Traditional tomato sauce in a glass jar with fresh herbs, tomatoes and olive oil.
A Touch Of Baking Soda Transforms Tomato Sauce Without Sugars
By Garth Clingingsmith
Adding a pinch of sugar to tomato sauce is an age-old trick to offset the natural acidity of tomatoes, but thinking of tomato sauce as just sweet or acidic is an oversimplification. The best tomatoes, according to many cooks, are San Marzano tomatoes due to their low acidity — but there is also a way to hack lower acidity for any can of tomatoes.
Lowering the acidity of any canned tomato is as simple as adding a pinch of baking soda to the sauce. Baking soda is alkaline, so combining it with acidic tomato sauce causes a release of carbon dioxide bubbles that neutralizes some of the acids and lets the tomatoes' natural sugars shine through.
For a batch of tomato sauce, start slowly with a mere 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, then sample the sauce and possibly add a few pinches more to taste. Some cooks use up to 1/4 teaspoon per cup of sauce, which could be fine for people who need to avoid eating an acidic diet, but it will alter the taste of the tomato sauce.