Saturday, January 16, 2010

A little more salt, anyone?

Tomato Sauce. I've been contemplating tomato sauce.

I use a lot of tomato sauce, paste and whole tomatoes. And since I don't have my own, freshly-canned tomatoes right now, I'm at the mercy of the food manufacturers. Now that I'm a label-reader, I find long, scary words on the backs of these cans. On tomato products, I usually see "calcium chloride."

Calcium chloride is a common salt. It's made from limestone. It can be used to treat roads, or to amend soil, or in the plastics industry to make things more firm. A useful chemical.

But I don't necessarily want lots of it in my body, ya know?

And I found an interesting thing upon reading tomato labels. The expensive brands, like Del Monte and Hunt's, always have calcium chloride. At WalMart, ALL the Hunt's tomato products had this additive. I'm broken-hearted that Del Monte's Basil & Oregano diced tomatoes have it, because I LOVE using this product to make pizza sauce. And, BTW, all the Great Value (WalMart brand) tomato products use calcium chloride too.

I began to wonder, "Are there ANY brands out there that don't add calcium chloride to tomato sauces?"

Yes, there are! And guess what? It's the cheap brands!
The Happy Harvest (25¢) sauce I buy at Aldi, and the Clover Valley (55¢) sauce I found at Dollar General! So, I'm paying less (a LOT less) for something I want.

Some of you may be rolling your eyes. "Who cares about a little bit of salt in the sauce?" Well, honestly, I do. And I care about a food industry that puts additives into my food, not so that it will be better for me, but so that it will sell better for them. And I do believe that the seemingly small, insignificant food choices that I make for my family, multiplied hundreds of times in all the items I purchase, will impact our health.

This slow food/real food trend is becoming rather big. Here's a fun video of an interview on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show, "with food expert Michael Pollan. It's worth the watch. (I don't agree with all that Pollan says, of course, but his advice about eating real food is right on the money!)


  1. Here is another thought on tomato sauce - when it anything other than just tomatoes it has high fructose added to it. That makes me so mad. Why do we need a sweeter added to tomatoes?


  2. Good to know! I've been stressing a little about tomatoes.

    Did you see Food, Inc.? It is really good. I need to write a little review on my blog.

  3. Good point, B. We don't need the sugar either, esp. if it's corn syrup. J - I think I read about that one on "Musings of a Housewife." I'll need to check it out (I wonder if it's on Netflix??) Thanks! I'll wait for your review :)

  4. When I am shopping for red sauce, I read all the labels and look for
    1)the ones that don't have corn syrup and 2)the ones that don't have sugar high up on the ingredients list. They are hard to find!

  5. This is Allie, by the way. I wasn't sure if you knew.

  6. Ah!! There you are, Allie! Welcome :)

  7. I read this post the same day as yours here. If you try it, let me know what you think. Sounds intriguing.

  8. Thanks, Carolyn - I looked at her recipe, and it does sound intriguing. I'll give it a try and let you know :)


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