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TOPIC: Sugar in Spaghetti Sauce?

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January 12, 2011 5:38 AM
Snowed in today, so I thought I'd make some basic spaghetti sauce from what I could find in my pantry: diced tomatoes and sauce, onion, garlic and seasoning. I've always heard you should add some sugar to help neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes. Is that really true? Can I leave it out or use a substitute?

After all, it's in The Godfather!

"Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn't stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh? And a little bit o' wine. An' a little bit o' sugar, and that's my trick."

When the going gets tough, the tough get cooking!
January 12, 2011 5:41 AM
I know a lot of people do this, I however never add sugar and the tomatoes never bother me lol
January 12, 2011 5:41 AM
taste it and decide if you want it sweeter or as is.. if I am not using fresh tomatos, I check to see if sugar was added to the canned tomatos. And then I still taste because the sweetness of the tomatos can vary.. I personally never add but I like the sauce a little more tomato-ey laugh
  1171706
January 12, 2011 5:42 AM
I buy Prego spaghetti sauce and I add in garlic AND sugar... Got it from my mother-in-law and love it!
January 12, 2011 5:46 AM
I will sometimes add sugar and or splenda... if you really want to take the acidity out of the tomatos the best way is to use a small pinch of baking soda.... when you put it in it should all bubble up and you can see the acid being taken right out (great tip from my italian grandmother... may she rest in peace!!!) smile
  139200
January 12, 2011 5:48 AM
I do not add sugar, I like the tomato taste in the sauce.
January 12, 2011 5:51 AM
I don't use sugar in my current homemade sauce although my old recipe did call for it. Manufacturers have us so hooked on sugar because they've added it into nearly everything we eat that's pre-packaged. I've been trying to eliminate as much sugar as I can, but sometimes it is necessary. It may take some time to get used to the taste, but I believe your taste buds adjust over time and you will find things are too sweet after awhile. From my experience I also think homemade sauce tastes better the longer you let it simmer. If you are fixing it for dinner, sounds like you've got some simmer time today. Good luck!
  2085431
January 12, 2011 6:23 AM
Sugar does take away the acidity of the tomatoes so if that is what you're worried about, you can substitute a carrot instead of sugar. My husband doesn't like the acidity so I peel and put a whole carrot in it. It gets rid of the acid without make the sauce sweet
  24845
January 12, 2011 6:29 AM
I ALWAYS add a bit of sugar. You can use splenda -- that too works well.
  3285815
January 12, 2011 6:43 AM
a shreded carrot is the way to go!
  2149678
January 12, 2011 8:45 AM
Didn't know about carrots - I'll give that a try. Thanks!!
January 12, 2011 9:09 AM
I do add a little sugar to my sauce and hot links too.
January 12, 2011 9:11 AM
I have never added sugar, but I usually do add a carrot. I never thought about it neutralizing the acids, I was just sneaking extra veggies into my kids. My Italian friends do not add sugar to their sauce. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just sharing my experience.
  3631500
January 12, 2011 9:12 AM
Not in my Spaghetti Sauce.
June 23, 2014 8:08 AM
I never add sugar to anything. Sugar is just evil stuff. And Splenda or any other artificial sweetener is worse. I don't know how people got the idea that sugar neutralizes acid, as there is no way it could. Sugar is ph neutral. If you want to neutralize acid, add something that is alkaline, like baking soda.
So not only is sugar unhealthy and does not reduce alkalinity, but it also makes your sauce taste bad. Why would you want your homemade sauce to taste like Chef Boyardee from a can?
June 23, 2014 8:11 AM
My mother does it. Personally I'm not a fan of what it does to the flavor, but I know a lot of people do it.
  21291152
June 23, 2014 8:11 AM
potato or baking soda does the same as well... if you use baking soda, you just need a little bit.. like what would fit on the tip of a knife :-)
  60233655
June 23, 2014 8:15 AM
QUOTE:

Not in my Spaghetti Sauce.


This. I use carrots if I'm in a hurry but generally I just cook the sauce for about 12 hours.
  63950110
June 23, 2014 8:16 AM
i usually do the typical soffritto first --- carrots, celery, and onion. then add in the other stuff.... seems to work. i do like a splash of red wine in mine :) haha
June 23, 2014 8:16 AM
OMG NO

Adding sugar is a Sicilian thing. Hence why it was in the Godfather. As an American with Italian ancestry, I (and my family) NEVER put sugar in sauce (or gravy).
  54990735
June 23, 2014 8:17 AM
QUOTE:

I never add sugar to anything. Sugar is just evil stuff. And Splenda or any other artificial sweetener is worse. I don't know how people got the idea that sugar neutralizes acid, as there is no way it could. Sugar is ph neutral. If you want to neutralize acid, add something that is alkaline, like baking soda.
So not only is sugar unhealthy and does not reduce alkalinity, but it also makes your sauce taste bad. Why would you want your homemade sauce to taste like Chef Boyardee from a can?


Strong first post.

I add brown sugar to my sauce. I don't like the strong taste of the tomatoes.
  10273558
June 23, 2014 8:21 AM
QUOTE:

Sugar is just evil stuff.


angry

You must be new here.
  54990735
June 23, 2014 8:22 AM
I realize this is a zombie thread, but - if you have a problem with the acidity of the tomatoes (heartburn, or just don't like the sharp taste), add a little bit of baking soda and cut back on any salt you add. Add the baking soda a tsp at a time, mix in thoroughly and taste until it gets to where you want it.
  41012893
June 23, 2014 8:24 AM
Northern Italian here... sugar in the sauce is sacrilege! Although I must admit I sometimes sneak in snipped shreds of dry nori (my hubby thinks it's spinach) just to add a bit more umami richness if I don't have as much time to cook it down. If you are really pressed for time, don't sweeten it, just get a good real Italian Passata sauce and go from there - preferably one with just plum tomatoes, basil, and a bit of salt.
  59615535
June 23, 2014 8:26 AM
I only add sugar to my sauce when I'm pregnant because everything (even milk, water and bread) gives me heartburn when I'm pregnant.

I'll have to try carrots sometime.
  65254831

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