As a first step, if you’re going to use fresh tomatoes for your sauce, it’s best to use ripe tomatoes to achieve a great tomato flavor and reduce the acidity of the sauce. But, this will depend on the time of year and if you have access to ripe tomatoes.
Because tomatoes are acidic, sometimes your tomato sauce may turn out a little more acidic than you’d like. No need to stress, I’ve got a few solutions that will help you next time you make homemade tomato sauce!
WHY IS TOMATO SAUCE ACIDIC?
Tomato sauce is made with either fresh tomatoes, canned peeled plum tomatoes, tomato paste, or diced tomatoes simmered with water, white wine (which is also acidic), diced vegetables, dried herbs, and garlic.
There are many ingredients that you can use when making tomato sauce but the main ingredient in tomato sauce will always be tomatoes. Since tomatoes are acidic, sometimes they can make your tomato sauce taste slightly sour.
Keep in mind that fresh tomatoes tend to have a lower acid than tomato paste or purees. But, whichever type of tomatoes you use, below are a few easy steps to help you get the best flavour for your tomato sauce!
HOW TO REDUCE ACIDITY IN TOMATO SAUCE?
One of the most common ways to reduce the acidity of your tomato sauce isn’t a special secret ingredient. The answer is…time! Allow your tomato sauce to simmer on the stove for at least two hours. The longer the sauce has time to cook, the less acidic and more flavourful it will taste.
Longer cooking time allows for the tomatoes to become sweeter and more flavourful. Just make sure there’s enough water in the sauce and that the heat is on low heat so that the sauce doesn’t burn. Also, it’s a good idea to stir the sauce every 20 minutes or so.
1. GET CREATIVE WITH VEGETABLES
Add in fresh diced vegetables like white onions, carrots or celery. White onions and garlic can be simmered first with a little bit of olive oil. The onions will continue to cook in the tomato sauce and become sweeter over time.
2. SUGAR & SALT
Add half a teaspoon of sugar (white sugar or brown sugar) or salt (or both!) to your tomato sauce while the tomato sauce simmers. It’s a good idea to taste the sauce after adding sugar and salt so that you know if you need to add more.
Sugar won’t necessarily cut the acidity, but it will help you achieve a more balanced sauce with a slightly sweet flavour. I always add sugar and salt when making tomato sauce.
3. FRESH OR DRIED HERBS
Another great option is to add fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and parsley to your tomato sauce. Herbs add a lovely flavour, but be sure to add fresh herbs at the end of cooking. Otherwise, the sauce will become bitter.
ONE EXTRA TIP!
Fatty dairy products can help to reduce the acidity in tomato sauce. For instance, adding a teaspoon of butter, a little bit of heavy cream, or crumbled cheese can help reduce acidity.
However, because tomatoes are acidic, you’ll want to add any dairy at the very end of the cooking time so that the sauce doesn’t curdle. It’s also a good idea to have your dairy at room temperature and keep the sauce on a low simmer. If the sauce gets too hot or boils, then the tomato sauce may curdle.
Because tomato sauce is made primarily with acidic ingredients, you’ll likely want to try one of these tips next time you make delicious spaghetti with tomato sauce! Be sure to try the sauce as you go, but the secret ingredient of tomato sauce sometimes just comes down to time… allow the sauce to simmer on low heat for at least two hours for the best results.
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Date Published: May 5, 2022