pizza/pasta sauce tastes sour

I combine canned tomato sauce and tomato paste, and add herbs, onion, and garlic. I have read about adding sugar, and added honey, about 3tbsp to roughly 24 oz of sauce. Still sour. I have tried different brands of sauce and paste with not much luck. any suggestions or an idea of actually how much of a sweetening agent I need to add?



mrslarkin March 11, 2011
Saute your onions/garlic in olive oil first, until they just begin to color. That brings out their sweetness. Then add the tomatoes/herbs/s+p. I would add more olive oil and chunks of carrots if sauce is still too acidic/sour. Don't add sugar, if you can avoid that. Haha, my mom and dad are from San Marino!
pierino March 11, 2011
Muir Glenn is indeed a very good domestic product. In part because they are packed in enamel-lined cans. I'm now beginning to think that what stilltrying was referring to as "sour" is what others would refer to as "acidity". Some palates are more sensitive to that than others.
boulangere March 11, 2011
Yup, writing too late at night - I did mean San Marzano. Thanks Pierino! Stilltrying, I also add carrots, then pass the whole sauce through a food mill.
cookinginvictoria March 11, 2011
Not sure what would give a tomato sauce a sour taste. Maybe it is the canned tomato sauce you are using? Like Pierino, I am in the camp of not using sweeteners in my tomato sauce, but I do use onions and garlic. I only use tomato paste if my sauce is going to simmer for several hours. For a quick marinara, I try to use high quality canned tomatoes. I occasionally splurge on San Marzano tomatoes from Italy -- they are the best! But I also think that it's worth trying domestic brands too, to find ones that you like. Canned tomatoes are not all created alike. In America, I have been pleased with Muir Glen organic tomatoes. They taste like real tomatoes and have very little added salt.
latoscana March 10, 2011
I make sauces using a variety of recipes and I don't think I've ever had sour flavors - and I never add sugar. I am wondering when the sourness comes in - do you taste each element before and as you add it to check?
stilltrying March 10, 2011
I try to counteract the lack of good local products by growing my own. I don't like the idea of buying tomatoes from Italy. what I was really looking for was - how much sugar or sweetener - I have also heard some people , including Mario Batali use carrots. I think what I will do is make the sauce, add the sugar, and let the sauce sit for 24 hrs.
Panfusine March 10, 2011
Cut the acidity of the tomatoes by adding some sugar. I've found that cream works as well but only if you prefer a creamy sauce.
pierino March 10, 2011
My advice to people who live in out of the way places is to develop online sources for the products you really like but can't shop for . Many purveyors will offer free freight incentives if you order above a certain dollar amount. UPS will deliver anywhere, even your tree house. Obviously canned/jarred products have some weight attached, so look for deals on freight offset.
amysarah March 10, 2011
Just a thought about where the sour taste might be coming from - did you possibly burn the garlic(saute to the point of being very dark brown)? Burnt garlic has a strong acrid flavor that can really permeate whatever it's in.

I know that doesn't help you get rid of it now, but may be something to keep in mind next time you make sauce?
stilltrying March 10, 2011
I would, but I live in a very rural area, and they aren't available where I shop. I do lots of my own canning, so add my own tomatoes when I have them. I use red wine.
pierino March 10, 2011
I would definitely approach it by using quality canned tomatoes in lieu of canned "sauce". You can't fix what's already wrecked before you started. I believe boulangere is referring to San Marzano not San Marino tomatoes. True San Marzano are packed in Italy but be aware that there are tomatoes which are US made, packed in a white can that use San Marzano as a brand name. Not the same thing. Sugar and honey have no place in a good tomato sauce. Onion should provide enough sweetness.
Libby1948 January 4, 2022
I disagree. Any good cook can "fix" (from just palatable to exceptional) a wrongfully executed, even disastrous, dish. With some quick thinking and proper ingredients, most dishes can be saved... If you're not uptight and bougie (strict to the letter of a certain recipe of a certain dish and how it "should be done") and know what you're doing, you can turn most disasters into a completely different delicious dish.
boulangere March 10, 2011
Mmmmm. Good advice, Kmack. I think you're right about white wine contributing to the sour taste. Also about sautéeing the onions, garlic, and herbs in olive oil. That will certainly sweeten the onions. And I vote for a touch of sugar for the sweetening factor. Also, stilltrying, it might make a difference if you use a good quality of canned tomatoes. I know they're expensive, but if you feel like a worthy splurge, try using San Marino tomatoes. I'm a recent (gulp!) convert, but they make a huge difference! Ask yourself, "Am I worth it?" Of course you are!
Kmack March 10, 2011
I've always just used sugar myself, if honey doesn't do the trick, perhaps agave nectar? It may integrate better with the sauce, though sugar might just be the magic ingredient. Also, I use white wine or red wine, whichever I have on hand, if you are using white it may contribute to the sour taste.
stilltrying March 10, 2011
this is pretty much what I do, and I forgot to say that I do add wine as well. I was hoping for an alternative to sugar to take away that sour taste
Kmack March 10, 2011
I can't tell from your post exactly how you make the sauce, but I would recommend sweating the onions and garlic in some olive oil with the herbs to take the edge off. Then adding the tomato paste (I've always heard you're supposed to fry it in the oil), followed by the tomato sauce and some sugar and let it simmer for awhile . Add some more sugar if you still find it too sour. I usually add a bit of wine to mine, but I'm not sure that would help. You can also chiffonade some basil and add it before you serve.
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