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Tomato seeds and skins in sauce

When making cooked tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, do you remove skins and/or seeds? Why or why not?


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  1. I remove the skin because with the fresh tomatoes, especially the ones coming from my garden this year, the skin is thick and does not digest well. The seeds I try and get most of them, but it's not an issue if some make it to the sauce.

    1. I usually don't bother when I'm cooking for myself. Otherwise, yes. It's pretty quick and easy to blanch them and remove the skin (cut an X on the bottom first). I don't worry about the seeds.

      1. I always leave them in, as my husband and I don't mind them, but I do know people who run tomatoes through the food mill to remove them.

        1. In class, yes, at home, no. I've never been bothered by either.

          1. i think it's a matter of personal preference. i had a college roommate who had a fear of tomato skins in her cooked food, but fresh was fine...don't ask. every time i cooked a dish using fresh tomatoes [as opposed to the canned & peeled ones], before she would eat it she tortured me with the third degree about whether or not i had painstakingly removed the skins.

            i know it's evil, but a few times i left some pieces in there just for the hell of it, and of course she never noticed.

            it all boils down to texture. i do think the seeds can be a nuisance...they inevitably get lodged in your teeth, and can often be a little bitter...so i always remove them. as for the skins, some people are really particular about it, in which case, remove them. personally, as long as they're not too chewy or tough, i like the rustic note they add to a sauce [or 'gravy' as some of us were taught to call it].

            1. I've been oven-roasting and freezing tomatoes from the farmers market. I usually take off the skins after they've roasted for a bit. But some tomatoes do seem to have the thick skins that are kind of hard to remove that way and others have thin skins. Is that a function of the variety? Do some varieties have the thinner skins? Also, this year, I started immersing them in boiling water for a bit then peeling before roasting. Much much easier. But the roasted tomatoes done this way seem less intense. Any theories on that?

              2 Replies
              1. re: kary

                you should always leave the skin on if you're going to roast them. if you remove it before roasting, you lose the protection that the skin provides, which traps the heat and allows the flavor to intensify and permeate. the skin also traps some moisture, so i'm guessing a lot of the tomato 'essence' evaporates right out through the exposed flesh. this explains the reduced 'intensity' of flavor.

                and yes, the skin thickness varies greatly among tomatoes based on variety, climate, seasonality, etc.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Yes, I didn't know why but did know I was getting a different result with my easier method. Thanks.

              2. I've been a hard core amateur cook for over 20 years and frequently make tomato sauces. If I am using fresh tomatoes, I typically puree or run them through a food processor with seeds and skins intact. I've never had anyone complain, or has anyone said it didn't taste anything but great. If I was using roasted, frozen or canned, I would peel them. I also use tomato paste as a thickening and binding agent, so that further hides any skin bits. It's simply a personal preference. But it's one people feel passionate about. I have colleagues who find my inclination to be horrifying, and shudder the thought of any skin or seeds. It really depends on the finial product, technique and source of the tomato. If it bothers you, follow the cook rule of "never give away your secret" Intention can be about plausible deny-ability.

                1. Skins - always. It's so easy to do - just dip them in boiling water and off they come.
                  Seeds - depending on the tomato. There a some whose seeds give a very bitter taste to the sauce, and others that make no difference.