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I just roasted 35 tomatoes in aluminum pan--advice?

katydid13 Feb 23, 2008 11:37 AM

I was planning to make a pasta pomodoro tomorrow using Roma tomatoes slow-roasted overnight in the oven. Unfortunately, I forgot that my large Chicago Metallic rimmed baking sheets have an aluminum coating. This hit me when I removed the tomatoes this morning and noticed dark spots/discoloration all over both sheets. (The tomatoes had all been split and were roasted face-down in seasoned olive oil.) A quick Web search suggests I won't poison my guests if I use these tomatoes, but I have 2 other questions: 1) Will these tomatoes be so bitter they'll ruin the dish? I'm planning to sautee them with a little garlic & then toss with pasta & fresh basil. 2) Is it OK to continue using these baking sheets as long as I don't cook acidic things on them? Now that they look pitted, will aluminum come off in the food? I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!

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  1. j
    Joebob RE: katydid13 Feb 23, 2008 11:54 AM

    Re: 1) Taste small bites of one or two.
    Re: 2) A friend, who is a neurochemist, has studied the relation between aluminum cookware and Alzheimer's disease for many years. He refuses to cook anything in aluminum, but his suspicions are a minority view.

    1. k
      karykat RE: katydid13 Feb 23, 2008 01:10 PM

      I agree -- taste the tomatos to see if you detect that aluminum taste. I would say that I usually roast mine on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and have not found any taste problems. Have no wisdom on the medical issue.

      As far as using your baking sheets again, just buy pre-cut sheets of parchment paper and use those on your pans. That's what I do all the time anyway. This is just great for baking and makes for easy clean-up. Wouldn't work for things like roasting tomatos or other vegetables where juices will be released though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: karykat
        katydid13 RE: karykat Feb 23, 2008 01:45 PM

        OK, here's my next silly question. What kind of taste am I looking for? I tried a few different tomatoes, and all I taste is tomato and oregano. Would the aluminum just taste bitter?

        1. re: katydid13
          karykat RE: katydid13 Feb 23, 2008 02:25 PM

          I think you're fine if all you taste is tomato. If you have an aluminum-ish taste in there, you'll know it.

          1. re: katydid13
            Joebob RE: katydid13 Feb 23, 2008 05:55 PM


        2. ballulah RE: katydid13 Feb 23, 2008 02:38 PM

          If the aluminum sheets look pitted I'd be extremely worried that large quantities of something not good for you just flaked off into your food. I would throw the sheets out, I'd be worried about further flaking. Disclaimer: I'm a bit paranoid about aluminum, I'm of the same opinion of Joebob's neurochemist friend.

          1. m
            MakingSense RE: katydid13 Feb 23, 2008 05:38 PM

            Tomatoes are acid. Acid etches metal among other things. I stayed with friends in Italy who had a tile floor in their home that was badly etched because some previous tenants had stored tomatoes on the floor, the tomatoes had gotten over-ripe and the acid had etched right through the glaze and eaten into the tile itself.
            As you discovered from your research, the tomatoes won't poison anyone. The worse thing is that they might taste a little metallic. Since you did try them and they taste OK, you should not worry.
            If the baking sheets are pitted, they will be a real pain to keep clean in the future. Aluminum won't flake off. It doesn't work that way. But food particles and grease will build up in the rough surface and that will flake off erratically into your food. That's pretty gross. I'd pitch the baking sheets and buy some good half-sheet pans at a restaurant supply house.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MakingSense
              ballulah RE: MakingSense Feb 23, 2008 06:14 PM

              That certainly adds a new dimension to the old pick-up line, "Do you want to come up and see my etchings?" hahaha.

            2. toodie jane RE: katydid13 Feb 24, 2008 10:58 AM

              I use aluminun half sheets to roast my tomatoes, and they taste just fine.

              I'd be more concerned about long-cooking a tomato sauce in an aluminum pot week after week after week, but not with an occaisional use....

              In future, just use a sheet of parchment.

              1 Reply
              1. re: toodie jane
                katydid13 RE: toodie jane Feb 24, 2008 11:51 AM

                Thanks, that's what I'm thinking. They're great for cookie sheets, and I'd use parchment for that, anyway.

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