When making high-heat, quick tomato sauces using economical brands of tomatoes packed using calcium chloride (and citric acid typically), the metallic taste and fake-fresh texture are disturbing. Aside from shelling out more money for products without the additives, I would like to know if there is some work-around for sub-premium tomatoes that could address the following;

  • Is there a way to balance out the metallic taste of the calcium chloride present in these tomatoes?
  • Considering cooking time is short, my assumption is that the texture issue is basically intractable without longer cooking time; am I correct?
  • As a follow-up, is there a good workaround for the taste of the citric acid?

2 Answers 2


To begin with, you can microwave the tomato before cooking it in the pan; this will also shorten the cooking time. Doing this, the tomato "grains" will already be hot inside when they begin to cook from the outside in the pan. You'll still get the external "roasted" feel but with a softer texture.

You can compensate for the citric acid, and for the excess of the tomatoes' own acid, by adding some sugar.

In order to hide the metallic taste, add some herbs. Try one leaf of bay laurel; or a combination of dry herbs like savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and oregano.

  • I typically use all of the latter herbs in the sauce in various combinations, however why laurel? And by laurel, do you mean bay leaves, or an alternate laurel leaf?
    – mfg
    Feb 29, 2012 at 19:14
  • 1
    I put one whole dried bay laurel leaf (sorry for my english, it's not my family language) in the pan with the tomato, and remove it before serving.
    – PA.
    Feb 29, 2012 at 19:52
  • 1
    I get rid of that acidy taste my simmering my sauce with grated carrot to sweeten it.
    – TarkaDaal
    Jun 22, 2012 at 13:01
  • You might want to be careful with oregano -- I find it can have a metallic taste if you add too much. (but I agree with the sugar/carrots to balance the acid, and the herbs in general)
    – Joe
    May 13, 2020 at 12:49
  • In my opinion the pungent taste of oregano and other fresh/dry herbs adds to its natural flavor, and its more in the woodsy/citric than metallic. Nothing to do with the metallic/astringent/dry taste of canned tomatoes.
    – PA.
    May 13, 2020 at 15:10

To remove the metallic taste from tomato paste, fry the paste in a little oil. It will spit a little but keep going until the paste becomes a slightly darker colour and beaks up in the oil. At that point add whatever you are cooking.

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