Naturally, tomatoes are acidic vegetables with a pH of about 4.6. Hence, having tomato soup that tastes acidic (sour) is common, especially when one knows next to nothing about the different varieties of tomatoes.
Some tomatoes have high sugar content and are sweet enough to eat off the vine, while others have low sugar content with more pronounced acidity. The sweet tomato varieties include Sungold tomato, Cherry tomato, and Campari tomato.
Since your tomato soup is mainly dependent on the base ingredient: tomato, the variety used determines if you’ll have a more acidic or less acidic tomato soup. However, you can reduce the sourness and make tomato soup less acidic by adding some other ingredients. This article reviews how to make tomato soup less acidic.
How to Make Tomato Soup Less Acidic?
Here are a few methods to apply to prevent that acidic taste in your tomato soup:
Add baking soda
To make tomato soup less acidic, use baking soda. Baking soda is naturally basic (or alkaline) with a pH of about 9. Hence, when you add baking soda to your tomato soup, the alkaline baking soda will neutralize the acidic tomatoes, removing the sourness and make your soup taste less acidic.
However, note that you must be careful not to add too much baking soda to your tomato soup to avoid ruining the flavor and food poisoning. Typically, adding about 1/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda will completely neutralize the acid in your tomato soup.
Add herbs and spices
Fresh or dried herbs such as basil or sage and spices such as garlic can also help to make your tomato soup less acidic. For example, you can sauté two or more garlic cloves (as desired) in olive oil before adding crushed or pureed tomatoes. Garlic will impart its aromatic flavor to your sauce, making it taste less acidic (sour). You can also top it with some basil or another herb.
Adding vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery will add a sweet aromatic flavor to your tomato soup, making it less acidic.
First, you can try sautéing some onions in olive oil; next, add some diced carrots and chopped celery, then pour in your crushed tomatoes and allow it to cook.
Alternatively, you can use sofrito as a base for your tomato soup. A sofrito already has onions, peppers, and garlic added to some tomatoes. So, you can start with a sofrito and then add your crushed or pureed tomatoes to it. That way, they mix, and the spices in the sofrito reduce the acidity of your tomato soup.
Does sugar reduce acidity in tomato soup?
No, sugar does not reduce the acidity in tomato sauce. What sugar does is that it alters the way your tongue tastes the acid in the tomato sauce, which gives the impression that the acidity of the sauce has been significantly reduced when it has only been masked.
Does butter reduce acidity in tomato soup?
No, butter does not reduce acidity in tomato sauce. Instead, it supplies richness to your sauce and acts as a buffer to mask the acidic taste of the tomato sauce on the palate.
How acidic is ketchup?
Ketchup is highly acidic because it has a pH of about 3.7-3.9. In addition, it is made from naturally acidic tomatoes, combined with other ingredients, including vinegar, which is another acidic ingredient.
Hence, those suffering from acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may not be able to consume large amounts of ketchup as that will cause a flare-up.
How to make tomato soup less bitter?
Tomato sauce can taste bitter due to the following reasons:
- Your tomato sauce is acidic.
- Your garlic or other spices got burnt while sautéing.
- You overcooked your herbs; herbs like basil and oregano can become bitter when cooked for long, so they should be added near the end of the cooking process.
You can make your tomato sauce less bitter by adding a little baking soda.
How to get rid of the tangy taste in tomato soup
Your tomato sauce may have a tangy taste due to the acidity of the tomatoes. But not to worry, you can get rid of the tangy taste in your tomato sauce by adding a small amount of baking soda.
How to make chili taste less tomatoey
If your chili has a lingering tomatoey taste, reduce or eliminate it using any of the following methods:
- Add a cup of chicken broth.
- Sauté some red bell pepper or hot peppers and add to your chili to tone down the tomatoey taste.
- Add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
How to keep milk from curdling in tomato soup
There is a great tendency that milk in tomato soup will curdle because tomato soup has everything needed for milk to curdle; an acidic environment and heat. So here are some tips to keep milk from curdling in your tomato soup.
- Do not use skimmed or low-fat milk. The higher the fat content of the milk, the lesser the chance of curdling.
- Add a thin flour and water paste to the milk. This will help thicken the soup and prevent the milk from curdling.
- Do not boil your soup after adding milk or dairy products; the high temperature will make the milk curdle. Instead, add the milk gradually to the soup, warming it slowly.
