My Basket ()

basil in canned tomato sauce?

I scored a box of San Marzano tomatoes at the farmers' market today and bought a big bunch of basil to go in the sauce I plan to make. However, none of the tomato sauce recipes I've found contain basil, which makes me wonder if there's a reason not to add it. I know basil turns black if you bake it on pizza, but I can't imagine a problem with chopped basil in sauce. Is there a reason any of you knows why I cannot add basil to my sauce?

Answer »
SpaCook added over 1 year ago

You absolutely can, but I would add it to finish the sauce once you remove it from the heat.

Diana B added over 1 year ago

I should have mentioned that I'm canning the sauce. Does that make a difference?

inpatskitchen added over 1 year ago

I don't think it will matter..I don't can but I've seen many cans of tomatoes and tomato sauces at the grocer with basil in them.

SKK added over 1 year ago

When canning tomato sauce it is best to use dried basil. There might be some reasons based on acidity, but for sure the fresh basil turns black and bitter. Save the fresh for when you are serving it.

Diana B added over 1 year ago

Damn! I just added some fresh...I don't even know if I have any dried, but maybe I can dry what I have and add it when the sauce gets used. Thanks!


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 1 year ago

I will disagree with advice about dried basil (which to me tastes like saw dust) and agree fervently with the advice to add the fresh basil toward the end. When I make pizzas the basil goes on at the last possible moment. On San Marzano tomatoes, well they could be grown from those seeds but unless you have a volcano nearby they are not going to taste like the stuff packed in Napoli.

Diana B added over 1 year ago

Sadly, Napoli is a long way from So. California, pierino, but we do what we can with what we have. So far, tastes far better than any supermarket sauce I've ever had!

Diana B added over 1 year ago

I got conflicting answers on this and since I had a ton of fresh basil, I added it. It looked (and tasted) fine in the kettle and still looks fine after processing. I'll tell you what did blacken, though: my copper confiture pan! Took a little elbow grease with the copper cleaner to get back the copper shine.

a Whole Foods Market Customer added over 1 year ago

The volatiles in the fresh basil will tend to cook out if you add it too early. Some varieties of commercially canned sauce now include basil, but I personally can't taste a difference side-by-side. If the sauce doesn't taste sufficiently of basil for you after canning, you can always add more when preparing your final dish. I *would* add it in large sprigs and fish it out before canning the sauce, though.

No need to email me as additional
answers are added to this question.