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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peeling Tomatoes

Of all the tomato products that I can and freeze there are very few that I've used unpeeled tomatoes.  Instead the tomatoes are either passed through the food strainer or hand peeled.  The pulp of tomatoes passed through the food strainer is used to make smooth tomato sauces.  The remaining skins and seeds that aren't dried end up in the compost bin.  Tomatoes that are hand peeled are used to make chunkier sauces, salsas as well as whole or stewed tomatoes.  Those being used for chunkier sauces are cored and seeded.  The tomato meat is rough chopped for the sauces.   The seed sacks are left to drain in a strainer.  The liquid is reserved for making tomato stock and the seeds prepared for seed saving.  I don't core or seed th tomatoes that are canned as whole or stewed.  The peels are dried down for tomato powder.

chilling the tomatoes
A surprising number of home canners do not like to peel tomatoes.  Aesthetically peeled tomatoes look nicer however the end product has a better texture without the peels.  One year I used a stick blender to blend the skins into a batch of roasted tomato sauce.  Looking at the sauce you couldn't tell they were there but the texture wasn't as nice as roasted tomato sauce that had been passed through the food strainer. 

Peeling tomatoes is not a difficult task.  I wash and rinse the tomatoes well then transfer them to my huge stainless steel bowl.  I clean out the sink then fill about a quart of the way full with cold water.  I use a large pot filled about half way with water.  I bring the water to a boil then place as many tomatoes as will comfortably fit and return the water to a boil.  I leave the tomatoes about 1 minute or until the skin cracks (green arrow).  I continue in this fashion until the sink is full adding more cold water as necessary.  Then I put on a pair of surgical gloves.  I hold the tomato in my left hand, cut across the stem end with a paring knife, give a little squeeze and the tomato pops out of the skin.  The top piece goes into the compost bucket, the peeled tomato goes into another large bowl and the skins go into a bowl where they later be spread out for drying.

peeled tomatoes
I let the whole tomatoes sit in the large bowl where they will release some of their liquid.  This will be used to make tomato stock.  If the tomatoes are to be cored and seeded I cut each tomato into quarters lengthwise then with a scraping motion of my thumb each quarter is quickly seeded.  I turn the quarters to line up lengthwise and cut across for a rough chop.  I then put the cut pieces into a 4 c measuring cup.  When the cup is filled I pour the cut tomatoes into a strainer over the tomato liquid bowl where they will continue to drain while I get the next 4 c portion of cut tomatoes ready.  In this manner anytime I am using peeled or peeled and cut tomatoes I end up with the desired product, tomato stock and tomato powder. 

Even though my method sounds time consuming and a bit complicated it really isn't.  I set up everything assembly line fashion so the tomatoes go from the hamper to the sink for washing then as everything else is done is succession.  From start to finish I can have a hamper to tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped in about an hour.  At the same time I usually have a sauce on the go with the first of the chopped tomatoes and by the time the tomatoes are finished being peeled it is ready for the canner.  So everything works together rather smoothly despite a high level of multi-tasking.


1 food lovers commented:

LindaG said...

Thanks for all the tips and information. :)