Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Umami of Tomatoes
As most of you know, umami or the savory taste, has only recently been accepted as a basic taste by the scientific community that concerns itself with matters of human neurology. Umami is generally considered to be caused by glutamic acid and it's salts e.g., monosodium glutamate or MSG (And YOU thought MSG stood for Madison Square Garden. C'mon admit it!:-)
Now that tomatoes are starting to come into season in the Northern Hemisphere, I thought it worth mentioning that they contain quite a bit of glutamic acid, especially in the "jelly" that surrounds and suspends the seeds.
So don't waste those tomato guts. I don't want to stir up any trouble but years ago, I heard Julia Child advise throwing out the pulp because it was tasteless. I suspect that she made the remark under pressure and said the opposite of what she meant to say because I can find no such advice in any of her books that I own. However, I am slightly chagrined to admit that at the time I believed her and began to toss out the pulp whenever I made tomato concasse or dice.
I suppose it is never a good idea to suspend disbelief because someone with authority tells you that what you thought was true or false is otherwise.
Source of histogram Umami Information Center