Post 26: – Is Listerine Safe for everyday use? Making your own tomato sauce from your bumper crop – Pressure Cooker Pasta Sauce WITHOUT salt and good for Diabetics and those whose salt intake is limited

How many of us have been using Listerine? I was instructed after oral surgery to use it topically on the surgical area, temporarily. Now, I have a few questions to ask my dentist about whether Listerine (containing Alcohol) may increase the risk of developing oral cancer.


There has been concern that the use of alcohol-containing mouthwash such as Listerine may increase the risk of developing oral cancer. 1 Studies conducted in 1985,3 1995, 4 and 2003 5 summarize that alcohol-containing mouth rinses are not associated with oral cancer. However, a review of a study carried out in Cuba, Argentina, and Brazil published December 2008 in the Australian Dental Journal concluded that:

There is now sufficient evidence to accept the proposition that developing oral cancer is increased or contributed to by the use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes. Whilst many of these products may have been shown to be effective in penetrating oral microbial biofilms in vitro and reducing oral bacterial load, it would be wise to restrict their use to short-term therapeutic situations if needed. Perhaps the use of mouthwashes that do not contain alcohol may be equally effective. Further, mouth rinses should be prescribed by dentists, like any other medication. There may well be a reason for the use of alcohol-containing mouth rinses, but only for a particular situation and for a limited and controlled period of time. As such, patients should be provided with written instructions for mouthwash use, and mouthwash use should be restricted to adults for short durations and specific, clearly defined reasons. It is the opinion of the authors that, in light of the evidence available of the association of alcohol-containing mouthwashes with the development of oral cancer, it would be inadvisable for oral healthcare professionals to recommend the long-term use of alcohol-containing mouthwashes.6

In January 2009, Andrew Penman, chief executive of The Cancer Council New South Wales, called for further research on the matter.6 In a March 2009 brief, the American Dental Association said “the available evidence does not support a connection between oral cancer and alcohol-containing mouth rinse”. 7

In 2009, Johnson and Johnson launched a new alcohol-free version of the product called Listerine Zero. 8

On April 11, 2007, McNeil-PPC disclosed that there were potentially contaminants in all Listerine Agent Cool Blue products sold since its launch in 2006, and that all bottles were being recalled. 9 The recall affected some 4,000,000 bottles sold since that time. 10  According to the company, Listerine Agent Cool Blue is the only product affected by the safety issue and no other products in the Listerine family were under recall. 9

Listerine (From

As much as people in the Primal health community tend to shy away from questionable conventional medical advice, Listerine appears to be a truly effective product. It has no fluoride (unless you buy the one with fluoride in it). It actually seems to be quite “natural,” containing some ethanol, or alcohol, plus a bunch of essential oils from a variety of medicinal plants and herbs, including thyme, wintergreen, eucalyptus, and peppermint. If you ignore the plastic bottle, child-safe lid, possible synthetic sources of said oils, and ubiquitous marketing, Listerine looks, tastes, and smells an awful lot like something a shaman would cook up in the Amazon somewhere.

Does it work? You can use Listerine, just change the sequence.

According to one dentist who promotes both good nutrition, stress reduction, and modern dental interventions, Listerine can be part of an effective oral hygiene regimen but it should not be used as a final rinse because the acidity can dry out the mouth and cause the protective pellicle layer to wither away. If you’re going to use Listerine, sandwich it in between brushing and a final rinse of something more amenable to oral moisture retention. For what it’s worth Dr. Ellie Phillips supports the use of fluoride mouth rinses for this purpose, but not the consumption of fluoridated drinking water.

Links between Listerine usage and oral cancer

(if they’re causally related) can probably be attributed to users’ tendencies to use the mouthwash as a final – and thus acidic, drying, lingering – rinse.

As a standalone intervention, however, Listerine has mixed evidence. Some studies indicate that Listerine eradicates all oral bacteria within 30 seconds of swishing and can even be used to disinfect toothbrushes (although one study found that it was just as effective against the streptococcus mutans species as air drying). Seeing as how oral bacteria both contributes to and protects against dental disease depending on the composition of the oral ecology, wiping them all out with Listerine may have unwanted effects.

Verdict: Primal, if used properly as described in the links from Dr. Ellie Phillips above (tooth decay is not Primal). Not Primal, if used incorrectly and haphazardly.

