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How to peel tomatoes

Antony Worrall Thompson explains the most effective way to peel a tomato.

"Why would you peel a tomato?" you ask. The answer is that peeled tomatoes are best for slow cooking dishes like stews or casseroles.

In dishes such as these, the skin doesn't break down during cooking, leaving you with little rolls of skin should you not peel your tomato. 

While it can be a fiddly job, here are some basic tips for peeling tomatoes:

A guide to blanching

Using a peeler is not the easiest method and only works when the tomato is very ripe. A much better method is to blanch them in hot water. Here's how to do it:

  • If your tomato has a green leafy bit on top, remove it. Make an X-shaped cut in each end, and plunge them into boiling water. When you see the skin just starting to peel away lift them out with a slotted spoon and put into iced water. This can take anywhere from 10 to 25 seconds.
  • When you take them out of the chilled water and the skin should easily peel away.
  • Don't leave them in the boiling water too long or they will overcook. As well as the skin a layer of flesh will come off too.

The knife method

In this method you don't put them in boiling water. Just slice the tomato into quarters and remove the seeds by slicing away the inner membranes. Lay the piece of tomato skin-down on a cutting board and then you push the ends of the tomato down on the board and slice the skin off feeling the side of the knife pushing down on the board.

 
 

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