh tomatoes

READ MORE: Tomato shortage?! Here’s why you’re struggling to find them on shelves

Canning it 

Tinned food is a great option when you’re looking to stock up on foods and is also a great way to keep costs low. 

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Tinned tomatoes come from all over the world and prices are more stable since they have not been affected by the weather experienced by South African farmers. 

For recipes that call for crushed, blended and chopped tomatoes we are using tinned tomatoes.

While there are minor differences in the nutritional value of tinned and fresh tomatoes ( fresh tomatoes are higher in vitamin A, K and folate while tinned tomatoes are higher in calcium and iron than fresh tomatoes) there shouldn’t be a noticeable difference in the taste and texture. 

We’re mixing it up

When recipes call for roasted tomatoes there is very little you can do to substitute the tomatoes completely and still get the same taste, texture and effect as you would with fresh tomatoes. 

In recipes that call for roasted tomatoes like the famous baked feta pasta, we’re only using a portion of the tomatoes the recipe calls for and padding the rest out with other vegetables like peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and spinach and olives. These veggies not only add a delicious twist to the famous recipe but also add texture and colour to the quick and easy pasta recipe. 

Juicy salads with tomato

Once you get over the fact that tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable and are actually very similar to many other fruits we eat in different ways you’re well on your way to finding your favourite tomato substitute for your salad. 

Depending on what tomato aspects you enjoy most in your salads, you could add strawberries, stone fruit or grapefruit to your salad and maybe you could change how you enjoy your favourite salad even when the price of tomatoes comes back down.



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