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Why add sugar to tomato sauce?
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 328
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll probably be banned for saying this, but when a tomato-based pasta sauce seems too acidic for my taste, I just add some baking soda.... Wink
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Cornelius



Joined: 17 Nov 2009
Posts: 16
Location: Everett, WA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's important to note that adding sugar doesn't make the acidity go away, it merely masks it. So, those who are susceptible to heartburn and so on will still get it, no matter how much sugar you add, if your sauce is acidic to begin with.

I find that if I start my sauce by sweating a miripoix, the carrots have plenty of sweetness in them, and, as I can't seem to cook without garlic, I add that to the mirepoix as well, and as most people know, garlic can become quite sweet, too.

Add a little fresh basil to sauce made this way, and you can end up with a red sauce that is every bit as sweet as the canned stuff, if you aren't careful, and without ever adding sugar.

I have found that most of the people who advocate adding sugar to red sauce also tend to leave it simmering on the back burner for hours. They claim this develops flavor, and I suppose this may be true, but it also evaporates the water and leaves the acid behind, thereby concentrating the acidity.

Years ago I regularly went to a little Italian lunch place, where the chef would come out and converse with his customers once everyone was served. On this particular day, I had come in with heartburn, but ordered his meatball sub anyway, as it was the special of the day, and I knew from experience that it was SO good.

A strange thing occurred, though. I noticed that as I ate, my heartburn actually went away, which was exactly the opposite of what I expected. So, when he came out and spoke to me, I asked him about it. He told me that he made the sauce for every dish to order. He would cook the meatballs in a pan, and then make the sauce in the same pan, using the fond left from the meatballs. Therefore the sauce perfectly complimented the meatballs, (or whatever dish he was making) had plenty of flavor, and he never had to add sugar to mask the acidity of a sauce that had been simmering on the back burner for hours.

Needless to say, it was a VERY good little lunch place. And, it forever changed the way I make tomato sauce.

Oh, and for those of you who don't like shreds of carrots in your sauce, I don't either. If you sweat them properly, they will pretty much dissolve in the sauce, but, just to make sure, I usually apply a boat-motor to the sauce before I serve.
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Cornelius



Joined: 17 Nov 2009
Posts: 16
Location: Everett, WA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim Cooley wrote:
I'll probably be banned for saying this, but when a tomato-based pasta sauce seems too acidic for my taste, I just add some baking soda.... Wink


Actually, that's not a bad idea. You could also counter it with the alkalinity of chiles. Wink
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IDontUse
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think anyone mentioned that tomatoes lose acidity as you cook them longer. Just like a french onion soup, it won't taste right until it just hits that mark.
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Tuscan Chef



Joined: 09 Feb 2010
Posts: 8
Location: Tuscany

PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:27 am    Post subject: sugar Reply with quote

How come no one uses sugar in Italy for a tomatom sauce?
We do tomato sauce and add no sugar to it.
There might be an explanation on the level of maturity of tomato?
Are US tomatoes harvested earlier?

There is usually NO PORC on a tomato sauce. If you add pork ot meat you get other sauces.
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Walter
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 9:24 am    Post subject: sugar in tomato sauce, sure, and even milk Reply with quote

I am Italian, from Northern Italy. My grandmother regularly added a pinch of sugar to tomato sauce or alternatively (I prefer that) a splash of milk, right at the end of the cooking process. I do it too, and I notice that it cuts the acidity and IMHO enhances the sauce flavor.

Somebody from Naples probably would abhor this practice.
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Guest






PostPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's common missconception that adding sugar to any tomato based sauce (something I nearly always do) is to counter the acidity of the tomatoes. It merely enhances the flavour of the tomatoes. I have heard chefs I have worked with refer to this as a "gastric", that is adding an acidic flavour (lemon juice, vinegar) with sugar to bring out more taste in the tomatoes. You will see it on the ingredients label in many pre-prepared sauces. Balsamic vinegar is good as it combines sweet and acidic.
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Gwiz
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:59 pm    Post subject: sweet tomato sauce Reply with quote

