Kitchen Tips: How to skin a tomato

By | October 30, 2011

I once spent 30 minutes skinning four measly tomatoes. With a vegetable peeler.

It was certainly slow going, but I told myself it was worth it for the Mexican pasta we’d be having that night. I also told myself that it would be a really, really long time before I attempted it again.

The thing is that it isn’t just Mexican pasta that calls for skinned tomatoes. They also come up in recipes for tomato sauce, salsa, ketchup, and tomato dip, as well as lentil vegetable medley, kasha chili, minestrone soup, and spicy rice & bean casserole. Lots more, too.

(Yes, you can buy cans of skinned/stewed tomatoes and use them in all of the above dishes. But skinning them yourself is more frugal, not to mention a lot fresher.)

Anyway, the point is that I finally learned the trick to skinning tomatoes, and now that I possess this great wisdom, I want to share it. I know it’s possible that all of you already know about this. In that case, please excuse the repetition.

But if I can help even one person avoid a 30-minute tomato-skinning session, this post was worth it.

What’s your favorite cooking tip?


How to skin a tomato in 60 seconds
(Assume 4 freshly skinned tomatoes = 1 can skinned/stewed tomatoes)

1. Place tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water. (If you have an electric water heater, it will take no time at all to get that pot boiling.)

2. Submerge tomatoes in the water for 45 seconds. (I use a small mesh strainer with a handle to keep them down.)

3. Transfer tomatoes to a prepared bowl of cold water and rub the skins right off. If they are already peeling from the heat/cold, this will be very easy. If the skins are still intact, just dig your fingernail in a bit and pull. Should still be easy to remove.

4. Discard skins, chop tomatoes, and continue your recipe.


Yona on November 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm.

Tali Shalom!
I just came across your blog today, referrenced in the Kosher Cooking Carnival, and am really enjoying catching up on past posts. I, too, am a vegetarian, in a mostly carnivorous family, so I appreciate viewing your recipes. It’s also nice to hear recent aliya stories (my aliya was 36 years ago).
About skinning tomatoes by submerging in boiling water, you are right that not everyone knows how, and that it saves tons of time and effort. We also cut a small x or + in the bottom of the tomato before its boiling bath, and that makes it even easier to slip off the skins.
May you always enjoy your kitchen time as much as you do now, and keep inspiring others!


Tali Simon on November 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm.

Hi Yona, welcome!

That’s a great suggestion. Another example of how very little effort really pays off.


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