Tomato sauce without sugar please

i quit sugar's tomato sauceNigel Latta got a lotta us thinking about sugar. A lotta us were thinking about it before that country stopping TV episode in September.
My friends Toni Faulkner and Kim Trenwith have sugar free homes. Pantries and cups of tea offered to guests without sugar. They’ve been doin it for a couple of years now.
Husband got on to it about this time of the year, 2012, whilst training to run over Mt Tongariro.
He found Mark Sissen and Paleo and has since found Weston A. Price.
That night, goggle led him to such fellows and ideas, and he quizzed me on how much sugar I feed to our children so I exposed my pantry to the (now) sugar man.

The main culprit was tomato sauce.
The mayo and chutneys had it too.
The chilli beans and sweet (thai) chilli sauce were off the charts per serving.
The drinking chocolate higher than milo, some leftover nutella, guilty, guilty, guilty.

My rice crackers, homemade muesli, vogel’s bread, had all been previously researched whilst doing ‘The Liver Cleansing Diet’ at the end of the 90s. Here Sandra Cabot shouted (in her book) that we start reading labels. Eating safely in a toxic world by Sue Kedgley had terrified me to action, also.

After Latta’s show I facebooked Watties, Heinz, Nosh (my local gourmet foodstore) and my friends with this message:

Dear World. I am looking for a seriously reduced sugar tomato sauce to be able to offer my children. We are essentially refined sugar free (we do eat honey and maple syrup). Are you able to direct me to one of your tomato sauces which has little sugar in it? I think I’ve worked out the watties sauce I use has 4 teaspoons per ‘squirt’. We have decided to stop using it until we find a product with more like 1 teaspoon or even 1/2 a teaspoon. Ideas? Maybe someone has a recipe which will keep well in the fridge. This mama of 3 would prefer not to have a make fresh tomato sauce on a night she’s ordering in takeaway f and c.

I got a few helpful responses:
Two recipes from the friend who should be blogging Kellie Thompson…

Pete Evan’s: Cultured Tomato Sauce
500 g good-quality or homemade tomato paste
90 g honey or maple syrup
1/3 sachet vegetable starter culture
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra to thin
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, halved, seeded and finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves

You will need a 750 ml preserving jar with an airlock lid for this recipe. Wash the jar and utensils thoroughly in very hot water or run them through a hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher. Place the tomato paste in a large bowl and fold in the honey or maple syrup. Whisk in the vegetable starter culture along with 120 ml of water, the lemon juice, salt, a few grinds of black pepper, garlic, chilli, allspice and cloves. Continue whisking until smooth. Add some extra lemon juice if you’d like a thinner sauce. Spoon into the preserving jar and close the lid. Wrap a tea towel around the side of the jar to block out the light.

Store in a dark place with a temperature of 16—23°C for 3—5 days. (You can place the jar in an esky to maintain a more consistent temperature.) The warmer the weather the shorter the amount of time needed. The longer you leave the jar, the higher the level of good bacteria present. It is up to you how long you leave it to ferment — some people prefer the tangier flavour of ketchup that results from a longer fermenting time, while others prefer a milder flavour. Give the ketchup a good stir before transferring to the refrigerator, where it will keep for several months.

Otherwise this one is lovely and easy to make – but not sure how long it keeps for? It’s possibly more child friendly, Olive liked it when I made it last summer. It freezes well too.

Tomato Ketchup (by Against all Grain)
1TB coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, halved
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 26 ounce (737g) jar or box tomato puree
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup white vinegar
1TB tomato paste
1/2 ts sea salt
8 whole cloves
10 whole allspice berries

1. Place the oil in a deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 5 mins, until fragrant
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 40 mins, until the sauce has thickened and reduced by half.
3. Remove the onion, cloves and allspice
4. Bring to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator.
NB: You can double the recipe and store half in the freezer. Thaw in the refrigerator for a day before using.

Cath Harkins shared a Weston A. Price link:

Tomato Ketchup (by Weston A. Price)
Making ketchup yourself is easy and transforms this popular condiment from health villain to a beneficial digestive aid.

Mix 3 cups tomato paste, preferably organic in glass jars to avoid the chemical BPA, ¼ cup liquid whey (, 1 TBL sea salt, ½ cup maple syrup, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, 3 peeled and crushed cloves of garlic, and ½ cup fish sauce in a wide mouth mason jar taking care to leave at least an inch at the top.

Additive free fish sauce can be obtained from an Asian supermarket. Mix well, secure the lid and leave on the counter for 2 days to ferment and then refrigerate.

Homemade ketchup lasts several months in the refrigerator and can then be used to quickly mix up other popular sauces.

Toni Faulker recommended shopping for  Tomato Passata instead of Tomato Sauce at the supermarket.

Fleur Swarbrick suggested Dulcie May Kitchen’s recipe or blend 1 x can of good quality tomatoes and 1 x can of tomato paste. Keep it in a bottle in the fridge (for time unknown).

Wattie’s recommended their ‘lite tomato sauce’. It doesn’t have artificial sweeteners as the name may suggest. It has 19.9 grams of sugar per 100 grams of tomato sauce – meaning it is 20% sugar. It has 3 grams of sugar per serving. A serving size is 15 grams (3 teaspoons). I reckon our 4 year old would have 6 teaspoons of tomato sauce in one f and c sitting. So, she’d be getting just over a teaspoon of sugar with her fish and chips. It has 35% less sugar and 40% less sodium than standard Wattie’s Tomato Sauce.

Any other suggestions warmly appreciated to share…


  1. Hi Emily just discovered your blog. Tomato sauce. Yup, it’s massive in our house. some things won’t get eaten without it and some will be accepted if t sauce is present. I’ve made fermented tomato sauce using water kefir or sauerkraut juice, both of which the kids loved, but ive also just done quick and dirty pams tomato puree (a little salt, but no sugar added). My little people didn’t even notice the difference on any occasion between these and standard watties. It seems as long as its red…

  2. I have finally given the against all grain tomato sauce a go. It’s delish. I used maple (and only 1/3 cup) instead of honey, as I’ve recently heard one should not heat honey above 40 degrees C. Couple of things to note: When the recipe says 1/2 an onion, chopped in half – it really does mean that. After the sauce has simmered for 40 minutes one takes the onion out. Also I hadn’t cooked with allspice berries. Kellie (whom I’m now calling my researcher instead of friend-who-should-be-blogging) said they’re available at the supermarket alongside peppercorns. Lastly, shame on you Watties. Your tomato puree has sugar added to it! Grrr. Leggos brand is the one to go for, OR use Passata instead of puree.

I love reading your comments, kia ora for taking the time to share your thoughts

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