5 Times You Should Remove Tomato Pulp

(Image credit: Jeff Roffman)

The lie that tomato seeds are bitter has met its timely end. We now know that the seed pulp is actually quite flavorful and we should not discard it to the waste pile. When a recipe calls for removing tomato pulp, it’s usually for a textural reason — say, a super-smooth sauce or for juicing the tomato pulp.

5 Times You Should Remove Tomato Pulp

1. When you want to stuff tomatoes.

The seeds and pulp are captured in cavities around the stem of the fruit, and those same cavities are just calling to be stuffed with flavorful fillings. Anytime you’re going to stuff tomatoes, you’ll have to remove the pulp, but here’s a tip: Save that tomato pulp.

2. When you want just pulp.

Tomato pulp is reported to have four times the flavor compounds than the flesh itself. When I’m removing the seeds — say, for stuffing or drying — I save the seeds and pulp in a small bowl. Strain the seedy pulp into a glass and enjoy incredibly flavorful tomato juice (or turn it into a Bloody Mary).

3. When you want ultra-smooth soups.

Try as we might, no amount of blending, processing, or puréeing can eliminate tomato seeds from blended tomato purées. Trying to strain the seeds out of already-puréed tomatoes will result in water soup (trust me, I’ve tried it), so it is best to remove the seeds before processing for super-smooth soups and sauces.

4. When you want to oven-dry tomatoes.

Oven-dried tomatoes dry faster if the tomato pulp is removed. With a long, slow oven-dry, the tomato flavor will concentrate naturally and it won’t miss the flavorful pulp. Again, save that pulp for another use!

5. When you’re baking tomatoes.

When turning tomatoes into a cobbler or pot pie, removing the tomato pulp controls the baked dish’s moisture content. Removing the pulp from the tomatoes for our tomato-peach pot pie keeps the filling from being soupy and ensures a crisp crust.

When do you prefer to ditch the tomato pulp?