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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: http://www.howtodothings.com/food-dri...

      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. https://www.escalon.net/shop.aspx

              1. I'll give a nod for Pastene tomato products as well. I would also include La Fede brand as a base for good sauce. Of the more readily available tomato products, I like the # 10 cans of Contadina Crushed Tomatoes for the vibrant color and thick consistency I can rely on.

                If you have a problems with cans in general, there are many brands that make tomatoes in glass jars for sauce applications.....


                1. I'm a plus 1 on the Muir Glen. I've been wanting to try the Pomi that just showed up, but I can't get over my cheapness.

                  As for a recipe here is my main quick tomato sauce: a little butter and/or olive oil heat a bit and add a couple cloves of peeled garlic (I just whack with the flat side of a knife), a can of tomatoes a big pinch of red pepper flakes. I do this while water boils and pasta cooks, adding pasta water if too thick. I taste at the end and add salt and sugar if needed. Sometimes dried or fresh basil and dried oregano.

                  1. In CT there are Sclafani from Italy.

                    One point to make...the white can with the basic graphics of tomatoes that say San Marzano. Please read the lable. In CT these Italian San Marzano tomatoes are grown in California. Go figure.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: jfood

                      Yes, we have Sclafani in NYC as well, I buy them sometimes, not a bad product.
                      It's a San Marzano "type" roma (plum) tomato grown in CA or where ever, not Italy. How tricky of them. To be authentic San Marzano, the DOP emblem should be somewhere on the label.
                      Cento is one authentic San Marzano brand, Rosa, La Bella, Nina and Vantia are others sold in supermarkets. Check your labels, folks.

                      1. re: bushwickgirl

                        There are two types of Sclafani cans. One is as you describe...CA grown (like the white lable with the red tomatoes cans). There is a second can that are Italy grown and imported. Interesting in that the Sclafani family live in CT.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Is the CA grown the blue can with the white label/large vine pear shaped tomtates on it?
                          I use these cans for holding small kitchen things, chopsticks, wooden spoons, just because I like the tomato graphics on the label.

                          1. re: bushwickgirl

                            The white can jfood refers to is onthis link


                            Here is the Sclafani Link. The San Marzanoes are at the top


                            1. re: jfood

                              OK, thanks, haven't seen the white label here, just the San and others at the Sclafani link.

                        2. re: bushwickgirl

                          even more important than checking for the DOP, is actually tasting the product! DOP is no guarantee that you're going to like the product, and not all DOP products are the same (obviously). for my money I go with non-DOP Pomi.

                      2. I have always made my own pasta sauce, but recently fell in love with a jarred sauce that was given to me in an "Italian Food Basket" over the holidays. Its Mezzetta's Napa Valley Bistro and it comes in several varieties - all made with a different wine. The Artichoke Marinara with Cabernet is my current favorite, but they are all excellent and have amazing depths of flavor. I've found them in most grocery stores and although a bit more costly than others (about $5.99), this sauce is well worth it - especially for those nights after work when making a scratch sauce just isn't in that cards. http://www.mezzetta.com/

                        As for canned tomatoes, my favorite is Hunts Fire Roasted Tomatoes - I don't notice any metallic flavor. But for other canned tomatoes, if you saute them at high heat in a bit of olive oil before adding them to a sauce, I find that tinny flavor disappears.

                          1. I've never really cared for Muir Glen for some reason; I much prefer Progresso. And by the time I get my onions and peppers and garlic and herbs all cooked into the tomatoes, and the healthy splash of wine simmered down, I've never noticed any metallic taste nor heard any complaints from anyone else.