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Feb 19, 2010 06:43 AM

Canned Tomatoes/ Spaghetti Sauce?

I hate that metallic taste of canned tomatoes. I know you can add sugar, etc to make it a little better, but is there a brand that has a really good non-metallic, full flavor? I am looking to make spaghetti sauce. I like the taste of jarred sauce, but want the wholesomeness of a prepared sauce. Any good spaghetti sauce recipes while I am thinking of it?

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  1. I actually like Muir Glen canned tomatoes. I haven't noticed a metallic taste in them ... but come to think of it, I have in the ones I've bought at Trader Joe's.

    My spaghetti sauce recipes all come from Lidia Bastianich:

    I tried a tomato and apple pasta sauce from her newest book, and it went over very well.

    She has said that you might as well use canned tomatoes, because the quality of fresh from stores is unpredictable. I think she uses San Marzano, but she is huge on Italian imports.

    3 Replies
    1. re: miki

      I bought the Whole Foods store brand ones yesterday and thought they were above average. I roasted them in the oven before making the sauce, so that roasted taste may cover up the can taste.

      My sauce is pretty much tomatoes, garlic, onions, and basil. Sometimes a little bit of stock. For me, what matters is having good tomatoes-- either nice summer tomatoes or roasting them in the oven to concentrate the flavor, nice-smelling basil, and getting a good, slow sautee on the garlic and onions (I don't bother chopping them up small, but I cover them completely with oil and cook them over the lowest heat for 15-60 minutes depending how patient I'm feeling, and they pretty much just fall apart). Usually I drain off the oil, but I think you could throw it in the sauce if you wanted. I throw a little bit of water or stock into the pan (not much, maybe a quarter cup or something), throw the tomatoes on top, and cook until the pasta's ready. When it's ready, I add some shredded basil to the sauce and immediately whir up with an immersion blender. I salt it after whirring it, just stirring the salt in with a wooden spoon.

      It's basically this:

      1. re: miki

        +1 on Muir Glen. The cans have some kind of white lining so the tomatoes are not actually in contact with metal.

        1. re: jeremyn

          how about some bpa issue in canned tomato?

      2. Actually, with a good quality tinned tomato one shouldn't have to add sugar.

        All my tomato sauces start with Pastene Kitchen Ready Tomatoes. The flavor is robust and tomatoey without being acidic, and I have never noticed any metallic after taste.
        (price listed does not reflect terrific sale prices here in the Boston area.


        Another tinned tomato we have bought for various reasons is Hunts Organic Whole Tomatoes, especially in Winter when fresh tomatoes are but a Summertime dream.

        1. Pomi brand tomatoes are from Italy, no additives and are packaged in a box, not a can. Not sure if you can find them where you live, but they are delicious.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Val

            Yes, Pomi tomatoes in a paper box, similar to the kind that milk comes in.

            I like Newman's own sauce, comes in a glass mason jar that you can re-use. Though I always doctor it up with more basil and garlic!

            1. re: lisagambino

              I was looking up where to buy Pomi tomatoes in Minnesota and came across articles on BPA, which can be found in canned goods, and is linked to every possible ailment under the sun, or so it seemed to me. Great, something else to worry about.

              I don't eat a lot out of cans, but it gives me incentive to continue the Pomi search.

              1. re: miki

                Do Italian Americans have an unusually high incidence of those ailments due to all the canned tomatoes that they eat?

                1. re: paulj

                  The BPA lining is a relatively recent "improvement" in the canning industry so I don't think there are any current stats to prove/disprove.
                  I haven't noticed if imported Italian tomatoes have this same can lining; it seems to me it's just in US packed products.

                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                    so how do you think about the recent improvement? i mean bpa lining in can tomatoes. i eat regulary nowdays the tomato sauce made out of canned tomatoes imported from italy, named fratelli longobardi.
                    i heard quite amount of bpa can be detected after consuming canned tomatoes. i contacted the company's quality dept. but i ve got no response yet.

          2. I think it kind of depends on what kind of jarred sauce you like. I always keep a jar of the no-sugar-added Ragu Light tomato/basil around. It's very bright and still very sweet, even without the sugar. That's the only kind of jarred sauce I enjoy -- but it's just for stressed out weeknights when boiling water is all I'm up to.

            Me, I've never thought canned tomatoes taste metallic. That's one of those things, like the "soapy" taste of cilantro, that I'm halfway convinced are genetic or somehow related to body chemistry. Even cheap canned tomatoes don't taste like the can to me. The ones with the white lining practically don't even touch metal, so I'm not sure where that flavor supposedly comes from.

            1. I get the 6in1 brand by Escalon. Originally, I used them just for my pizza sauce, but now they are the only canned tomatoes I use. Some folks find them locally, but not here in GA. Buying direct from Escalon is the way I go and (6) 28oz. cans cost only $16.50 including the 1.50 shipping. Open a can, taste a spoonful and you can tell right away that this is a quality product.