Tomatoes are a fast-multiplying garden vegetable and can be used in a variety of ways. When your tomatoes are ripening faster than you can use them, take an afternoon to blanch and peel them for future use. This way, when recipes call for crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, you’ll always have some on hand!
Preparing the Tomatoes for Blanching
After you convinced your children to help you pick pounds and pounds of red, ripe tomatoes from your fast-growing garden, prepare your kitchen for the blanching and peeling process. Pull out two large bowls, one for “garbage” where you can put your stems and cores (and later the seeds), and one to place your tomatoes in after they are blanched.
Pull out a large pot and fill it with water, setting it to boil on the stove. While the water is coming to a boil, you can begin washing the tomatoes and removing the stems and cores.
Removing Stems and Cores from Tomatoes
Give your tomatoes a good wash in cool water. Removing all the dirt is especially important, as there are likely contaminants and bacteria in the garden soil. Take a sharp knife and remove any stems and the stem core from the top of the tomato. If there are any spots, remove those with the knife as well.
You can make an X on the bottom of the tomatoes which may help the skins to split a bit faster.
Boiling and Removing the Peelings from the Tomatoes
Once your tomatoes are de-stemmed and the water is boiling, carefully place the tomatoes in the water. You can put in several tomatoes at once, making sure that they are mostly covered in the water.
After one minute, check the tomato skins to see if they have split, and remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Place them in a large bowl of cold or ice water to prevent further cooking. If they have not split after one minute, you can give them an additional thirty seconds and check them again. Sometimes the tomatoes will be ready to peel even if their skins have not split.
Wait a couple of minutes for the tomatoes to cool, and then remove the skins. They should slide right off! You can wear a pair of kitchen gloves to shield your hands from the sticky peelings and the heat of the tomatoes. Put the peelings in your garbage bowl and repeat the whole process until you’ve blanched all your tomatoes. You can cut them in half and squeeze out the seeds if desired.
What to do with Blanched and Peeled Tomatoes
The “fruits” of your labor are now ready to use in a number of ways! You can use them in a waiting recipe or freeze them in freezer containers or bags. See my recipe for freezer salsa for a tasty way to use your freshly peeled tomatoes! Freezer salsa, tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce are just a few of the many ways your tasty tomatoes can feed your family during the cold winter months when you’re craving fresh garden produce.