I wrote a post awhile back about citric acid. It occurs naturally in fruits, but it’s made commercially from black mold. People (like me) with skin problems can often have issues with citric acid. I didn’t even realize this until recently.
Citric acid is used in most canned products (and some teas for some reason). I found that eating canned tomato sauce caused me to have a mild allergic reaction. Naturally, I thought that the tomato sauce was causing the problem. (Tomatoes can be a problem for inflammation) However, a blueberry syrup caused the same reaction, and the only common denominator was citric acid.
I knew citric acid was used as a preservative, but I didn’t know much else. I did know that for home-canning, only a teaspoon or so of citric acid is used in a quart of food. I didn’t think that this small amount could possibly affect me, but I learned some things through trial and error.
After finding some tomato product without citric acid (that was incredibly difficult – I’ll be ordering some bulk tomato powder in the future), I made some Spanish Rice with it and ate several cups. (This was probably only 1/3 c tomato puree, but that’s enough to trigger me)
And guess what? Nothing happened! No “tomato” sweats; no hot flash. Tomatoes weren’t the problem! It was citric acid!
On the subject of tomato products often containing citric acid: tomato paste in a tube doesn’t contain citric acid, but it’s prohibitively expensive. Tomato powder can be a good solution, but it’s like any powder – it’s cheapest when bought in bulk. This is a good resource for using tomato powder. -In the future, (we’re about to move, so I’m waiting) I plan to buy a 5-lb jar and keep it in the deep freeze. I love buying bulk food items so they’re always on hand. Plus, it’s ways cheaper per oz to buy large quantities (almost always), so I typically do. My husband says I have a problem; I do eventually use everything, but buying multiple 20-lb bags of rice or a dozen bottles of ketchup at a time can seem crazy.- Back to products, though. The only canned tomato product without citric acid that I found (which is weird; tomatoes are acidic naturally and don’t need the citric acid, but whatever) was Cento brand. It’s a Spanish brand, but it’s also really hard to find. My store only had it in large cans of crushed tomatoes, so I got to puree it and pack it in smaller containers when I got home. Even so, this is still a relatively convenient option. The tomato powder is almost equivalent in price (calculated as using the powder made into sauce), but you have to measure and mix with water, and it’s likely going to be thinner than canned tomato sauce no matter what.
Does anyone know where they sell Cento brand tomato products? I really enjoyed eating tomatoes again.