Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is -- Tomato Pulp Fiction?

The Category: Violent Vegetable Films for $800
The Answer: Name of Tarantino's sauciest movie.

MrMartha has had a summer of voluptuous ripeness,
blushing orbs peeking out from their lacy corsets,
low hangers waiting to be firmly grasped .....
STOP THAT TRAIN OF THOUGHT !! -- MrMartha is talking about Tomatoes!

Upcoming tomato posts in the next few days:
Home Canning Tomatoes, step by step.
Green Tomato Salsa -- and you.
An unconventional Jalapeno and Tomato Jelly.
--- Keep Checking Back.

MrMartha got a call from his uncle the other day, asking about Tomato pulp....a viewer had enquired about it, regarding Uncle's youtube video on homemade tomato sauce (also featuring MrMartha's lovely and talented Aunt).
Turns out, there is a lot of superstition and myth surrounding the interior of any given tomato.

The specific Question: Why peel and seed tomatoes when cooking?

The Myths -- seeds are bad to ingest, the interior gel around the seeds can make you ill when cooked, the seeds are exceptionally bitter, and the ever popular -- any Italian cook would rather die than serve a seedy sauce.

The Bottom Line -- you never HAVE to peel or seed tomatoes to cook with them, you can use them exactly as they are after removing the tough core.

The Reasons FOR peeling and seeding:

They make a much smoother and richer sauce if the seeds (or most of the seeds) and watery pulp are removed.

The skins will contract during cooking and become rather tough threads and shreds, so it is really advisable to take a couple moments and peel the tomatoes after a quick dip in boiling water.
Then, cut them in half and use your thumb to release the seed and gel sacs inside. If the tomatoes are very ripe, just give each half a quick squeeze over the sink to get the job done.

Less liquid -- by pulling out the seeds and the more liquid part of the interior, you are putting more concentrated tomato flavor into your recipe, and will not need to cook it as long if the extra watery liquid has been removed.

All of the myths can have some level of truth in them, but a lot depends on the specific variety of tomato.

When you NEVER want to peel and seed tomatoes is when you are making a very quick and simple, fresh tomato sauce....in which case you would chop the whole cored tomato, and cook it till it barely warms through and softens, while releasing just a part of its juices....its the ultimate in simple tomato essence, but really needs a light touch and exceptionally good ripe tomatoes.

View Uncle's video:

Dont forget to click 'Read More' to see The Tomato Gallery.

A group of Midsummer tomatoes, fully vine ripened, with one beautiful fruit topping out at a pound on the scale!

A jumbo tomato on the vine....MrMartha has big hands -- though it's hard to tell in this shot!

The row of potted tomato plants on MrMartha's deck...languishing in almost 14 hours of daily sun during July.

One days harvest in early August, enough for a week of salads, and canning up four quarts of goodness!

Rocky the dog, guarding the crop against a couple of clever gourmet crows, and a single pesky squirrel who had a thing for green cherry tomatoes!