Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Peel Tomatoes (for sauces and stews and ketchup and things like that)


OK, one does not normally need to peel a tomato. The peels are soft and harmless and removing them often seems kind of finicky, like peeling a grape. (Who peels grapes? I mean, honestly.) But when making a tomato sauce for people one wants to impress or for finicky people who for some reason are super opposed to the tomato peel, like my husband Nick, one might on occasion want to get rid of it.

So here's how to peel tomatoes:

Start with tomatoes. I usually use six to eight for a sauce, but if you want to peel tomatoes for something, start by having as many tomatoes as you're going to want to peel. You're also going to want a pot of boiling water, and a bowl of cold water with ice in it. Also a spoon is helpful, because otherwise you're going to have to stick your fingers in boiling water. (Don't do that, just get a spoon.)

OK, so you've got tomatoes, boiling water, bowl of iced water, and a spoon. Now we can get started.

Flip a tomato over and at the end opposite the stem, score the peel by cutting a tiny X.


Then put your tomato in a pot of boiling water. Keep an eye on it, because we don't actually want to cook the tomato. You want to take it out when you see the ends start to stand up and split away from the tomato. I've never seen it take longer than 30 seconds. If it's been 30 seconds and you haven't seen it split, take it out anyway.


Directly from the boiling water, put the tomato into the bowl of ice water to stop it from cooking.


Then just grab the points of the peel at the end and pull them right off. They should come off as easily as a banana peel.



Net said...

Have you ever tried freezing to peel? I really want to try it! I rarely peel tomatoes for sauce, but it intrigued me enough to want to try it.

Elizabeth Licata said...

I haven't tried it yet! But I have a pack of rock-solid frozen tomatoes thawing on my counter so I can see how this works. I'll let you know how it works out if they ever thaw out again.