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Pico de gallo: deseed or not to deseed?

Do you deseed tomatoes for pico de gallo?

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  1. Depends. Depends on who's going to be eating it. Wimps? Totally deseed. Folks like us? No deseeding. And anywhere in between. And also dependent on how hot or not the peppers are.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      Oops, obviously I read "tomato" as "jalapeno" :) No,we don't deseed tomatoes either.

      1. I do not deseed tomatoes or jalapenos for pico de gallo.

        1. No, I find the gel around the seeds adds to the texture and aroma.

          1. Interesting replies. I normally deleted because without there is too much moisture/liquid pooling.

            1. Deseed and I normally use only red onions, and I soak them in a little cold water first...The jalapeño gets deseeded as well.

              1. Depends on the tomato...globes yes, Romas not so much

                4 Replies
                  1. re: c oliver

                    Ours too..they do stand up and don't get as mushy.

                  2. re: DiningDiva

                    I normally don't use Roma tomatoes. I got about 15 Romas today and I won't deseed.

                    1. re: carrytheone

                      When I use Romas or other type of paste tomato for a raw application, I will usually remove the skin.

                  3. Never deseed. Once saw a chef on TV working really hard to separate the seeds from the jelly because he said that the tomato jelly had a bunch of flavor. It made an impression on me.

                    Some people think it makes the salsa too runny. I say, that's how salsa is!

                    23 Replies
                    1. re: sandylc

                      Was that jose andres?? I am kind of in love with him..... He made a dish i saw once with only the inside "tomato jelly" part of the tomato that was gorgeous.

                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        No, it's been a long time and I don't remember who it was, but I don't think it was him!

                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                          yes, i saw that episode, too. andrés calls it tomato "caviar."

                          i like the seed gel "packages."

                          1. re: DiningDiva

                            Sure it is. Salsa means sauce. Pico de gallo is a sauce. It is also known as salsa fresca.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              I know what salsa means. Perhaps we have different definitions for pico. Finely diced vegetables are not a sauce

                            2. re: DiningDiva

                              ...THEN WHAT IS IT? It is classified as a salsa in the following books.

                              Texas Home Cooking by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
                              The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh
                              Texas On The Halfshell by Phil Brittin and Joseph Daniel

                              1. re: ChiliDude

                                Pica de gallo is not a sauce anywhere in Mexico. Texas can do what they want, it is not a salsa.

                                1. re: genoO

                                  Are you saying that there is no Pico de Gallo in Mexico?

                                  Or are you saying that they don't call it a sauce?

                                  This conversation grows more and more strange.

                                  I think the definition of "sauce"/"salsa" might be a sticking point for some.

                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    Pico de Gallo exists but is not particularly ubiquitous in Mexico. It is not a sauce, and not served as a sauce.

                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                      wrong. I order it as a salad when I want it. It can be had in many parts of Mexico, the parts that grow food and make good meals.
                                      On Edit, that's wrong. It is hard to find good food in many areas / states in Mexico. I'm pretty lucky I live in Veracruz state where good food is all they know.

                                      1. re: genoO

                                        What part of Veracruz are you in. I've spent some time there (love it) but don't recall ever seeing pico.

                                        I don't think I'm wrong, it isn't served as a sauce, and from reading your post, it sounds like you're saying it's not served as a sauce either. Salad and sauce, two different things, no?

                                        Frankly, what I've been served in Mexico that most Americans would identify as pico de gallo, is either a garnish or a small side/accompaniment. It would not be construed to be "salsa".

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          I think what you're saying is what people call "pico de gallo" in Mexico is not what Americans call "pico de gallo." That is true.

                                          What Americans call "pico de gallo" has other names in Mexico -- such as salsa mexicana -- but in Mexico it's not generally called "pico de gallo." But that dish is a salsa.

                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                            It is everywhere, every cook knows how to make it so just ask. It is considered more of a side dish than anything else but not a salsa.
                                            I live a couple hours south of Veracruz city, in the Los Tuxtlas region and in the city of Catemaco. Home of the second largest freshwater lake in Mexico, 10 miles from the gulf of Mexico and the entire area is a protected eco biosphere.

                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            I see pico De gallo as a condiment.