Read more:

  1. McCullough, Michael; C. S. Farah (December 2008).“The role of alcohol in oral carcinogenesis with particular reference to alcohol-containing mouthwashes”. Australian Dental Journal 53 (4): 302–305. doi:10.1111/j.1834-7819.2008.00070.x. PMID 19133944. Retrieved 2009-01-12.
  2. Jump up^ “Mouthwash linked to cancer”. Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  3. Jump up^ Mashberg A, Barsa P, Grossman ML (May 1985). “A study of the relationship between mouthwash use and oral and pharyngeal cancer”. J Am Dent Assoc 110 (5): 731–4.PMID 3859544.
  4. Jump up^ Elmore JG, Horwitz RI (September 1995). “Oral cancer and mouthwash use: evaluation of the epidemiologic evidence”. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 113 (3): 253–61.doi:10.1016/S0194-5998(95)70114-1. PMID 7675486.
  5. Jump up^ Cole P, Rodu B, Mathisen A (1 August 2003). “Alcohol-containing mouthwash and oropharyngeal cancer: a review of the epidemiology”. J Am Dent Assoc 134 (8): 1079–87.doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2003.0322. PMID 12956348.
  6. Jump up^ Weaver, Clair (January 11, 2009). “Mouthwash linked to cancer”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  7. Jump up^ Science brief on alcohol-containing mouthrinses and oral cancer, American Dental Association, March 2009
  8. Jump up^ Listerine cancer claim triggers court battle, The Guardian, 27 August 2011
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b “McNeil-PPC, Inc. today issues voluntary nationwide consumer recall of Listerine Agent Cool Blue plaque-detecting rinse products” (Press release). McNeil-PPC. 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  10. Jump up^ “Contamination prompts J&J recall of Listerine Agent Cool Blue plaque-detecting rinse”. NBC News. Associated Press. 2007-04-12. Retrieved Aug 15, 2014.


Is it practical / feasible to make a pasta sauce / spaghetti sauce / tomato sauce in a pressure cooker?

We in Israel are experiencing a Shmitta year.

Instructions: This turns fresh tomato purée into a very thick tomato sauce with no tomato paste needed, nor any stirring needed once the cooking has begun. Wash the tomatoes, quarter them (no need to peel or seed, but do so if that is your preference), process through food processor. You will end up with a thick purée / juice.(Note: Cooking times WILL vary based on the variety of tomato being used. If you are using tomatoes really meant to be more juicy, fresh-eating type tomatoes as opposed to sauce tomatoes which are naturally less watery, then you may need to double cooking times below.)Bring this purée to a rolling boil in the pressure cooker, with no oil, tomato paste, etc, added, stirring with a wooden spoon until you can’t break the boil anymore, then put the lid on, seal it, bring to pressure, and set on low pressure. Here are the cooking times under pressure:4 cups (32 oz / .95 litres) of purée: 30 minutes
8 cups (64 oz / 1.9 litres) of purée: 40 minutes16 cups (128 oz / 3.8 litres) of purée: 60 minutes
24 cups (192 oz / 5.7 litres) of purée: 85 minutesAt the end, let pressure release naturally.If it is still runnier than you wanted, bring back up to pressure and cook some more — all things being equal, say, 15 to 20 minute intervals.Yield: exactly one half the volume you started with.


I have done for years the traditional method of making tomato sauce — hot stove in humid August stirring huge cauldrons, morning hours stretching into afternoon hours into evening hours, wondering how many rockets to the moon the cooking fuel being used could have powered. I would now never do it that way again.

It is not only faster and more cooking-fuel efficient to do it in a pressure cooker, but the taste of the resulting tomato sauce is also brighter, fresher, and more concentrated.

And the bonus is: you don’t have to stand there and stir! Set it and forget it! (Well, it’s a pressure cooker, so obviously you will stay well within ear / eye shot of it during operation, but you know what I mean.) It’s a sealed pot, so once it is underway there is nothing you can stir. Darn, eh?


I’m going to give you my experiment step by step so that you will understand how the cooking time affects the thickness of tomato sauce in a pressure cooker. I’m also going to provide photos so that you can see how the sauce shapes up after different periods of time.

My pressure cooker is a Nutricook™. I used the veg setting on it; that is a low pressure setting of around 40 kPa (5.8 Psi).

Also, I am not one for skinning and seeding tomatoes. If you are, you can do that; I know a lot of Italian grannies may faint otherwise. I don’t mind tomato seeds in a tomato sauce, and a blender or food processor grinds up the skin finely enough for me. Plus, so many vitamins are in the tomato skin. Like I say, more power to you if you want to go to that extra work.

I began by puréeing the tomatoes in a blender, but it’s a pain: they get stuck and you have to remove the jug, jiggle it so they will fall down more and hit the blade, etc. When I switched to a food processor for the tomatoes, the work went much faster and it did just as good a job.



Above, you see the initial starting setup. Switching to a food processor,  made the process go much faster.

Initial test with 8 cups (2 US quarts / 64 oz /  gave 1.9 litres) of tomato purée.


There above is what the puréed sauce looked like, fresh out of the food processor, and ready to start cooking with. Bring the raw tomato sauce to a good rolling boil, stirring frequently with a non-reactive, wooden spoon (habit from times past when dealing with tomatoes) as the boiling started. When the boiling got so vigorous that it is frothing put the lid on and sealed it.

First cooking for 15 minutes, on the veg setting on the Nutricook (lowest pressure.)AFTER 15 MINUTES OF COOKING TIME


After 15 minutes, the starting volume of 8 cups / 64 oz / 1.9 litres has reduced to: 6 3/4 cups / 54 oz / 1.6 litres.

