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Old 10-22-2012, 12:09 PM   #1
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Dextrose or Marzana tomatoes - what caused the incredible sweetness of my sauce?

Morning.

I ran into a problem yesterday which was the first of it's kind for me.

I had someone else source ingredients for a Sunday sauce I was making and they came back with "parsley and cheese" sausage patties and Marzana tomatoes as new ingredients. I was looking for a hot italian ground sausage (ground at the store), uncased but it wasn't available. Anyhow, I was dubious about it but I needed the sausage and so I used it about 3/4# of broken up patties in about 1/2 gallon of sauce.

I went along making my sauce and the first time I tasted it was obnoxiously sweet.

I scratched my head for a while and avoided the usual suspects and focused on the sausage and the Marzana tomatoes (one can, unpeeled).

The sausage ingredients were verging on scary (very processed) but Dextrose was the one I focused in on as the culprit.

After a few hours the sweetness was still there so I added more ingredients and it would just NOT go away.

So the question is- are Marzana tomatoes *so* sweet that one 28oz can in about a half gallon of sauce would make it *significantly* sweeter or was it the dextrose in the sausage?

Thanks!

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Old 10-22-2012, 12:47 PM   #2
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San Marzano tomatoes are popular and expensive because they are less acidic (sweeter) than other canned tomatoes. As a result, the sugar some add to a tomato sauce should be eliminated.

Also, the dextrose in the sausage (0.5% to 2.0%) of the weight probably didn't make the sauce sweet. The sausage would have been inedible because it would be super sweet.

What else did you add?
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:56 PM   #3
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Hey Andy,

Thanks for the quick reply.

There is nothing else I added that was sweet. I used ~1/2C of Rioja during the cook (I tasted it, it was a dry, non-sweet wine). White onions, garlic, ground pork, beef, shallots and other non-sweet things. I drained the fat and tasted it and it was most certainly not sweet so perhaps that eliminates the dextrose in the sausage.

I'm starting to think I got a bad can of tomatoes somewhere.?? Does Rioja cook down into some insanely sweet thing? Unlikely..

No clue. I've made this sauce recipe dozens of times and have been cavalier about the ingredients I use (brands of tomatoes and wine) and I have never run into this.

P.S. I had my girlfriend verify the sweetness so I didn't think I was going crazy.

Thanks!
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:01 PM   #4
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I've never used marzana tomatoes but I have added a can of tomatoes to a dish once or twice that made it sickly sweet. Same thing, didn't add other sweet things either.
It doesn't take much for a dish to be too sweet for me though.
I always taste canned or bottled tomatoes now before adding them to a dish, even if they don't contain sugar.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:02 PM   #5
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I don't know what to say. If you cooked the onion and shallot until they were caramelized, that would add a sweetness. I can't imagine the tomato would be that sweet.

I'm stumped.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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This sounds the most accurate. I am ultra sensitive (and not hugely interested) in sweet things and so we're on the same page...The girl, however, loves the sweet and she was *not* amused by the sweetness.

Finally, even adding salt and covering the pasta with parmesan to offset the sweet accomplished nothing! It was embedded in there!

Head scratcher...I wish I could attach the flavor of this sauce to a post for more information..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snip 13 View Post
I've never used marzana tomatoes but I have added a can of tomatoes to a dish once or twice that made it sickly sweet. Same thing, didn't add other sweet things either.
It doesn't take much for a dish to be too sweet for me though.
I always taste canned or bottled tomatoes now before adding them to a dish, even if they don't contain sugar.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
I don't know what to say. If you cooked the onion and shallot until they were caramelized, that would add a sweetness. I can't imagine the tomato would be that sweet.

I'm stumped.
Under-cooked onions are sweet too. A friend of mine made onion soup once. He didn't use a recipe. He didn't fry the onions. The soup was obnoxiously sweet with nothing else sweet in it.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:17 PM   #8
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I sauteed the onions, shallots, and garlic in olive oil before adding to the sauce.

Again, wha, the, fuh..

'

Quote:
Originally Posted by taxlady View Post
Under-cooked onions are sweet too. A friend of mine made onion soup once. He didn't use a recipe. He didn't fry the onions. The soup was obnoxiously sweet with nothing else sweet in it.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takealeftattheright View Post
This sounds the most accurate. I am ultra sensitive (and not hugely interested) in sweet things and so we're on the same page...The girl, however, loves the sweet and she was *not* amused by the sweetness.

Finally, even adding salt and covering the pasta with parmesan to offset the sweet accomplished nothing! It was embedded in there!

Head scratcher...I wish I could attach the flavor of this sauce to a post for more information..
It happens, don't beat yourself up about it! Just start tasting before adding things, much easier to avoid mishaps then. It sounds a bit over the top but I taste each ingredient raw (apart from raw chicken, pork and fish) before adding them to a dish and then taste as I get to each stage of the cooking.
Quality control
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:34 PM   #10
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Marzana tomatoes. Is that a brand or were you mispelling marzano? What were the ingredients on the can? Is it possible they were stewed tomatoes? Just throwing things out there.
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