How to Peel Tomatoes

By Charlotte King

Many recipes such as soups, homemade sauces, and canning tomato juice call for peeled tomatoes because the skin can ruin an otherwise smooth and silky texture, that’s why it is very important to know how to peel tomatoes.

Removing said skin requires a bit of effort, but trust us when we say that the results are well worth it. To peel tomatoes, you have to wash the fruits, score the bottom, and shock them. You can also use your microwave to zap them in short intervals.

If you want to learn how to peel tomatoes quickly and easily, keep reading this step-by-step guide!

How to Peel Tomatoes for Canning

How to Peel Tomatoes

As you can probably guess by now, we absolutely love canning. From pumpkins to mushrooms and even salmon, the possibilities are practically endless. But do you know what all the recipes have in common? That the key to ensuring optimal flavor after canning lies in the correct preparation of the food.

When it comes to preparing tomatoes for canning, there’s no way around it, you have to peel them. This might sound like a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be if you use the right technique!

Let’s gather some supplies before we start. This is what you’re going to need to peel your tomatoes:

  • Cutting board
  • Paring knife
  • Slotted spoon
  • Large bowl of ice water
  • Large pot with water on the stove

How to Peel Tomatoes with Boiling Water

The easiest method to peel tomatoes is by blanching them briefly in boiling water and then immediately cooling them in ice water. These are the steps you should follow:

  1. Remove any stickers and wash the tomatoes thoroughly under cool running water.
  2. Use a paring knife to remove the stems and cut a shallow “X” on the bottom of each fruit.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and fill a large for with ice water.
  4. Once the water is boiling, carefully drop the tomatoes into the boiling water one by one. Do it in small batches to avoid overcrowding the pot.
  5. Boil the tomatoes for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the skins start to crack and loosen. The riper the tomato and the thinner the skins, the faster they’ll peel back. The tomatoes you find at supermarkets are usually grown in greenhouses, which tends to make them thin-skinned. Tomatoes grown outdoors and ripened under the sun, on the other hand, typically have thicker skins that require a few extra seconds of boiling.
  6. Shock the tomatoes by removing them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately transferring them to the bowl of ice water. This technique quickly cools the tomatoes and stops the cooking process.
  7. Let them sit for a couple of minutes until cool.

The peels should slide right off, so you can simply use your hands to remove them. For stubborn spots, a small pairing knife should do the trick. Now your tomatoes are ready to be canned!

How to Peel Tomatoes in the Microwave

If you want to avoid burnt fingertips and using a knife, you can use your microwave. This technique is the best option when you just need to peel a few tomatoes rather than a whole batch.

Here are the steps to peel tomatoes in the microwave:

  1. Prepare the fruits by washing them thoroughly.
  2. Use the tip of a paring knife to score the base of the tomatoes by cutting an “X”.
  3. Make some small incisions around the stalk as well to allow the vapor to escape while microwaving.
  4. Place the fruits on a microwaveable dish and cook them on full power for 30 seconds
  5. Let them rest before touching the skin because it will be very hot. Depending on the size of the tomatoes and the power rating of your microwave, you might need to cook them again for another 30 seconds. It’s always better to zap the fruits in short intervals, rather than blasting them outright and overcooking them.
  6. Once the skin looks wrinkled and cracker, you can let it cool before removing it with a fork.

As you can see, by using your microwave, you can get peeled tomatoes in a matter of minutes. One downside this technique has is that microwaving often heat unevenly, which might lead to some parts of the tomato getting overcooked. To avoid this as much as possible, try to microwave just a few fruits at a time (no more than 3) and do it in short intervals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Peel Tomatoes

Why do I have to peel my tomatoes?

In most cases, it’s merely a matter of preference. The tomato skin has a very different texture from the flesh, and it won’t blend into the mixture when you’re making sauces and purées. This means you’ll get small chunks of skin in what should be a uniformly smooth texture. Moreover, the skin of the tomato adds a bitter flavor to the mixture.

When it comes to canning, peeling the tomatoes is a requirement because of two reasons. The first one being that the skin is where most of the bacteria are, and the second, that those tomatoes are most likely end up being a sauce, so why not save yourself the hassle by peeling them before canning?

How do I remove the seeds from the tomato?

Removing the seeds from the tomato is another important step in preparing the fruit to be canned. You can do it easily by cutting the tomato in half and scooping out the seeds with a spoon. Alternatively, you can cut the fruit into quarters and push the seeds out with your thumb.

Why does boiling/heating tomatoes make them easier to peel?

The cooking process breaks down the cell walls in the tomato flesh and dissolves them. By shocking the fruit (i.e.quickly boiling and chilling it), you avoid cooking the tomato through and only dissolve a layer just beneath the skin. This process releases the skin and allows you to remove it easily.

Is there anything I can use the tomato peels for?

There actually is! We always like to use as much fruit or vegetable as possible, and we’ve found a way to use the tomato peels and avoid wasting them. You can lay out the peels on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and dry them in the oven. When they’re ready, pulverize them, and you’ll have a tomato sprinkle you can incorporate into your favorite recipes.


How to Peel Tomatoes

Peeling tomatoes might seem like a hassle at first, but it actually requires very little effort on your part, and you can have them ready in just a few minutes.

Skinned tomatoes can be canned for long-term storage or blended into sauces and soups with a deliciously smooth texture and sweet flavor.

Once you get the hang of it, you can apply the same method for peeling peaches!

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