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Bicarbonate In Tomato Sauce: What Is It For?

Why is a pinch of bicarbonate added to tomato sauce? What is this little precaution for, and why should it be put into practice? This explains the nature of the relationship between bicarbonate and tomato.

Bicarbonate In Tomato Sauce: Yes Or No?

Tomato sauce is a fundamental ingredient of Italian cuisine. It is used both to season pasta and to make an infinite number of different recipes, from pizza to second courses of meat or fish.

One of the natural characteristics of this sauce is, however, its acidic note due precisely to the intrinsic composition of the tomato. In fact, this vegetable is characterized by its acidity, and if consumed raw, it is less noticeable inside the sauce (particularly the ready-made one), and it can ruin the balance of the final flavors.

So, how can you make an acidic tomato puree more pleasant on the palate? There are several tricks in the kitchen, one of the best known of which is adding a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to the sauce. Pour a small amount of powdered sodium bicarbonate into the puree to effectively counteract the excessive acidity of the tomato. At first, tiny bubbles will likely form on the surface, which will soon disappear, leaving an excellent sauce with a soft and intense flavor.

Why Add Bicarbonate Of Soda To Tomato Sauce

Preparing tomato sauce is easy. However, one of the aspects that can cause difficulty for those who try their hand at this recipe is being able to make the acidic sauce a little less intense without giving excessive sweetness to the whole thing. In addition to baking soda, two other nifty tricks include adding a pinch of sugar or dipping a potato cut in half.

Unlike the first method, however, which could make the puree a little too sentimental, bicarbonate of soda has a neutral to slightly salty flavor; therefore, it manages to counteract the acidic tomato without changing the taste of the recipe as a whole. As for the dose, you need to be careful not to overdo it: a teaspoon of bicarbonate is enough for a sauce ready for about twenty diners, so only a pinch is really enough.

If, however, you were cooking the sauce starting from fresh vegetables, you need to calculate a quantity of bicarbonate equal to a quarter of a teaspoon for every seven tomatoes. Furthermore, it is preferable to add this fundamental ingredient when the sauce reaches the boiling point. In this way, its action is facilitated by the heat, and the bicarbonate will be able to eliminate the acidity without altering the flavor of the puree. Bicarbonate is able to attenuate acidity as it can buffer the acidic pH. Our body also exploits it through the ‘ ‘bicarbonate buffer system’ ‘ which manages to keep the pH in the blood constant.

The Tricks For A Perfect Tomato Sauce

In addition to adding baking soda or sugar to the sauce, there are many other tricks to counteract the acidity of the tomato. When using peeled tomatoes, and in particular canned or bottled ones, it is very likely that the product will be very acidic. In this case, you can exploit the action of the spices and add a pinch of nutmeg, turmeric, or cinnamon, keeping in mind a dose of approximately half a teaspoon for every 900 grams of peeled tomato sauce.

Another widely used method involves adding a potato or carrot cut into four parts. The procedure is straightforward, as you need to wash and peel the vegetables, then divide them into four pieces, and finally add them to the sauce during the cooking phase; in fact, the potato and carrot can absorb the excess acidity of the tomato as if they were a natural sponge. It will, therefore, be sufficient to use one potato for every kg of sauce and, when seasoning the pasta or taking advantage of the result obtained, eliminate it.

Others, however, prefer to use vegetable broth, pour about half a glass of liquid into the sauce, or use a ready-made cube of meat or vegetables placed inside the sauce. Finally, you can also use milk or a little butter. In the first case, it will be enough to pour half a teaspoon (or at most a teaspoon, but no more) into the sauce, together with a pinch of nutmeg. In contrast, in the second case, a small knob of butter is melted into the mixture, obviously without exaggerating the quantities.

Also Read: Low Carb & Diet Sauces

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