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Many recipes ask for peeled and seeded tomatoes, which I find both wasteful and too hard work.

What is the point of removing seeds and skin of tomatoes? Just texture and presentation? Or can it actually change the food's taste?

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    Like removing seeds from fruit for jam, it's largely for textural reasons. Unless you have a really fresh tomato sauce that still has large tomato pieces, I find the skin a bit annoying, which is why I tend to prefer using peeled tomatoes for longer-cooking sauces I don't usually worry too much about the seeds, to be honest.
    – Catija
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:08
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    Tomato skins on pizza would be like leaving husks on the wheat. Tomato seeds add bitterness to the sauce. Feb 2, 2015 at 17:47
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    Please post answers as answers, and use comments just for clarifying the question.
    – Cascabel
    Feb 2, 2015 at 18:27

6 Answers 6

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Texture is the main reason, but if you're going to be blending the sauce, there can be off-flavors from cracking open the seeds. Even if you don't blend it, they can be these slippery little things that I never much liked growing up.

To reduce the amount of waste, you can :

  • cook the sauce, then put it through a food mill to strip out the seeds and skins, thus keeping you from wasting the gel around the seeds.

  • freeze the peeled skins, to save for when you're next going to be making vegetable stock.

  • collect the seeds and gel, then put it into a muslin bag and hang to let drip to extract 'tomato water'. (you typically use crushed tomatoes for this ... I don't know for sure if the gel will go through the muslin). Tomato water is strange as it gives good tomato flavor, without the red color.

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    When I was a kid, we always used a fine French sieve to remove the skin and seeds if we were being fancy with our sauce... guess whose job it was to push the wood dowel around... and that will probably explain why I don't like seeding sauce any more. :P
    – Catija
    Feb 2, 2015 at 17:12
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    I see, so if I don't blend or bother with the slippery things (the gel between the seeds?) - which I don't - I can just use my tomatoes whole, seeds and all? Feb 4, 2015 at 8:48
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    @CleberGoncalves : correct. If someone you're serving to complains, tell them it's 'rustic'.
    – Joe
    Feb 4, 2015 at 10:16
  • I read there are health studies have found they are not good for gut bacteria, for some people more than others.
    – tgkprog
    Jun 15 at 18:27
  • @tgkprog : I don’t know about bacteria, but people with diverticulitis definitely need to avoid nuts, seeds, and such.
    – Joe
    Jun 16 at 0:46
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It depends on the tomatoes. Sometimes the skin and seeds are SO bitter. I recently made a sauce and it was inedible because of the bitterness, so i made a new one with tomatoes from the same batch and removed the skin and seeds and it tasted delicious. Often winter tomatoes are the ones to watch out for. Summer ones tend to be much sweeter and can be used whole.

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    A bit of salt and sugar can help to mask the bitterness. I typically use a fair bit of carrots in my sauce, so I don't usually need to add sugar directly.
    – Joe
    Mar 3, 2017 at 14:15
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No need to peel tomatoes to make delicious sauce! Peeling is total nonsense and work that is unnecessary! Just make your sauce according to the recipe you like, and after cooking, use a hand held mixer to grind the mix in the pot until desired smoothness is achieved! No skins will be evident!

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  • This was flagged, but I think I'll leave it as an answer, because it does clarify that the skins, if handled right, don't seem to mess up flavor or texture.
    – Cascabel
    Aug 9, 2016 at 0:04
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Aside from the answers already provided, there are many people who have problems digesting tomato seeds and skins, people with an ileostomy bag for example would probably want to avoid the seeds if possible.

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  • I doubt that is the reason that recipes ask to remove seeds and skin. Your remark should've been a comment.
    – user34961
    Jul 25, 2017 at 9:11
  • Probably not "the" reason, just offering an alternative. Jul 25, 2017 at 9:12
  • @DanDonoghue Welcome to Seasoned Advice. As you pointed out this is probable not the answer to the question "why?" this should not have been offered as 'an answer'. It is an interesting tid-bit of information that would be a fine comment.
    – Cos Callis
    Jul 25, 2017 at 15:50
  • I would have thought so too but the third comment on the question (from jefromi) lead me to believe otherwise Jul 25, 2017 at 15:53
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    So: answers as answers, related information that doesn't answer the question (e.g. links to other questions) as comments. This one is a bit debatable, since it is indeed a reason that it could be helpful to remove skin/seeds, but it's not likely a reason most people are aware of when they suggest removing skin/seeds. It depends how you view the question, but I'm inclined to go with the generous interpretation, and say this is a supplemental answer.
    – Cascabel
    Jul 25, 2017 at 18:30
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Presentation and texture...Imagine a reduced tomato sauce with all the seeds of all the tomatoes you started with swimming around in there. It'd be some very strange spaghetti sauce. Additionally the goop around the seeds is mostly water and no flavor.

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    Actually, the flavor depends on the variety of tomato. Some have good flavor.
    – Joe
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:23
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    The "goop" actually provides most of the umami taste. Try it for yourself: bite into a large segment of the outer flesh and compare that to a mouthful of the watery seed part. When I try the seeds are at least as flavorful as the outer parts. Feb 2, 2015 at 16:44
  • @ChrisSteinbach - I was not aware of that (not that I've ever been motivated to actively remove that "goop"). Thanks for the info. Mar 28, 2017 at 16:40
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If you don't want the liquid or seeds, squeeze it out. What remains is the skin and pulp. If you don't want the skin this can easily be removed by blanching the whole tomato and removing the skin first.

Tomato and peppers are in the nightshade family. When I roast red peppers I do the same thing, remove the skin and seeds. I feel this intensifies the flavors and improves the textures.

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  • This does not answer the question why recipes ask to remove seeds and skin.
    – user34961
    Jul 25, 2017 at 9:12

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