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Deseeding tomatoes: Do you do it, and if so, when/where/why?

  • c

I have something to admit: I have never deseeded a tomato in my life. I love the juicy innards where all the seeds are. IMO, they're the best part of the tomato and it seems to me such a waste to throw them out.

However... when I watch cooking programs and read cookbooks, almost all of them tell you to deseed tomatoes before cooking with them, either for aesthetic reasons or because the seeds supposedly taste bitter. I don't find either scenario applicable.

Is there something I'm not getting, here? Is it important to deseed for cooking, but not if you're eating raw? Do all you expert Chowhound chefs deseed tomatoes?

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  1. When I eat a fresh cut tomato I never deseed. I use plums primarily in salads or a good heirloom and those I rarely seed.

    Now when I cook a sauce or a casserole, I love to use plum tomatoes. I do seed somewhat with just a slight squeeze. It isn't important to get all the seeds out but just a few. I roast them often and I put the whole tomato in the sauce or the dish without seeding. I wish I could tell you I seed for this and don't seed for that, but it just really depends on the dish and the freshness of the fruits and vegetables I am using..

    To me seeds are not bitter, but they can add additional water into a dish which sometimes can be a problem.

    I think one has to consider adding additional liquid and if they want the seeds in the dish for me it doesn't bother me. But added liquid and moisture does.

    I'm sure this probably doesn't answer your question, but may give you some in sight

    1. (not a chef)

      I love tomatoes. Raw, cooked, green (usually sliced and fried), or any other colour, as long as they don't have an old apple texture.

      When making a quick sauce or adding to salads or pastas raw, no de-seeding in my kitchen.

      Jose Andres calls it the caviar, and spoons it out to top bread, oranges, etc.

      As with herbs, the seeds apparently get bitter with longer cooking. I haven't had this happen to me, but I also have not had a bushel of tomatoes to can for the winter (next year if all goes well, this will be the case).

      10 Replies
      1. re: Caralien

        I almost always deseed tomatoes. To me they add too much water to dishes and dilute the dressing in salads. I have harvested the seed pods which when not broken can be enjoyed as Jose Andres professes. They are actually very good with a good fruity finishing evoo.

         
        1. re: Caralien

          Jose carefully cuts out the seed pods, trying leave them whole and intact.

          One of his tapas joins a seed pod to a cube of watermelon with a toothpick, drizzled with a bit of vinegar.

              1. re: paulj

                Wow, the pictures are stunning (especially that smidgen of purple flower in the first picture). I bet it would be lovely using green tomato seed pods, too.

                Thanks for these links, paulj!

                1. re: cimui

                  Here's a quick pictorial on how to get those pods out

                   
                   
                   
                   
                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      scubadoo the master chow pictorialist!

                      the seed pods kind of look more like orange frog's eggs than caviar, but i guess that's not as nice-sounding a selling point, huh?

                      can't decide whether to make this watermelon / tomato seed tapa or the Ranger's watermelon / peppercorn salad, first, for my next watermelon project....

                2. re: paulj

                  That looks great!! Thanks for sharing the link ;)

                  1. re: paulj

                    Paulj, I made the Food and Wine recipe for a post-fireworks tapas, tonight, substituting balsamic for the sherry vinegar, and on half of the skewers, adding a either sprinkle of red chili powder or freshly ground black pepper. They were quite delicious and a wonderful recipe for an informal, non-sitdown nibble, since the tapas only get better after a brief sit at room temperature.

                    Coupla notes:

                    Removing the tomato caviar takes a bit of patience (at least for me, since I don't have the knife skills for this down pat).

                    When serving, it presents much more nicely if you pour the dressing onto a deep serving plate and then add the skewers.

                    I used the leftover tomato flesh in a gazpacho, which we'll have for dinner tomorrow night.

                    Thanks a lot to you, Caralien and scubadoo97 for sharing this recipe and technique!!

            1. Lots of sauces/salsas don't need the extra moisture that comes from the seeds and pulp. For example, when I make pico de gallo I always peel and deseed the tomatoes. It's easy enough - just slice across the equator and scoop the innards out. If I'm doing more than a couple of tomatoes I'll seed them into a sieve and enjoy the juice (with or without vodka and hot sauce) as a cook's treat.

              1. Sandwiches! I can't stand when tomatoes aren't deseeded before being used on a sandwich- they make it so soggy if you don't!

                2 Replies
                1. re: CoryKatherine

                  I don't mind if the tomato is a good one, not those bland NO flavor ones, but never put the tomato on the bread. Tomatoes should be a middle layer and not next to dressing so it slips around. That way it doesn't make the sandwich soggy. I can't stand a soggy sandwich or burger either. YUCK!

                  1. re: kchurchill5

                    Tomato sandwiches are wonderful! Some prefer it with mayo. I used to like putting a plum tomato and a large button mushroom (or 2) into a piece of baguette, and smashing it into a pressed sandwich. To be eaten immediately. (my favourite car trip food)

                2. More often then not, I remove the seeds from my tomatoes. It's personal preference though. I just dislike the texture of the seeds.