Monday, May 2, 2011

How to Peel Tomatoes

An Oregon Cottage teaches me how to peel tomatoes

How to Peel Tomatoes: "Or, I should clarify: how I peel tomatoes. When I'm facing mounds of tomatoes from the garden that all need to be processed into salsa, sauce or canned, I cannot be bothered with making an 'X' in the bottom of each tomato!

I mean, it already takes long enough. Yet every magazine, book or newspaper I read that has a story on canning says to make an 'x' in the bottom of the tomatoes before dunking them in boiling water in order to peel them.

If you've been reading here for awhile you've probably realized that I try to find the easiest way (read: lazy?) to do things. So years ago when I was faced with my first piles of tomatoes from my garden I decided to see what would happen if I didn't cut the 'x' in the bottoms first.

Now I just chuckle when I see a new article instructing you to cut the bottoms because I know you don't need to.

Well, if you're not a perfectionist (and, um, if you are, this might not be the place for you...). There might be some difference between my method and the traditional way, but I honestly can't tell what it is. And I'm usually just chopping them up anyway.

So, I begin with the amount of tomatoes I need for the recipe. I usually weigh them and have them ready to go while the water is coming to a boil.

I put them in the wire basket and dunk them in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. I usually will start to see some of the skins start to crack and curl.

I immediately dump them into a large bowl I have set in the sink. Then I repeat as necessary until all the tomatoes are dunked and in the bowl.

On the other side of the sink, I have a cutting board that I set the tomatoes on to be cut. Most of the peels have cracked and will come right off when I pull them. Then I just core and cut as needed.

If there are some that the peels have not cracked, I just core them first.

And then pull the peel off. Super easy.

Then I proceed with the recipe, which usually involves chopping the tomatoes and cooking them.

Oh, and the over-the-sink cutting board I mentioned? I only use it when I'm preserving, but I find it really useful then. I think it originally came with a little basket covering the hole (to catch vegetable waste?), but I've long since disposed of that.

What I like is that it sits over the sink and I can have a bowl sitting under the hole. All the peels, ends and seeds are contained in the bowl and when it's full I can easily pick it up and put it in the compost. There's also no worry about all the juices from fruits and vegetables getting all over the counter.

This is a handy thing, and I'd suggest you pick one up if you can because it's one of those little things that make life easier.

Stay tuned for recipes to use up all these tomatoes we now know how to peel- the easy way!

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