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I used some canned tomatoes to make chili, which normally works fine, but today it has a really strong metallic flavor. From what I can tell, this is just because they're probably low-quality, so I won't be using this brand again.

Anyway, is there anything I can do to save this chili? I didn't notice the flavor until I added everything else.

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Agree to Walter, the metallic taste told you something and you should throw it out. I'd try to avoid eating canned things at all. You can boil fresh tomatoes instead, couldn't you? –  Tomas Oct 18 '11 at 10:21

5 Answers 5

A little bit of baking soda will offset the pH of the tomatoes. Check out the relative pH of baking soda versus tomatoes and it should give you an idea of how much to use. Salt may also work. But in my experience, to get canned tomatoes tasting nice, you need to reduce them like crazy to break down the pectins and get the original flavor.

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So the metallic taste is due to acid? –  belisarius Oct 17 '11 at 23:41
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I think most people here are well aware of the acidity of tomatoes, but I don't see how that's relevant to this particular issue. –  Aaronut Oct 18 '11 at 0:11
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I am quite sure that this is not the issue. A metal is alkalic in itself. Metal taste is actually created when a metal reacts with more complex organic molecules, but no acid is involved at any point. –  rumtscho Oct 18 '11 at 18:42

the strong metallic taste is telling you something. This something is don't eat me. I suggest you listen. No, seriously, if it tastes like metal it is probably because some of the can material leached into the tomatoes. Although it might not hurt you, I still would not eat it.

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A bit unscientific, but I tend to agree. Listen to your gut, failing that, your nose! –  mahalie Oct 20 '11 at 18:05

I agree with the "don't eat" answers.

But if you still want to save your chili and eat it, you can add some sugar, and cook for at least 20 mins more.

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Metallic taste is due to the tannins in the tomato pomace and skins. A pinch of baking soda will alleviate the problem.

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Interesting! Can you link to a source? –  Jolenealaska Sep 6 at 21:51

I've tried the baking soda and ruined the entire dish.. I would not suggest that.. I find a bit of brown sugar. and extra spices,, and cooking it like mad will reduce it.. I wont buy canned again as using fresh is the only answer here.. but those of us with cans in the pantry still want to use them up somehow..

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The sugar and spices suggestion does sound reasonable. But I wouldn't say this means you should never buy canned - it just means you've probably found a brand to avoid. I've never had any problems with metallic tastes from cans. –  Jefromi Oct 27 at 17:10

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