One of the easiest fruits to peel, in my opinion are tomatoes. I have never had a problem with the skins holding on, typically they are already cracked and slipping off before they get dropped in the ice water. Still, as easy as they are to peel, when you have a lot of them to do, any work is work. Plus, boiling the water on a humid, summer day does not thrill me in the least nor does the smell of the tomatoes as they are boiled.
Recently I was preparing some tomatoes for a recipe of stewed tomatoes, I had two quarts that I’d freshly picked and two quarts that I’d tossed in the freezer unpeeled and un-cored as I picked them over the past several weeks. I had already decided I wasn’t going to peel the tomatoes because when I buy stewed tomatoes from the store I puree them and strain them. I do not like whole tomatoes or chunks of anything in my sauces. Peeling the tomatoes when I was going to be straining the sauce prior to canning seemed pointless.
I pureed the 2 quarts of fresh Romas and then pulled the frozen ones from the freezer. Of course, being lazy, or rather ingenious as I discovered, I hadn’t washed the Romas that I froze. So I dumped them into a colander and began to wash them under luke-warm water. As I gently rubbed the hard-as-a-rock tomatoes, the skins slipped right off. No boiling. No hot steam to contend with. No mess. The skins came off perfectly.
I was thrilled! Now, when I go to make tomato sauce or any recipe that calls for tomatoes that don’t necessarily have to keep their shape or form, I am going to freeze them, peel them, and toss them in the pot. For my stewed tomato sauce I didn’t need them skinned, but it was a great trick to learn to use another day.
Stewed Tomato Sauce
- 16 Cups Pureed Roma Tomatoes
- 1 Cup Pureed Celery
- 1/2 Cup Pureed Onion
- 1/4 Cup Pureed Green Pepper
- 1 Tbsp. Sugar
- 2 tsp. Salt
- Bottled Lemon Juice
Combine all ingredients in large sauce pan and bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes to combine flavors.
Use a stick blender to chop any remaining chunks of vegetables and boil 5 minutes more. Remove sauce from heat and run through food mill or strainer to remove seeds, skins, or any remaining chunks of vegetable.
Ladle hot liquid into hot jars leaving 1 inch head space. Add 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice to each pint or 2 Tbsp. to each quart. Cover and place in pressure canner. Adjust water level, lock lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close vent. Continue heating to achieve 10 pounds of pressure. Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.
Turn off heat. Allow to cool completely before opening canner.
Canning is a learning process every time I do it. No matter how often I make certain recipes, there always seems to be something new to chalk up to experience. Finding a new method to skin tomatoes happened by accident, but I’ll take it, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.