Saturday, August 27, 2011

How to Peel A Tomato

Did you think I was kidding?!
photo credit:

Maybe some other's will get something out of this...humor, maybe :)   But I'm posting this mostly to remind myself of this process so I don't have to re-learn it AGAIN next year!

So.  Start with a billion pounds of tomatoes.

Start a pot of boiling water on your stove.

Cover your counters with some towels.

Lay a tarp on the floor....

Fill an ice cream bucket half full with ice water.

Get out a cutting board, slotted spoon and a couple of knives (paring and longer blade one)

Put out a bowl for scraps or clear your sink if it has a disposal in it.

Have another pot out to fill with finished tomatoes.

Ok.  I should add that I am very messy in the kitchen.

I blame McDonalds.

It was my first job and the place I learned to cook, wash and prepare food quickly.

Have you ever looked in the back at McDonalds?

Washing dishes there was a chore - but they had a stainless steel sink with lots of room, and a dangling hose-sprayer...and a floor drain.  

I need one of those in my kitchen!

And forget those pretty wooden cabinets.  I need those metal Ikea cabinets that have an indestructible finish on them that don't mind a few missed water dribbles. 

Do you think there is a floor drain back there?
 Ok, now that no one is left reading, start peeling tomatoes!

Wash in cold water, removing stems

Par off any cracks or bruises.  Blossom end rot is ok to use, just cut it off.  You shouldn't can blemished tomatoes, though.

I'm scared of canning.  I hate to say it.  I just am afraid I'm going to end up killing someone!

I've thought of getting a pressure-canner, but I'm scared of pressure-cookers too, so that would be sorta a nightmare, I think :)

I'll stick with making messes in my kitchen, and freezing stuff and praying my freezer dosen't go out.

So now that all the tomatoes are ready for peeling, let the show begin!
(if there isn't much paring to do on the tomatoes, you may be able to pierce the tomatoes while others are boiling.)

Start by making a little "X" on the top and bottoms of the tomatoes.  Make sure they are about 1/2 inch big, and bigger than the tough stem part.  I put some slashes on the top of my tomatoes that I cut the tops off, because it gives the skin a place to break.

Drop 3 or 4 tomatoes in the boiling water at a time.

Watch with your slotted spoon at the ready for the first skin to start to wrinkle or peel.  It should take just a few seconds.  Firmer tomatoes take longer, but none should take longer than 20 seconds.  If they are too slimy when peeling, make sure the water is at a nice, hard boil and that the ice water is super cold, to stop the cooking right away.

As soon as you see the skin peeling, scoop it out and put it in the ice water bucket.  Repeat till all the tomatoes are out of the boiling pot.


Too long and will be a bit slimy.

I prefer to just keep doing this process until my bucket of ice water is full.  If you have a helper, they could do this next part.

Now, take a tomato out of the ice water, and start peeling away!  Usually, there is a long, vertical crack in the skin and it works perfectly to simply unwrap the tomato.  Sometimes, you can even give the tomato a gentle squeeze and it'll slide right out of the skin.

Then I take my longer blade knife and slice the tomato into chunks or sections and put them in the other pot, ready for stewing or food-processing or whatever!

Keep doing process, adding water to the boiling pot and ice to the ice water bucket as needed, pouring off water (NOT on floor!!  But if you are prone to spills like I am, have your hubby grab the mop and a bath towel - *cough*).  

These tomatoes eventually turned into Marinara sauce.  I first stewed them, with some salt, pepper and a bit of a sweet pepper diced up in it, for a few hours (but you should stop at 30 minutes if you are freezing them that way).  Then I followed this recipe for Marinara sauce.  Yum!


A quick post to share what I did with leftovers the other day...

I originally got the idea to slice a hotdog this way from Family Fun magazine - I didn't think of it on my own! 
You could totally use Ramen noodle soup instead of broth.

In chicken broth, I boiled one cup of mixed veggies, 1/4 cup of small shell noodles and then sliced three hotdogs BEFORE cooking in the broth.

When everything was done cooking, I took a slotted spoon and scooped the noodles and veggies onto a plate.  I tore up some string cheese and laid that on as well.  If my kids liked Parmesian cheese, I would have used that instead (for sand)...but they don't.  Then,  I stuck the (tricky!)peppercorn eyes on the little hotdog guys but went sans ketchup smile, because, well, they were hot!  They'd look pretty un-appetizing with dribbley ketchup smiles running down their faces.  Then I added Basil flowers for seaweed, since I had just brought in some basil from the garden.

Whaddy'a think?
Kids didn't like them.   Flop.

Maybe I'll try again with different flavors, even mac and cheese leftovers.  Oh well - at least I blogged about it :)

Coming soon - How To Peel a Tomato!   - I bet you are on the edge of your seats!