How to Peel and Deseed Tomatoes

In my previous post I shared a recipe/tutorial on how to dry tomatoes with a technique I read about in the Mother Earth News magazine.  To see those instructions, click HERE.  Tomatoes, Basil and Sea Salt for drying  I have followed this technique several times now; the first time with just tomatoes, and the next few times I actually peeled and deseeded the tomatoes, then sprinkled them with sea salt and basil.  So good.

Then I realized I was probably putting the cart before the horse, since a lot of people, including food preservation “newbies” don’t know how to peel and deseed a tomato!

So, without further ado, here is my method:

1.  Gather all you tomatoes, look over them for any with large cracks or moldy spots and set those aside for your compost pile.  How to peel a tomato Of course, you could always cut out the bad spots and proceed anyway, but from everything I have read, this is a no-no.  I cut out the bad spots and then eat the rest of the tomato fresh, rather than waste 75% of an otherwise perfectly good tomato!

2.  Bring water in a large pot just to simmering.  You don’t need the water to actually boil, but make sure the water is deep enough to cover your tomatoes.  If you are processing a lot of tomatoes, I have also found it handy to have another pan of hot water ready to replenish the first pot.  Believe it or not, your water level will diminish quite quickly, which I assume is due to evaporation???!!!   Anyway, while waiting for the water to get hot, get a bowl of really cold ice water ready, and have a back-up supply of ice on hand also.

3.  Now comes the part where you have to choose:  do you want to cut out the stem and core before you peel, or after?  I chose to cut out the stem and core after because I don’t want my tomatoes to get too mushy.  Once you have tried several methods, you will settle in to one you feel most comfortable with.  Hop around the web – Google for “methods of peeling tomatoes” – and you will find 101 ways to do it.  How to Peel Tomatoes

4.  Now, with the water simmering, carefully place a tomato or two into the water.  Be careful that you don’t just plop them in because you could get burned if the hot water splashes on you!  I like to use my slotted spoon for this.  Once you have a couple of tomatoes in the water, roll them around just a bit to make sure all of the peel has contact with the hot water.  Keep them in the hot water for about 15 to 20 seconds.  The “ABC” song is about 20 seconds long – just in case you don’t have a timer!

5.  After the 15-20 seconds, immediately plunge the tomato into the ice water and roll it around a bit in there.  Once the tomatoes are in the ice water you can place two more tomatoes into the hot water.  When those tomatoes are ready for the ice water, plunge them in and the first two tomatoes should now be cool enough to set aside.  Once you get your rhythm going, it doesn’t take very long to prepare several pounds of tomatoes for peeling.

6.  After all of your tomatoes have been prepared for peeling, you will need to gather a few items.  I use a bowl to gather all the peel and the seeds along with all of that jelly-like stuff, a good paring knife and a cutting board.  About now you will notice that a lot of the tomato are already starting to peel and curl on their own.  Good!  How to Peel a tomato Just start peeling away, throwing the skin into your compost bowl. In my experience with this you may come across a tomato where the skin doesn’t peel very easily.  It seems that those with sunburn or the ones that aren’t totally ripe have more resistance to peeling in the sunburned or unripe areas.  I usually just cut the unpeeled area away.

7.  Now you will need to core the tomato, which means simply to cut    How to peel a tomatoout the stem and that hard part right  under the stem.  They make specialized equipment for this – I just use my paring knife, cutting at a slight angle.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Once you do a couple of them, you will get the hang of it!

8.  To deseed the tomato, the easiest way is to just cut the tomato in half crosswise.  In other words, pretend that the tomato is the earth.  The north pole is the stem end and the south pole is the blossom end.   You need to cut the tomato around the equator!  Oh, by the way, I think I should mention that there is no need to adjust the color on your monitor – I am using my beautiful Golden Sunray heirloom tomato for demonstration purposes!

How to Peel a Tomato After you have peeled and cut a few tomatoes in half, check to make sure you aren’t getting tomato juice all over the place. Last week I had already peeled, cut and deseeded several pounds of tomatoes before I realized I had an actual puddle at my feet!  😉

I was “in the zone”!


8.  Once the tomato is cut, just use your index or pinky finger to scrape and scoop away all of the seeds and How to peel a tomato jelly.  If your tomato is nice and firm and you really really don’t want any seeds, you can carefully rinse the tomato under gently running water, then place it cavity side down on paper towels to drain.



That’s it – you’re done!  Now your  How to peel a tomato tomatoes are ready to cook, bake, dehydrate, make into sauce or freeze – whatever your little heart desires!


Below is a picture of what I was able to accomplish in about 1/2 hour.  Not bad, eh?