- Heat tomato soup containing milk slowly on low heat.
- Add a little baking soda to your tomato soup to help neutralize the acid entirely so that the milk does not curdle.
Why does my tomato soup have white spots?
You may notice that your tomato soup has white spots. This may mean either of these;
- The milk in your tomato soup has curdled.
- Your tomato soup has gone bad, and those white spots are molds growing in your soup.
How to cut the sweetness in spaghetti sauce
In contrast, your spaghetti sauce may be too sweet after adding your ingredients. Here are a few tips for cutting sweetness in spaghetti sauce.
Add more base ingredients
This technique is based on an increase in volume. Adding more tomatoes, peppers, stock, or any base ingredient you used for your spaghetti sauce will help cut the sweetness, and you will even have more sauce that you can save for later. If you used the sweet variety of tomatoes as a base ingredient, this method might not be effective.
Add counteractive ingredients
Another effective way of cutting sweetness in spaghetti sauce is by adding ingredients to counteract that sweetness. For example, acidic ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice will reduce the sweetness of your sauce when added in small amounts. Other counteractive ingredients you can add are cooked mushrooms and spices like chili peppers or paprika.
How to reduce acid in spaghetti sauce
If your spaghetti sauce is acidic, it is primarily due to your tomatoes.As described earlier, add baking soda, herbs, spices, or vegetables to reduce the acid in your spaghetti sauce.
How do you stop heartburn from tomato sauce?
Heartburn is one of the major reasons why the need to make tomato soup less acidic arises. If you have acid reflux symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or are sensitive to acidic foods, you may experience heartburn after eating tomato sauce. You can stop heartburn from tomato sauce by:
- Drinking lots of water to dilute the stomach acid.
- Raising your upper body or standing up straight.
- Eating alkaline foods such as bananas or melons.
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn drugs.
- Reducing the acid in your tomato sauce.
If you have additional symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing or chest pain alongside heartburn, please see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatments.
How to tame acid reflux
Acid reflux symptoms worsen when its victim eats certain foods known as “trigger foods.” Trigger foods are mostly acidic foods such as tomatoes which increase the acidity of the stomach’s content.
As a result, the victim’s lower esophageal sphincter (the valve at the end of the esophagus) is weakened. Thus, there is a backwash of the acidic content of the stomach into the esophagus. This allows the stomach content to flow from the esophagus into the throat and mouth, giving an unpleasant, sour taste in the mouth and causing heartburn. This adds up to why we need to make tomato soup less acidic.
If you suffer from acid reflux, there are three major ways you can tame it. These include:
- Dietary changes.
- Lifestyle changes.
- Use of over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications.
Your diet is the first point of consideration when trying to tame acid reflux, especially since those symptoms occur mostly after a meal.
So first, find out what you eat that triggers acid reflux. These trigger foods include acidic foods like tomatoes, gas-forming foods like beans, fatty foods like fries, spicy foods, and caffeinated or carbonated beverages.
Trigger foods vary for each individual. Once you discover your trigger foods, fine-tune your diet to include foods that do not cause problems for you and exclude those that cause a flare-up. For example, while carbonated and caffeinated drinks are not healthy and can be eliminated from the diet, other foods like beans and tomatoes contain essential nutrients. Therefore, they should either be substituted or eaten in small quantities.
Certain lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, poor sleep quality, etc., can cause acid reflux or worsen symptoms of acid reflux. For example, Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that smoking weakens the esophageal sphincter, allowing the stomach’s acidic contents to flow back into the esophagus.
Here are some lifestyle modifications that help to tame acid reflux:
- Quit smoking.
- Lose weight
- Avoid stress and anxiety.
- Eat smaller meals at intervals throughout the day.
- Stay up for 1-2 hours after eating; do not lie down immediately after a meal.
- Do not eat late at night.
- Sleep placing your upper body higher than your lower body.
Use of over-the-counter (otc) and prescription medications
If your acid reflux symptoms do not reduce with diet and lifestyle changes, see your healthcare provider for drug prescriptions. There are several OTC heartburn medications and antacids that help to relieve heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms.
Note: Chronic acid reflux (GERD) requires immediate medical intervention as it could lead to more serious medical conditions.
Can you add milk to tomato soup?
Yes, you can add milk to tomato soup. Many tomato soup recipes, like the creamy tomato soup recipe and the classic tomato soup recipe, require the addition of milk.
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I write about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. I also talk about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things