Why do brands put so much sugar in spaghetti sauce?
Is it for taste or preservation?
Tomatoes generally have an acidic or sour taste to them. The sugar is supposed to offset this. It's primarily for taste. The acid in the tomato and any added salt are good for preservation by themselves.
My Italian grandmother put a little bit of sugar in her tomato sauce, because that's what her mother taught her. She did it for taste.
Joe is correct about the "acidic taste" but he doesn't mention that spaghetti sauce makers use the cheapest tomatoes they can find which generally speaking have an acidic taste. By choosing different types of tomatoes you can avoid this issue. When I make homemade sauce I use Kumatos. (Spanish tomato variety) Kumatoes are very sweet and do not require any sugar. Another trick is to use a pint of cherry tomatoes in your sauce or try adding some sweet tasting wine.
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