Peeling tomatoes

A freezer method

2 min readOct 12, 2021


Photo by おにぎり on Unsplash

The usual way to peel a tomato is slitting the base, dunking it in boiling water and then into an ice-bath. This is fine.

If the tomato flesh is to be used in saucing, in other words if the integrity of the flesh doesn’t matter, then a more unusual, but neat and effective method, is freeze-peeling.

Place whole tomatoes on a tray and place in the freezer until fully frozen.

Peel, while still frozen, under a thin stream of running water.

The advantage is that only the skin comes off, taking no flesh with it. This works even for soft or poor quality tomatoes. I find the blanching method often strips off surface flesh with the peel unless the tomatoes are in very good condition.

Here are two things to do with the skinned tomatoes:

Tomato water

Slice the tomatoes in half, place cut side down on a perforated sheet lined with cheesecloth that is then placed over a container. Allow to drain (about 24 hours). Do not press on the tomatoes to speed this up. It’s a gentle process. The ‘tomato water’ collected will be clear, and have a surprisingly intense tomato flavour. Consider serving it as a consomme, but never think of using it in a Bloody Mary.

Tomato paste

Use the tomatoes left after making the tomato water above. Gently remove the seeds (or use a Moulin). Weigh the flesh, and place in a pressure cooker with 0.5% (by weight) baking soda, 1.5% salt, 1.5% MSG, and 2% sugar. Pressure cook 30 minutes.

Two quality products from one skinning exercise.

Yield: 1kg of tomatoes usually gives around 250g of tomato water and 180g of tomato paste.




Science of cooking, eating and health. Retired neuroscientist.