How to peel a tomato for canning recipes

When I decided that I wanted to start canning, I didn’t have a person nearby to teach me the best, most efficient ways to get things done.  Sure, I read a lot of books and recipes.  I’ve watched tutorials… but nothing is ever as effective as hands on experience. 

I’m writing this post to cut back on the body of text in my other recipes.  It shortens them up a bit, and puts this step out of the way for people who have mastered the art of tomato peeling. 

I’ve used several different kinds of tomatoes for my canning recipes.  Garden tomatoes bring the best flavor to the table.  Roma tomatoes are great because they are meatier and have less juice.  But you can use any tomatoes you desire.  The better tasting the tomato, the happier you will be with your end result.

Fill up a pot with 4-5 inches of water and crank up the heat so you can get a nice boil going.  While your water is heating up, fill a large bowl about 1/2 way with ice water.  Wash your tomatoes and remove any stems. 

Once you have a nice rolling boil, gently lower 2-3 tomatoes into the boiling water with a slotted spoon.  Different tomatoes need different amounts of time to reach optimal peeling status.  Home grown tomatoes usually take just a little longer because of their thick skins.  Pay close attention to the first few tomatoes to find that golden zone between being peelable, and turning into mush, usually around 30-40 seconds. 

If you notice the skin cracking on the tomato before then, you can take them out earlier.  Not all of the tomatoes will split open, but with this method, that’s okay.  After removing the tomatoes from the boiling water, immediately put them into your cold water bath.  I like to spin them around a little to make sure they cool completely.

The best method I’ve found to skin and seed the tomatoes is as follows:
Grab a tomato from your cold water bath.  Cut it in half, laying the cut side down. 

Gently pinch at the skin and it will slide right off.  If you end up with a huge mushy mess, boil the rest of the tomatoes for less time.  If the skin is difficult to remove, you can massage it a little to loosen it up.  If it’s so difficult that you have to peel it off with a knife, then you’ll want to boil the rest of the tomatoes for a few seconds longer. 

From here, I cut the tomatoes into quarters, take a small knife, and cut/scoop out the core and seeds as directed by your recipe.   From here, refer to your recipe for your next step.  Some will call for a chopping, dicing, or to puree them.  The tomato prep process seems to be the longest step in the most tomato based recipes.  Using this method, once I establish the length of time to boil the tomatoes I’m using, I can move pretty quickly. 

Hopefully this method works for you as well!

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