Tomato Paste: A Kitchen Essential
Tomato paste is a vital ingredient in many kitchens. This food product is made from ripe and cooked tomatoes and is used as a thick and flavorful sauce in various dishes. Tomato paste is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene.
Iran, due to its diverse climate, has consistently been among the top 10 tomato paste-producing countries globally. Tomatoes are cultivated in various parts of the country almost year-round, thanks to Iran’s four distinct seasons.
Advantages of Tomato Paste
Tomato paste offers numerous advantages, including:
- Excellent Source of Vitamins and Minerals: Tomato paste is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene.
- Outstanding Flavor Enhancer for Dishes: Tomato paste is a superb flavor enhancer for dishes, imparting a delightful taste and color to your meals.
- Long Shelf Life: Tomato paste has a long shelf life and can be stored in the refrigerator or pantry.
How to Use Tomato Paste
Tomato paste can be used in various ways, such as:
- As a sauce for pasta, pizza, and other dishes.
- As a base ingredient in soups and stews.
- As a seasoning for meat, poultry, and fish.
- As an addition to salads and sandwiches.
Exporting Tomato Paste
When it comes to exporting tomato paste, there is a specific criterion known as “Brix” that plays a crucial role. Brix indicates the concentration of solids inside the tomato paste compared to water. A higher Brix number signifies thicker tomato paste with better quality.
To produce thicker and higher-quality tomato paste, a larger volume of tomatoes needs to be used. Interestingly, the storage conditions for tomato paste in cans or glass containers depend on the Brix value. For instance, if it’s in a glass or can packaging, the Brix number typically ranges from 16 to 27. If tomato paste is transported in bulk containers, the Brix value should vary between 36 to 38.
Characteristics of Exported Tomato Paste:
- Made from natural and organic tomatoes.
- Has a pleasant aroma and flavor.
- Utilizes the best raw materials for tomato paste production.
- Uses sterilization equipment to ensure product safety.
- Avoids the use of additives to prevent spoilage.
- Contains salt within standard limits that do not pose a health risk.
Packaging of Tomato Paste
Customers order tomato paste in various packaging options, including sachets, cans, glass jars, and even bulk or aseptic containers of different weights. Today, there is a popular packaging method in the food industry known as “Aseptic Packaging,” which has gained many followers.
In the aseptic method, food products are produced in a short time and under vacuum conditions to preserve their quality. These products are then packaged in sterilized bags or large containers, ensuring a long shelf life without the need for refrigeration. Aseptic tomato paste can have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years.
It’s worth noting that aseptic tomato paste is primarily produced for export purposes rather than domestic consumption. The weight and material of the packaging depend on the customer’s requirements.