That’s a reduction of 15 % from the initial raw purée (1.9 litres to 1.6 litres = 300 ml).


There it is above. It’s something that I’d term “fully cooked tomato juice.” It’s ready to be bottled or frozen as processed tomato juice, to be used in a soup, or as a juice, or simmered down further in an open pot into a thick sauce with the addition of tomato paste, flavourings, onion, peppers, mushrooms, etc.

But our goal is to see if we can avoid the whole simmering cauldron scenario to make it a thick sauce. The added bonus is that reduced volume requires less space in the already over-crowded deep freezer. So onward.


After 30 minutes of cooking time

After a total of 30 minutes, the volume has reduced to: 5 1/2 cups / 44 oz / 1.3 litres.

That’s a reduction of 30 % from the initial raw purée (1.9 litres to 1.3 litres = 600 ml).

Pressure Cooker Pasta Sauce after 30 mins

There it is above. It is thick enough to pass for most homemade pasta sauce uses, quite nice.

It’s like a nice fresh-made sauce, what an Italian might call a “sugo”, with no need for tomato paste in it for that semi-thick texture typical of a quick, homemade “sugo” (sauce.)

However, I’d like to see if a small amount more of cooking will thicken it even further. If it takes hours more of pressure cooking to thicken it significantly more, forget it. But if a few minutes more can make a difference, I’d like to know.

So I’m going to give it another 10 minutes.


Pressure Cooker Pasta Sauce after 40 mins

After a total of 40 minutes, the volume has reduced to: 4 cups / 32 oz / 950 ml.

That’s a reduction of 50 % from the initial raw purée (1.9 litres to .95 litres = 950 ml).

Pressure Cooker Pasta Sauce after 40 mins

There it is above. It is thick enough for swirls in it to hold.

It’s quite thick and heavy; you’d almost think there were tomato paste in it.

In fact, it’s so thick that…..

Pressure Cooker Pasta Sauce after 40 mins

You literally can stand a spoon up in it!

That’s fantastic!

If you’re looking for something as thick as a sauce that came out of a commercial jar, 40 minutes is the timing you are after for this volume of raw tomato purée. You won’t be disappointed, and there is no need for tomato paste.

40 minutes in a Nutricook pressure cooker, anyway. Times may vary a bit either way in your pressure cooker.

Also, please note: I would speculate that the time required might have been longer if fresh veg that give off water had been added. Veg such as bell pepper, onion, zucchini, mushroom, eggplant, etc, because as they cooked and broke down, they would have released more water into the pot that needed to be cooked away.

Summary: 40 minutes on low pressure will turn 8 cups (2 US quarts / 64 oz / 1.9 litres) of fresh tomato purée into a very thick tomato sauce with no tomato paste needed. The yield was 4 cups / 32 oz / 950 ml.



I had 12 dozen tomatoes to process. When puréed, that yielded I think it was about 6 or 7 of those large measuring jugs. Anyway, if I processed one jug at a time through the pressure cooker, I was gonna be there all night. Literally.

Plus, in a real-life tomato sauce making situation, you have bazillions of tomatoes to process at once. When it rains tomatoes, it pours. It cascades. You don’t cook 2 or 3 cups of the stuff at a time.

So, I tripled the volume being cooked at one time. I wanted to go more than double, but I wanted to stay well under the safe fill line on the pressure cooker; as well, I didn’t want to scorch the bottom while I waited for a totally huge amount of liquid to come to temperature (always the worry in a pressure cooker.) So, I triple it was. A leap for sure, but not a totally crazy one.

No photos, as the evening was getting very late, and the magic was leaving the room on this topic, but here are the results.

I started with 24 cups / 192 oz / 5.7 litres of fresh tomato purée. Again, good rolling boil, stirring frequently, before the lid went on. Veg setting / low pressure.

After 15 minutes: 21 cups / 168 oz / 5 litres. Tomato juice.

After 40 minutes: 17 1/2 cups / 140 oz / 4.1 litres. Maybe just a tad thinner than what you’d describe as a “quick homemade sauce”. Usable, but most people would want thicker.

After 60 minutes: 15 cups / 112 oz / 3.3 litres. A thickish homemade style sauce, but the spoon won’t stand up yet.

After 85 minutes: 13 cups / 104 oz / 3 litres. A very thick sauce that the spoon will stand up in. We’re done here.

Summary: for a larger volume at once, a longer cooking time is needed. 24 cups / 192 oz / 5.7 litres of fresh tomato purée required 85 minutes of cooking time on low pressure. The yield was 13 cups / 104 oz / 3 litres.

Caution: If you are using a Nutricook, and you are doing a long session like this with a lot of liquid being expelled as steam, I would remove your Nutricook timer every 25 minutes or so to wipe away any water condensing under the timer. Just a quick wipe with a paper towel will do it and put it back in; don’t press the buttons to mess up the time. Better safe than sorry, as condensation can kill a Nutricook timer faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

Note: the cooking time might actually be quicker because I did start and stop the pressure cooker three times to record the ongoing results.


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