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The Tomato Quandary


This is one of those, "Did you know?" articles. To which many of you who read on may say, "Of course. Everyone knows that."

Except... I didn't. So just in case, here's my "Did you know?"


The older I get, the more convinced I become that great writers either hire amazing research staffs, or they innately love to research themselves.

Me? While I would love to become a great writer, that's a ways off yet. However, I do love to research... anything and everything. Believe me, Siri and I have become the best of friends.

"Siri, what is the origin of ___ word?" "Siri, when did this event happen..." and on and on it goes.

Back to the "Did you know" part after,,, almost.

I'm cooking for tables of one tonight. Plural intended. Yes, our household consists of more than one, but we're all filtering in at different times this evening. My job? Keep the food flowing, especially to the large teenage son who can't quite get himself filled up these days.

Spinach ravioli. That's dinner tonight with homemade Marinara Sauce. And finally I'm coming to my point. The Marinara.

Canned tomatoes... or fresh. I have both.


Fresh -- canned?

And then I remember that my son isn't overly fond of chunks of tomato and then I remember a snippet of conversation I overheard.

"Did you know that canned diced tomatoes are coated with a chemical so that they keep their shape and will never get soft?" the one asked the other.


Off to the kitchen laptop I go.

It's true! Seconds later, question answered. Canned diced tomatoes are coated with calcium chloride.

Susan Brewer, Ph.D. University of Illinois, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition says, "The calcium chloride helps whole and diced pieces stay firm and keep their shape and is also a nutrient."

Calcium chloride?

And what is that? I wasn't sure. More clicking on the keyboard.

Calcium chloride is an ionic compound of calcium and salt. It is solid at room temperature but highly soluble in water. It can be directly produced from limestone.

We all need calcium. So it's good... right?

Many say a resounding "yes."

That may be true. I'm not sure.

This is what I do know. Calcium chloride is used for the following:

  • Deicing roadways
  • Swimming pools and aquariums
  • Food firming additive
  • Flavor enhancer (pickling)
  • Treatment of hydrofluoric acid burns, magnesium intoxication, and other uses
  • Animal sterilization
  • Concrete mixes
  • Plastic additive

And there are more.


Back to the quandary.

And the tomato.

I answered my initial question but raising a whole lot more, in my mind at least.

Just in case you're curious. I used fresh.  And it was simply amazing. More from the knowledge than the skill. But I enjoyed my service for one and will enjoy serving it to the others who float through hungry tonight.

Aren't you glad you know that?

Have a great evening.

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