One of my favorite times of year is upon us again! The tomato harvest. I’ll be spending a lot of time in my kitchen making homemade spaghetti sauce, my own salsa, and of course, canning. This year I might see about learning how to make tomato paste. I haven’t done that one before, or maybe even some pizza sauce?
No matter what, I love my tomato harvest. Last year we lost all our tomatoes to an extremely late freeze, so it’s even more exciting for me to have them back. Before I make any of these recipes though, the tomatoes must be peeled and deseeded.
Peeling and deseeding tomatoes can be a somewhat time consuming step, but it’s an important one. The seeds and peels can give your recipes an unpleasant flavor and/or texture. For me, I usually peel all of the tomatoes, then deseed most of them.
If you’ve ever wanted to know how to do it, here’s how it’s done.
How to peel tomatoes
First, hull your tomatoes. That just means take the stem and core out. I do mine with a really sharp knife. I just put it in at a 45 degree angle close to the stem then cut around at that angle making sure to go deep enough to cut the core from the inside.
Next cut a shallow x shape in the opposite side of your tomato. I call that side the bottom, though I’ve seen some other people call it the top. Whatever you call it, it’s the opposite side from the stem. The cut doesn’t have to be deep, but it does need to cut through the skin.
With all of the tomatoes prepared by being hulled and marked with an x you can put them in boiling water. The water should be boiling each time you put a batch in. Most likely the water will cool a bit depending on how many tomatoes you add to the water bath.
The water in this pot was boiling, then you can tell the temp dropped right after I added the tomatoes in because you can barely see a boil. It didn’t take long for them to get back up to temp though.
Keep an eye on the tomatoes because you’ll want to remove them when the tomatoes start to get wrinkly or when the skin cracks. This can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes.
At this point remove them immediately to an ice water bath to stop the cooking and to get the temp down to something you can handle easily.
After the tomatoes cool, take them out and just pull on the peel. In most cases it should come right off. I’ve found that if there is a deformity or something from the natural growth of the tomato, it can get in the way of the skin coming off on those spots, or if it wasn’t quite ripe enough, then the peel won’t always release as easily. But, for the majority of my tomatoes, the peel pulled right off. No knife needed.
Now that the tomatoes are peeled, it’s time to deseed them. This is pretty easy and straightforward.
Just quarter the peeled tomato.
What is your favorite recipe to make with fresh tomatoes? Share them in the comments below!