                                        2. re: sandylc

                                          Pica de gallo is on menus all over my part of Mexico. I, being a gringo, call it a tomato salad with a bite.
                                          Pica is like a peck, bite (of ....) gallo is a rooster. Bite of the rooster... That's the name and if you don't tell them to back off on the chilis it has a hell of a bite.

                                      2. re: ChiliDude

                                        It depends on how you're making your salsa and how you're making your pico.

                                        Pico is finely diced onion, tomato, chile, cilantro with some salt for seasoning. It is more like what we would term a relish and is definitely NOT a sauce. In some parts of Mexico, and a lot of Central American, pico de gallo is finely diced jicama,orange and chile.

                                        Salsa, as has been noted, means "sauce" in Spanish. As such it has a much more liquid consistency, is often pourable and has a texture that ranges from silky smooth to rustically chunky but still liquidy.

                                        True pico is never, ever, pourable or liquidy, nor is it ever anything but chunky finely diced vegetables (and fruits depending upon where you are).

                                        If I want pico I mince my onions tomatoes, chiles and cilantro by hand, season and serve. If I want salsa I put it all in the food processor, pulse a couple of times, season and serve; this is usually what is called salsa cruda or salsa fresca (fresca because it isn't cooked).

                                        There are tons of nuances to Mexican cuisine, this is one of them. Americans tend to use the terms pico and salsa interchangeably, most Mexicans wouldn't.

                                        1. re: DiningDiva

                                          In Mexico, everywhere, you ask about a dish, salsa, whatever....."es pica?" means does it have a bite, meaning hot.
                                          Or when you order you can say "no pica" meaning forget the chilis for the most part.

                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                            I've never called pico de gallo a salsa (agree relish is a better term), but I noticed Roberto Santibanez calls his version in Truly Mexican "Fresh Tomato Salsa (Pico de Gallo)." He calls it a condiment known also as salsa Mexicana (not sure where it's known that way). Maybe he is just Americanizing it, or maybe Mexicans have different views as well.

                                          2. re: ChiliDude

                                            According to Ricardo Muñoz Zurita in Diccionario Enciclopedico de la Gastronomia Mexicana
                                            Pico de Gallo is a Dry Chili Mixture that is Sprinkled on Fruits and Vegetables often with a Squeeze of Lime.
                                            What some Americans call Pico de Gallo is actually called Salas Fresca or Salsa Mexicana and it is classified as a "Salsa".
                                            This has been my understanding as well

                                            1. re: chefj

                                              Sorry, after 12 years and 21 states in Mexico I have never heard of such a thing.
                                              Pica de Gallo does not use dry chili, is not made from fruit but a squeeze of lime is fine. It is tomatoes, onion and chili, chopped to 1/4 inch, cilantro chopped, squeeze of lime.
                                              Now they do sprinkle dry chili on mango, pineapple, coconut, hyacama(sp) and corn on the cob. But it is not called pica de gallo.

                                              1. re: genoO

                                                Sorry but I'll take Zurita as the authority here. With his whole life in Mexico, Formal Cooking Education and 30 years of Cooking, Teaching, Promoting and Documenting Mexican Cuisine.
                                                What you describe is Salsa Fresca or Mexicana the stuff you sprinkle on Fruit is Pico da Gallo.

                                      3. Never. Too much work. All the glutamates/flavor is in the gel part.

                                        1. Deseed.

                                          Reserve, and use for soup, esp. minestrone, or chili.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                            I like the idea of reserving the seeds if one does deseed.

                                          2. I don't deseed unless I get a particularly runny tomato. I usually use Roma tomatoes for pico. The last two times I've made it, I've used halved or quartered grape tomatoes and I didn't deseed.

                                            1. Not for me too. I love the juice that collects when I use regular tomatoes and use it for salad dressing.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Thymus

                                                mr. alka likes me to slice and salt tomatoes that will go on his sandwiches a few minutes in advance, to dry them a little. i do this in a bowl, and happily slurp the juice that is thereby extracted. i think tomatoes and salt together have some restorative alchemy that makes me happy.

                                                i'll even slurp the juice from the top of a freshly opened can of chopped or stewed tomatoes.

                                              2. It never even crossed my mind to deseed.

                                                1. I never throw away the jelly - that's the most flavorful part of the tomato.

                                                  For a few tomato dishes, I'll strain the seeds from that jelly and throw the seeds themselves away. But pico de gallo just doesn't call for that level of fussiness, if you ask me. Jelly and seeds both go in.