cooking tomatoes in aluminum

arn's picture

My question is concerning the cooking of tomatoes in an aluminum pot. This summer I canned many quarts of salsa and tomato sauce using an aluminum stockpot. The tomato mixture was boiled for 3 hours as part of the reduction process. The mixture was then canned using conventional quart jars and the acid food canning process. Is there any concern about using aluminum and cooking tomatoes? If so, is it great enough that I should consider discarding the canned tomatoes?

Carol_Pruitt's picture

(post #12126, reply #1 of 5)

Hi. I have heard that cooking tomatoes (or other acid food such as applesauce) in an aluminum pot does leach some aluminum out of the pot, which ends up in the food. The longer the food is cooked, the more aluminum it will contain. This apparently doesn't happen nearly as much with non-acid foods.

I can remember that my grandmother's applesauce always "tasted funny" compared to what my mother canned, and grandma cooked in aluminum, so I suspect that's what the funny taste was.

The main concern I've heard about aluminum in food (or from deodorants, etc.) is that it can accumulate in the brain over the course of a lifetime, perhaps leading eventually to Alzheimer's Disease. No one seems to be quite sure what the connection is, but presumably the less aluminum we eat or rub on our skin, the better. This is one of those pesky questions that each of us has to deal with on our own.

If it was me that had canned all that salsa and tomato sauce, I wouldn't throw it out. It's probably still a whole lot better for you than store-bought. Any problems seem to be related to *long-term* exposure, and no matter how many quarts you canned, it's not going to last you forever. I would *definitely* go out and get a stainless-steel stockpot for next time, though.

But it's not me, it's you, so the big question is, what do you feel comfortable with?

arn's picture

(post #12126, reply #2 of 5)

Thanks for the information. Several people at work had mentioned the Alzheimer's Disease issue. I'd like to send an e-mail to a site that is knowledgeable on this subject from a medical perspective. Any suggestions?

dibble's picture

(post #12126, reply #3 of 5)

You may want to look at this site.

Astrid_Churchill's picture

(post #12126, reply #4 of 5)

Try As you may surmise, it is the site of our former Surgeon General, and is full of good up to date information. Don't let his name put you off, it's nobody but them chickens!

ruth_lively's picture

(post #12126, reply #5 of 5)

Another option for a non-reactive cooking vessel is enameled cast iron. Le Creuset is one brand. The higher cost is justified (to me) by the extra heavy construction. It's perfect for long slow simmering of sauces. And never any worry about off tastes or bad stuff getting into your food. I got mine as a Christmas gift.....