Whether you are preparing tomatoes for a soup, canning salsa, or freezing for later, most recipes require that you peel and seed the tomatoes first. See how to peel tomatoes quickly and easily with this step-by-step guide.
Why peel and seed tomatoes? Many recipes that use fresh tomatoes call for peeling and seeding. The seeds and skins can add unwanted texture and bitterness to the dish. The gel that surrounds the seeds is extra liquid that may need to be reduced, requiring longer cooking times.
If you are preparing tomatoes for canning, you need to remove the peels and seeds. There are no tested canning recipes that include the skins.
Using a food strainer is handy when you are dealing with a large amount of tomatoes. If you are canning a batch of tomato sauce, you can cook the tomatoes briefly and then run them though a vegetable strainer or food mill to separate the skins and seeds from the tomato pulp.
But what if you don’t have a strainer or don’t want to pull it out for a just a few tomatoes? Maybe you want to keep the tomatoes whole or a bit chunky instead of juicing them to a pulp. That’s where knowing how to blanch, peel, and seed tomatoes comes in handy.
Steps to Peeling and Seeding Tomatoes
The easiest way to remove the skins of a tomato is by blanching briefly in boiling water and then immediately cooling it in ice water. Here are the steps to peeling and seeding tomatoes using the blanching method:
Step 1: Gather the kitchen equipment
Simple kitchen tools are all you need:
- Large saucepan
- Large bowls
- Knife and cutting board
- Slotted spoon
Step 2: Prepare the tomatoes
Wash the tomatoes well under running water. Remove the stems and cut a shallow “X” in the bottom of each fruit.
Step 3: Blanch the tomatoes
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. While the water is heating, fill a large bowl with ice water.
Once the water is boiling, plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water until the skins crack and loosen, about 30-60 seconds. Do this in small batches so you don’t crowd the pot. You want the water to return to a boil quickly.
Step 4: Shock the tomatoes
When you see the skins loosen and crack, remove the tomatoes from the boiling water with a slotted spoon, and plunge them in the bowl of ice water. This process is called “shocking” and it quickly cools the tomatoes and stops the cooking process. Repeat for all the tomatoes.
Step 5: Peel the tomatoes
Remove the skins once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle. The peels should slip right off. Use a small pairing knife to remove stubborn spots.
Step 6: Remove the seeds
To remove the seeds, cut the tomato in half across the equator. Hold each half over a bowl, and squeeze and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
That’s it! The freshly peeled and seeded tomatoes are ready to use immediately in cooked recipes, frozen for later, or preserved in your favorite canning recipes.
How to Peel Tomatoes
- Fresh tomatoes
- Wash the tomatoes well under running water.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.
- As the water is heating, fill a large bowl with ice water.
- Once the water comes to a boil, dip your tomatoes into the boiling water until the skins crack and loosen, about 30-60 seconds.
- Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and place in the bowl of ice water to cool. Repeat for all the tomatoes.
- Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove the peels.
- To remove the seeds, cut the tomato in half across the equator. Hold each half over a bowl, and squeeze and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
- Remove the cores, purée, crush, quarter, slice, or chop your tomatoes according to your recipe.
You May Also Like:
- Tomato Salsa Canning Recipe
- Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Home Canning
- How to Freeze Tomatoes (coming soon)
- More Ways to Preserve the Harvest
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