I have a friend visiting the Ukraine and can't find a tomato sauce product that doesn't taste like ketchup. How can she tone down the sweet taste of their sauces?
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1013
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gwiz -

perhaps a little clarification needed... there's tomato paste (thick, spoon it out type stuff,) tomato sauce (pourable) and then a few zillion tomato based pasta sauces (Ragu, etc.)

for the prepared tomato based pasta sauces, check the label - most contain sugar. if you have a natural foods aisle, check there for pasta sauces without added salt / sugar. otherwise, one could buy sugar/salt free canned diced tomatoes, reduce & puree it into a tomato sauce.

the labels on my Giant brand tomato paste and tomato sauce do not list added sugar (there is some naturally occurring sugar in tomatoes... so under the nutritional info you will find sugar listed.)
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Cornelius



Joined: 17 Nov 2009
Posts: 16
Location: Everett, WA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:34 am    Post subject: Re: sugar Reply with quote

Tuscan Chef wrote:
How come no one uses sugar in Italy for a tomatom sauce?
We do tomato sauce and add no sugar to it.
There might be an explanation on the level of maturity of tomato?
Are US tomatoes harvested earlier?

There is usually NO PORC on a tomato sauce. If you add pork ot meat you get other sauces.


I know this is bumping an old thread, but...


Come on, folks, there are regional differences everywhere you go, and not only that, not everyone in the same region or even the same neighborhood makes things exactly the same way. I get so tired of reading posts that basically say "I happen to live in country X, and no one in the entire country does that."

So there are recipe police who go around and make sure everyone in the entire country makes everything exactly the same way with exactly the same ingredients? Give me a break! So, instead of saying "No one makes that like my mom," I guess it should be "No one makes that like my mom... well, except for my entire country..." Teasing
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:22 pm    Post subject: Re: sugar Reply with quote

Cornelius wrote:
Tuscan Chef wrote:
How come no one uses sugar in Italy for a tomatom sauce?
We do tomato sauce and add no sugar to it.
There might be an explanation on the level of maturity of tomato?
Are US tomatoes harvested earlier?

There is usually NO PORC on a tomato sauce. If you add pork ot meat you get other sauces.


I know this is bumping an old thread, but...


Come on, folks, there are regional differences everywhere you go, and not only that, not everyone in the same region or even the same neighborhood makes things exactly the same way. I get so tired of reading posts that basically say "I happen to live in country X, and no one in the entire country does that."

So there are recipe police who go around and make sure everyone in the entire country makes everything exactly the same way with exactly the same ingredients? Give me a break! So, instead of saying "No one makes that like my mom," I guess it should be "No one makes that like my mom... well, except for my entire country..." Teasing


Amen brother! Testify!

xo, Biggles
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deminmartin9



Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:59 am    Post subject: Cooking Tips Reply with quote

I love Tomato sous is very much. its nice breakfast and healty also.
-----------------------
Demin Martin
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FastWin23



Joined: 14 Apr 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I never know that tomato sauce could be at best f you put sugar unto it. Now, I know..I will definitely try this one.
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kitchen boy



Joined: 20 Mar 2011
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is weird for me because I really think that tomato sauce already sweet but when reading at this forum, I know that the reason add sugar into the sauce Shock
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ravioli
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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 4:12 am    Post subject: sugar in tomato sauce Reply with quote

The common error in thinking regarding the addition of sugar to tomato sauce is that it will reduce acidity (sourness).
It will not; sugar is not opposite to acid, to sour, it is opposite to bitter.
Base is opposite to acid, so to reduce acidity, you must add a base. The household base is baking soda.
Try an experiment; add some sugar (the alleged anti-acid to) to vinegar (acetic acid), and observe that there is no apparent reaction.
Next, add some baking soda to vinegar and observe the lively ebullition of carbon dioxide, a product of acid-base reaction.
The Chinese understand that sweet does not oppose sour, that they coexist. Reflect upon all the "sweet and sour dishes" on the menu.
The brewmaster understands that sweet opposes bitter, and will add hops (bitter) to the boil to balance the sweetness of residual sugars which persist in the final beer.
The addition of sugar to tomato sauce is a chemically ignorant act, often by those whose tastes have been disabled by the consumption of excess sugar.[/code]
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