How to Peel, Seed and Store Tomatoes

By: EatingWell Test Kitchen

Use this simple, easy-to-follow technique to prep your tomatoes for freezing—or use them in chili, stews or homemade tomato sauce.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Pictured Recipe: Fresh Tomato Sauce

Peeling tomatoes eliminates the tough skin, which can contribute an unappealing texture in some dishes. Seeding them also makes for a smoother texture, and eliminates any bitter taste that can linger in the seeds. If you are a gardener and have an excess of ripe, fresh tomatoes—or if you are an avid patron of a local farmers’ market and you have purchased someone else’s excess—peeling and seeding them is the first step in freezing them. They can be kept in the freezer in sealable bags or airtight containers for up to six months. Or, use them immediately in chili, stews and any recipe that calls for fresh or canned diced tomatoes, such as salsa or fresh tomato sauce.

Related: Tasty Tomato Recipes

Step 1: Core & Score

hands scoring tomatoes

Before you start, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place a large bowl of ice water next to the stove. Using a sharp paring knife, core the tomatoes and score a small “X” into the flesh on the bottom.

Step 2: Blanch

blanching tomatoes in boiling water

Place the tomatoes in the boiling water, in batches, until the skins are slightly loosened, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Step 3: Chill

tomatoes in a bowl of ice water

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice water and let sit in the water for 1 minute before removing.

Step 4: Peel

peeling tomatoes

Place a sieve over a bowl; working over it, peel the tomatoes using a paring knife, and let the skins fall into the sieve.

Step 5: De-Seed

de-seeding tomatoes

Halve the tomatoes crosswise and scoop out the seeds with a hooked finger, letting the sieve catch the seeds. Press the seeds and skins to extract any extra juice.

Watch: How to Make Homemade Pizza Sauce

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