Thursday, 30 October 2014

A yummy product review of Mr Organic Pasta sauces

I don’t mind admitting that pasta sauce is something generally that does not appear on my shopping list for a specific reason, my partner is Italian and therefore pasta sauce out of a jar is classed as blasphemy in our household. So what exactly was my logic on agreeing to test a product that I wouldn’t usually buy let alone feed my children? Well as a self nominated pasta sauce expert, i felt this mindset meant I was very well placed to give an impartial review and try something new. 

The timing of the arrival of the box of sauces couldn’t have been better, it was a frayed Friday afternoon when I was exhausted and completely lacking in culinary inspiration or organisation, so it was without snobbery I gratefully cracked open a jar. 

Before I talk about flavours etc the first thing I always look for on the labels of food my children are the sugar and salt content. Having spent 3 months of this year on Sarah Wilson’s 'I quit sugar' detox I am now extremely mindful of sugar levels in both mine and my children’s food. All the information I was looking for was easily found on the jar labels as all the ingredients, allergens and nutritional information were clearly described. All of the products I was given, bar the ketchup, contained zero sugar and were all suitable for vegans, vegetarians and were also gluten free. This was a good start. 

Our first sample was the Veg A'more Tofu: ‘A delicious pasta sauce with Tofu, sweet red peppers and sun ripened tomatoes’ I don’t usually give my children Tofu so was interested to see what they would make of it. They cleaned their plates. It’s quite a roughly textured sauce with a beautifully deep, rich flavour from the peppers and tomatoes. I have to say that this is something I would buy again to keep in the cupboard as not only did it taste great it offers something I wouldn’t usually prepare for my family.  The next pasta based meal we tried was the Authentic Italian bolognese sauce ‘sun ripened tomato, fresh onion and mediterranean herb sauce’. Again, this was nice and my children happily tucked in. In particular what I liked was the freshness of the flavour which is the one thing I’ve thought would be difficult to find in jar. If this was something that I didn’t make myself for a fraction of the cost (these retail between £1.99 and £2.30 a jar) then I certainly would consider buying it for both taste and good quality, organic ingredients. The last sauce to try was the 'Authentic Italian Basilico: sun ripened tomato and fresh basil sauce’. As a basil junkie my high hopes for this were certainly upheld as it did not disappoint on flavour nor was it overpowering. Again this is one that I would consider buying as again it offered something a little different to my own sauce creations. 

The product I found the most disappointing was the ketchup (£2.49 a bottle). This is absolutely a product which, based on the packaging alone, I would buy, as it contains a gram less per serving of sugar, compared to Heinz. However, I felt it didn’t deliver on flavour and had an almost grainy texture that I found distinctly unappealing. 

The star products in my view though, were the basil and sun-dried tomato pestos (£2.99 a jar). This is a product that I do buy, as I rarely have the motivation to make my own because quite simply I am the only person in our house who eats it however to my complete shock, both my kids really enjoyed the sundried tomato pesto. What also really impressed me were the ingredients. My usual brand of Italian pesto contains a long ingredients list including a variety of chemicals, cheese and sugar however Mr Organic contained just 6 ingredients and is both sugar and dairy free. This is definitely a product you will be finding in my cupboards.

So, while I would never advocate shop bought over home made I don’t have a time machine that facilitates me being able to create everything I feed my family from scratch, so bearing this in mind I would buy some of the jars of sauce as my plan B and will be replacing my pesto purchases with Mr Organic from here in. What’s great about these products? They are good quality with organic ingredients produced in the UK giving you automatic air mile brownie points and the packaging is clear and easy to read. If you are catering for a specific diet or an intolerance these will certainly be your friend. Unless you shop at Ocado, Budgens or smaller niche health food stockists you might be hard pushed to find them on your shop shelf, but of course they are all available online

So there you have it, a pasta sauce review - in a pine-nut shell. Mumsnet Hackney was given a selection of sauces to try free of charge, in exchange for an honest review 

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