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I want to fully cook tomatoes to their Center without causing the internal gel or seeds to be leaked

I have noticed that if you try to cook a tomatoe to its Center by grilling you will burn the outside first so won’t be well done. Frying will cause it to leak/burst releasing the gel. Provided you cut the tomatoes up into slices and use the oven or microwave this seems to be the best option with dry heat methods.

My question is regarding wet heat methods(steaming/boiling) Can you get the tomato to be fully cooked or cooked well liked sliced tomatoes in the oven/microwave without releasing the gel or seeds?

I would imagine no since if you put them on as slices the steam/boiling water would cause the gel to leak out and if you steam or boil them whole by the time the Center is cooked they would already have bursted or leaked the gel.

Would I be correct or is there a way to ensure you get well done tomatoes while preventing the gel from leaking out/off from the tomatoe using wet methods? Am I write in thinking slicing then oven or microwave is the best for dry heat though in the case of microwave I notice it can leak gel easier.

Thanks

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  • Anything that brings the internal temperature to 100°C will cause steam, which in turn will cause the skin to break. Commented Jun 7 at 21:24

2 Answers 2

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You could try to simmer it for longer if you can control the water temperature, it doesn't need to get to 100ºC to fully cook it if you leave it long enough.

That said, I'd suggest (if you can) to sous vide the tomatoes at around 131°F (55°C). I just found this guide / recipe and that's what they do there. They are using cherry tomatoes in the recipe, so if you plan to use larger tomatoes you will have to test increasing the time so the center of the tomato gets to the cooking temperature.

This other link suggests 150°F (65.5°C) for tomato sauce, so you could try that temperature as well if you want a softer texture (in the recipe they blend the tomatoes first then cook the resulting sauce).

Sous vide is gentle enough, there's not much agitation and the temperatures are quite low so the tomatoes might not burst.

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I can think of preventing bursting in two ways:

  1. start the tomato in lukewarm water, not boiling. That way the inside can come up to temperature with the surrounding water.
  2. Puncture the tomato with a small paring knife, or remove a small part around the top middle where it attaches to the stem.

Note that some recipes that call for peeled tomatoes use boiling - technically blanching - to remove the skin from the inside of the tomato, so boiling it might cause the skin to easily detach from your tomato.

I do think experimenting with single tomatoes is not prohibitively expensive though, so you might as well try.

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