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prepping chopped tomatoes


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Most recipes that call for chopped tomatoes say to skin and deseed the tomatoes before chopping them. Lately I've been ignoring this. I just chop the tomatoes and then put the pieces -- including the seeds -- in a colander to drain. That's for recipes that don't call for the juice. Then I add the drained pieces to the recipe. I've found this works great and it also preserves the nutrients in the skin and seeds.

Does anyone else do this? It saves labor and is more nutritous. But am I missing something?

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Depends - I rarely skin them but find that de-seeding them for a salad is the way to go.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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I always de-seed for salads, and dips and salsas that call for chopped fresh tomatoes. Otherwise, they make everything way too watery.

I do have a few recipes that call for skinning the tomatoes that I definitely think are improved by skinning.

But for the vast majority of recipes, I don't bother.

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Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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As far as seeding, I'm with most people. If its something that I feel is going to get watered down by the excess juice from leaving the seeds/jelly in, then I seed. It's not that much of a PITA to do that. My raita, for example, uses both tomato and cucumber, and I seed both, since I feel that it gets too watery if I don't.

Skinning, on the other hand, is a TOTAL PITA. The only time I skin is for cooked applications, where I don't want the chewy little curly pieces of peel floating around in the final dish. For most dishes, I frankly don't bother. My cooking isn't sophisticated or elegant enough for those pieces of peel to ruin a dish. When I *am* looking for a very specific, smooth, refined texture, though, then I peel with the blanch/ice bath method.

--Roberta--

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Like others, I generally de-seed tomatoes but have never drained them--I don't want all the juices to go away.

I don't always bother with peeling, either, but having learned the trick of peeling tomatoes with a swivel peeler--rather than the blanch/ice method--peeling is not much of a chore. Thank you, Marcella Hazan, who describes it in the first chapter of "Marcella's Italian Kitchen." It took a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it, simple. Nice because I always found the blanch/ice method softened the tomato too much if I wanted to use it raw.


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I'm not particularly bothered by seeds, so they stay in (can't think of a time I've ever seeded them, in fact). Heston Blumenthal (I think) has also pointed out that most of the umami in a tomato is in the 'jelly' round the seeds.

As for the skin, it usually stays on too, except when I'm doing a favourite cherry tomato/melon ball/basil nibble. When using the boiling water/ice approach it's critical to keep the exposure to boiling water short - 10-15 seconds, no more - to keep the inside firm.

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I never seed & skin - except for making roasted tomato soup, using the CI recipe. But them I am roasting the canned tomatoes, so no skinning is involved, just breaking them up to get the seeds out. If I am doing something like a quick tomato sauce, I take the juice into account as part of the cooking. I like quick-cooked tomato sauces, but not so quick-cooked that the tomatoes are raw. The cooking down the juices is just the right amount of cooking time.

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I don't typically seed tomatoes, and I only peel if I'm using them in a sauce or soup and don't want little slips of peel in it. If it's just a few tomatoes, I'll peel them with a very sharp knife. If it's more than about five or six tomatoes, I'll blanch and peel.

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If it's just a few tomatoes, I'll peel them with a very sharp knife. If it's more than about five or six tomatoes, I'll blanch and peel.

When I was young, and helping my grandmother peel tomatoes for various reasons, she taught me a technique that works well for peeling just a few tomatoes, not really enough to blanch.

Take your sharp knife and turn it over, then run the back of the blade along the skin a time or two. That loosens the skin enough to just pull it off.

She also was the one that told me when I'm putting tomatoes into a salad, or other "non-cooking" use, to always be sure to drain them first. "I know people think that they're full of tomato 'juice,'" she said, "but that's not 'juice.' It's water. And it will ruin your salad."

Wise advice, in my opinion, and it's never failed me. I've often noticed others' tossed salads to be watery, the dressing seemingly diluted. Invariably, that's why.

If you don't want to drain your chopped tomatoes for a tossed salad, then use cherry tomatoes.

______________________

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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personally all your flavor in a tomato is in the seeds and pulp. in salsa the seeds are delicious, but if you want a salsa that is redder in color and not so watery then i seed. also i always skin when making salsa becuase it makes for a much nicer salsa. there is no chewy skins to deal with, as i feel it detracts from the main focus of flavor.

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I don't skin unless I want a smooth sauce or soup etc, where the floaties would bother me. And I don't plan on running them through the food mill. If you need to skin just a couple, a swivel peeler with teeth instead of just a blade works best. OXO makes one, as well as others. I can't remember if it's called a fruit peeler or tomato peeler or what, but it's the same contraption as any peeler, just that there are lots of sharp little teeth where others just have a blade. Works very well unless the tomato is too soft.

I never seed them or take the juices out, if what ever I make gets to watery I pour it off and enjoy it as a chef's treat :-)

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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Thanks everyone for the great replies. I feel better now about leaving the skin and seeds in chopped tomatoes.

Just yesterday I made a chopped salad. I chopped whole tomatoes and drained the pieces in a colander. Then into the salad all the pieces went, skin and seeds included. It was terrific and it wasn't watery at all. Jayme's grandmother was correct when she said (above) that most of the liquid in tomatoes is water. But the skin, seeds, and "jelly" contain a lot of flavor.

And I have to add, although it is off-topic, that I used my Nemco chopper to chop the tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. It is a terrific labor-saving tool. It's pricy, but worth every cent.

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