Canning tomatoes can be very rewarding, but it can also be very tedious and time-consuming. The hardest part, in my opinion, is peeling all those tomatoes. Do you have any idea how many tomatoes are in fifteen pounds of tomatoes? It’s a lot. Enough to make your fingers pruney.
An Easier & Faster Way to Peel Tomatoes
I’ve got a way to get through the peeling phase so much faster. This method is great for those of us in colder climates who only get a few tomatoes at a time. I usually collect a handful of them each day. If I left them out until I had enough to process, they’d rot. That brings me to the first step of quick and easy peeling.
Pop them in the freezer.
I don’t wash my tomatoes before I freeze them. I just stick them in a storage bag. Sometimes I remove the stems, but it really depends on how busy I am. Often they go in in the same condition they came off the vine.
Tomatoes can last in the freezer for months. This works well if harvest season is super busy for you. You can come back and do your tomato preservation when things have settled down. Other produce is not as forgiving.
Pop them into warm water.
Leave your tomatoes in the freezer until the absolute last minute. Since mine are kept with only 5-10 tomatoes per bag, I only remove and peel one bag at a time. Prepare warm water in either the sink or a large mixing bowl. Plop your frozen tomatoes in and give it a swish. You want all sides of the tomato to have contact with the water. Be sure to work quickly because the longer the tomatoes sit, the harder it is for this trick.
Squeeze the stem end.
Find the end of the tomato that had the stem. Gently squeeze the tomato on this end with a pulling motion and the tomato will pop out, leaving the skin in your fingers. If a little skin remains on the opposite end, just pinch it to remove and it will come right off.
This method works best with Romas since they fit nicely in the hands, but it will work on all types of tomatoes. With large tomatoes, like Beefsteaks, you may have to squeeze/pinch the sides, but the freeze method will still make it infinitely easier.
See it in action:
Ideas for Your Peeled Tomatoes
So you’ve got them all peeled and ready to go. Here is a handful of recipes for you to try.
Classic Tomato Sauce – Homestead Style from The Frugal Chicken
Marinara Sauce from The Organic Canner
Seasoned Tomatoes: Italian, Mexican, and Cajun Blends from Garden Talk & Tips
Homemade Ketchup from The Organic Canner
Stewed Tomatoes from Livin’ Lovin’ Farmin’
Canned Barbecue Sauce from The Organic Canner
And don’t go chucking the peels in the garbage. Either compost them, give them to your chickens, or check out my friend Angi’s site to find out how to get the most from your tomato harvest (including the peels).