When cooking pasta or any other savory dish, you’re bound to use tomato sauce.
However, you may find the sauce you prepared to be too acidic.
What do you do then?
Fear not, for I have the right solutions for you that will surely work since I have been caught in this predicament one too many times.
This article discusses what causes acidity in tomato sauce, and how to reduce acid in tomato sauce.
Additionally, I will also discuss and share tips on how to ensure you do not encounter this problem in the future.
What Makes Tomato Sauce Acidic?
Before looking at ways to resolve your tomato sauce’s acidity, you must ask, what makes tomato sauce too acidic?
Tomatoes are inherently acidic, and some of the ingredients used in making tomato sauce add to the acidity.
You may get more than the usual amount of acidity in tomatoes, depending on the harvest and time of year.
The longer you cook the tomato sauce, the more acidic it tends to become.
Remember too that fresh tomatoes are less acidic compared to canned ones.
Tomato paste is also more acidic and may be a compulsory ingredient in the recipe you follow which might be making your final sauce sour.
What to Do When Tomato Sauce Is Too Acidic
Most people find acidic tomato sauce unsavory, as it can cause heartburn or aggravate ulcers.
So, reducing acid in tomato sauce is a necessary fix.
Here are several things you can do:
Use Baking Soda
This method has proven effective for generations.
Baking soda in spaghetti sauce will absorb the acidity and leave you with a more appealing sauce.
You can add baking soda to tomato sauce when cooking it, to ensure the result is not as tangy or acidic as you fear it may be.
This way, you won’t have to look for a remedy afterward.
Note that when you add baking soda to the tomato sauce, bubbles will form on top of it.
Do not be alarmed as that indicates that the baking soda is working.
The chemical reaction between the soda’s base pH and the sauce’s acidity is what eliminates that tangy taste.
Add Sugar to Eliminate the Sourness
When you find pasta sauce too acidic, sugar can help you eliminate that terrible and off-putting taste.
And it gets better:
This is a common and convenient remedy since you already add sugar while cooking the tomato sauce.
When you’re adding salt to taste, also add some sugar – this will counter the acidity in the sauce.
It will also ensure the sauce is no longer tangy without increasing its sweetness.
You only need to be keen on the amount, to ensure you don’t mess up your sauce by making it too sweet.
Remove the Peel or Seeds
Another great solution to ensuring your tomato sauce is not too acidic is to first remove the tomato peel or seeds before cooking.
Removing the peels is pretty easy.
You only need to bring some water to a boil and then add the tomatoes for ten minutes before turning off the heat.
Next, dunk the tomatoes into a cold water bath.
The peels should come off without too much effort. Also, you won’t burn your fingers as you remove the peels.
You can then slice them in halves to access the seeds!
Tomato peels and seeds contain most of the acidity and removing them this way ensures your sauce is not acidic.
The Potato or Carrot Solution
Potatoes and carrots can absorb most of the acidity in tomato sauce.
So, you can introduce them to the cooking sauce.
Take a potato or two large carrots, peel them, and chop them into several large pieces.
Next, add them to the sauce as it is cooking. Keep them in there until your sauce is cooked, then remove them.
Your sauce’s acidity should have considerably reduced by the endpoint!
The Cinnamon or Nutmeg Solution
Cinnamon and nutmeg are the perfect solutions when using canned tomatoes, or any other pre-processed tomatoes.
As you cook, check the acidity, and add either if you find it too sour.
Here’s the deal:
These solutions are ideal, as they effectively reduce the acidity without changing the original tomato sauce flavor.
But you need to be careful when adding cinnamon or nutmeg, as too much will completely change the sauce’s taste.
Ideally, you need to add half a teaspoon of either remedy for each kilo of pre-processed tomatoes.
Add Some Vegetable Broth
If you find your tomato sauce too acidic after using tomato puree, then adding some vegetable broth is the right solution.
Half a cup of vegetable broth should do the trick!
Vegetable broth is an ideal solution because of its effectiveness, and flavor addition.
The broth contains wonderful aromas and flavors from its vegetable ingredients that blend well with your tomato sauce.
The result is a richer and more intricate tomato sauce taste, with reduced sourness.
Pick the Right Tomato Type
You could ensure you don’t encounter any acidity issues by picking tomatoes that are not acidic, to begin with.
Sweet tomato varieties such as Datterini will get you off to a good start with their more palatable flavor.
The small and sweet tomatoes about the same size as dates are packed full of flavor with none of the acidity. This way, your sauce won’t need any intervention down the line.
Add Some Herbs and Greens
Herbs and greens such as parsley and basil have a basic pH, which helps to reduce the acidity in tomato sauce.
You can add these herbs generously, and even go further as to add some kale to the sauce.
Be careful how you add them as they will introduce a different dimension to the flavor.
Seafood to the Rescue
Did you know that seafood is quite basic in pH?
If you have no allergies related to seafood, you could use some shrimp, clam, mussels, etc. to eliminate some of the acidity in tomato sauce.
Remember to also check the flavor when adding the seafood, to avoid altering the sauce’s flavor too much.
Use Dairy Products
Dairy products could also help you reduce the sourness of the tomato sauce.
However, this is not the most effective solution since it does not directly counter the acidity.
Nonetheless, it helps prevent that undesirable sour taste.
The solution is ideal if you are short on time or lack other items to properly eliminate the acidity.
Reduce Your Cooking Time
Remember when I said one of the causes of sourness is prolonged cooking time? Well, you can reduce the sourness of your tomato sauce by cooking it for a shorter duration than the recipe dictates.
As long as you don’t use extremely acidic tomatoes or other ingredients, reducing the cooking time should keep the sauce from getting too sour.
You could also introduce tomatoes into the sauce as the last ingredient.
This way, you’ll further decrease their duration under heat.
Here Are Some Tips on Preparing the Perfect Tomato Sauce
Proper preparation of tomato sauce will save you from having to worry about acidity later.
Here are several tips to help you avoid the common acidity-related mistakes, and cook a more savory and gentle sauce:
Choose the right tomatoes. If possible, stick to the sweet tomato varieties. Fresh tomatoes are also a good choice, as the preservatives in canned tomatoes tend to be acidic.
Peel the tomatoes if you suspect they might be too acidic. While tomatoes are acidic in pH, most of it is contained in the peels and seeds.
Observe your cooking time. Do not allow the tomato sauce to cook for longer than is necessary.
Keep checking the acidity of your tomato sauce as it is cooking. If you need to implement any of the discussed remedies, you need to do so as soon as possible.
Eating your favorite pasta dish or pizza does not have to be torturous to your taste buds because of the acidity in the tomato sauce!
I have shared what to do if your tomato sauce is too acidic.
Additionally, you’ll find several tried and tested tips to help you avoid making acidic tomato sauce.
We wish you happy cooking!
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