For the next several weeks, tomatoes will be at their peak, at least in my stomping grounds. To me that means only one thing: tomato sauce season is here again at last!
One of the important techniques in making sauce with fresh tomatoes is peeling and seeding the fruits. I’m often surprised to learn how many cooks never do this step – which, as simple as it is, is nonetheless crucial to making the perfect sauce.
No matter how many tomatoes I have to make sauce with (and I’ve been known to tackle a couple of hundred pounds at a time!), I always do the peeling and seeding by hand. Why not use a machine, you might ask? For the simple reason that doing it this way makes for a sauce with lots of body and texture. I won’t have it any other way.
So here’s a simple way to peel and seed tomatoes. The whole process takes only a few minutes yet will give you fleshy slices, and deliciously sweet, fresh tomato juice.
If your recipe doesn’t call for the juice, save it to make gazpacho or cocktails… You’ll be amazed how mouth-watering your Bloody Mary will be!
How to Peel and Seed Fresh Tomatoes
makes 6 cups peeled slices and 3/4 cup strained juice
active time: 20 min
- 3 lbs (1.4 kg) ripe tomatoes (8 medium)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, make an incision with a paring knife, in the shape of a cross, at the top of each tomato. Fill a bowl with cold water and add several ice cubes. Once the water is boiling, plunge the tomatoes in the water and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the skins start to peel back (the riper the tomato and the thinner the skins, the faster the skins will peel back). Immediately transfer the tomatoes to the iced water and let stand for a minute or two until cooled. Drain the tomatoes and remove the skins, they should come right off. Once peeled, halve the tomatoes and remove the core. Cut each half in segments and remove the seeds pushing the seeds and their juices out with your thumb. Place seeds and juices in a medium sieve and stir until all the juices have been strained. Discard seeds. You end up with 6 cups of peeled slices and 3/4 cup of their juices, all free of seeds. You are ready to make sauce, gazpacho and many other wonderful creations!
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