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How to Peel a Tomato; Peeling Tomatoes for Sauce

Updated on March 31, 2011

easy tomato peeling

With tomato season, and an abundance of tomatoes in the garden and at the market, my mind naturally wanders to thoughts of fantastic garden tomato sauce, canned or frozen for easy winter meals.

Tomato sauce made with ripe, juicy and fragrant seasonal tomatoes will win hands down over flaccid and bland truck ripened January tomatoes, and even when frozen, still offers a touch of summer's flavor in the depths of winter.

The easiest way to prepare your garden tomatoes for sauce, or even just can them pre cooked, is to do as the Italians do and purchase an inexpensive food mill at your local Italian hardware store. These excellent kitchen gadgets process the tomatoes gently, and remove all the seeds and skin, leaving only what you want for effortless sauce.

If you don’t have, or aren’t sure you want another kitchen gadget cluttering up the counter; you can always simply peel and seed your tomatoes the old fashioned way.

Peeling tomatoes, which at first glance sounds kind of hard, is simply accomplished after immersing the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes, just cause a bit of an expansion, which will cause the skin to split, and once cool, be easily removable.

To prep the tomatoes for skinning, remove the core at the top using a paring knife, and make a small ¼ inch crosscut at the opposite end of the tomato, cutting just through the skin. Continue prepping all the tomatoes while you wait for a large pot of water to reach a vigorous boil

Once boiling, drop the tomatoes into the water in batches small enough to allow the water to remain boiling, and allow to cook for about 30 seconds. When you see the skin starting to split, they're ready for removal. After you have boiled all your tomatoes, wait a few minutes…it's amazing how hot those tomatoes get after such a quick dip in the water!

Once cooled appropriately, the skin should peel off easily. After you have removed the skin, (wear an apron for this part as there can be some tomato splashing) just give each tomato a gentle squeeze, and all of the interior seeds and juice will plop out the bottom; leaving you only the rich flesh for preservation.

You can either freeze or can the skinned tomato meat at this point, process in a blender before canning, or make into ready made tomato sauce for the easiest winter solutions of all.

video of blanching and peeling a tomato


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    • John D Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      John D Lee 

      11 years ago

      It's a matter of personal preference, and not a big deal one way or the other. The seeds if pureed for sauce can impart some bitterness when cooked, and the tomato water is pretty neutral stuff, and it's not a great loss to lose it as you take out the seeds.

    • Izzy Anne profile image

      Izzy Anne 

      11 years ago

      I have never removed the pips and juice from tomatoes. Why would one?


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