How to peel a tomato

If you have any suggestions for a good meatless pasta/spaghetti sauce recipe that cans well – please leave the recipe or a link to it in the comments below – I would sincerely appreciate it!


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20 thoughts on “How to Peel and Deseed Tomatoes

  1. They look lovely! Tomatoes are a fruit we either have plenty of, or none at all, LOL!!
    Let me see, what are my best recipes?
    I sometimes use chutneys as sauces for our pasta, because they last so long. And my favourite is:
    Green Tomato Chutney
    2.5kg green tomatoes, roughly chopped
    0.5kg onions, finely sliced
    4 tsp / 30g salt
    1L malt vinegar
    0.5kg brown sugar
    250g sultanas, roughly chopped
    3 tsp / 20g ground pepper
    Then there is:
    Fog City Diner
    1-1/2 cups sugar
    1 cup cider vinegar
    1 Tablespoon minced garlic
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1-1/2 teaspoons mixed pickling spice
    1 small stick cinnamon, about 1/4-inch long
    1-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
    1/2 teaspoon (scant) freshly ground pepper
    2 Tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    And lastley
    Mum’s Tomato Sauce
    6kilo’s apples
    3kilos onions
    1 packet pickling spice
    3/4 litre vinegar
    tspn garlic
    tspn ginger
    The last one is very good for dieters as it has no sugar in it 🙂

    • Oh thank you so much for these recipes, they all sound sooooo good! I really appreciate the last one there with no sugar because I am trying to get away from eating too much of that stuff. Bad on the waistline, you know.

      • lol, yeah, I know. My husband, espessially, struggles a wee bit. Me not so much, but then I am always running around so I suffer from tired grumpiness a lot of the time, which I think is worse, LOL!!

  2. I absolutely hate peeling tomatoes 🙂 I’ll boil peaches to skin them, cause I have too, but I make my sauce with the peels and seeds included 🙂 I tend to freeze it since then I can add whatever I want and not worry about acidity.

    • Yes, peeling can be tedious. I like to put on some good music (anything by Ludovico Einaudi) and just enjoy the experience! I have heard that a lot of people make their sauce with the skins on, which would be fine in my book. Besides, a lot of nutrition is in the peel. Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. Your update was oh, so timely! I had an excess of tomatoes today yet did not want to make yet another batch of preserves. My first attempt at making sauce was far too work intense for me so I dismissed that idea until this post came through. I deseeded the tomatoes really fast and it made a world of difference in the work of making sauce. Thank you so much for sharing this point.

    • Charlotte,
      You are so welcome. I love passing on knowledge I have gained from others, and I am so glad it helped you! Thanks for reading my blog and for your great comment – you made my day!

    • The dried the ones shown in this picture with sea salt and chopped fresh basil – they almost look like flat rosettes! Floating on top of a bowl of cream of tomato soup, or sliced on top of a pizza, or just in a pesto pasta salad, they all look so pretty and taste so good! BTW – I also like camping food! I checked out your site and love it! I left a comment on your post about camping food. Thanks for visiting and your encouraging comment!

  4. Coming over from the Chicken Chick blog party. Thanks for the information. I kinda knew how to do this but now I have the full tutorial. Pinning this also. Linda

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful tutorial! I just peeled tomatoes for the first time last week. In the past, I have always kept the skins on for all of my canned tomato sauce. It’s good either way, but it is a little nicer without the skins. Popping out the seeds doesn’t look too difficult either. I like to leave the seeds in my sauces, but I’m going to be making tomato PASTE soon so I’ll de-seed them.

    I have been canning for the past 3 years and from the start I was using all the tomatoes, even ones with blemishes. I always cut around the yucky parts and use the rest. It has never posed a problem to my canning and I’ve never had any digestive issues because of it. Most of my tomatoes come from local farms that sell their “uglies” at a super discounted rate so without those ugly looking tomatoes I would not have many tomatoes to can. So that’s my experience. 🙂

    • Desiree,
      Yes – with or without peels and seeds – it’s all good and only comes down to personal preference! I find that when I am drying the tomatoes they look a lot prettier if you take out the seeds – but peeling isn’t necessary. I have used a few of the “uglies” also, but all of the books say not to use them. Unfortunately, you have to be careful what you say nowadays because as soon as someone follows you recipe and gets sick (probably from something else) they are ready to sue! And those silly disclaimers are so ugly! I saw your 5 month pregnancy pic on your site – you look so cute! I hope your baby shower goes well!

      • Awe thank you for coming over to check out my blog! 🙂 You are so right that people will sue and point fingers over everything… it’s a sad truth. Regardless, I’m a huge advocate of using those uglies!! Saves me a lot of money on produce. hehe

    • Kathy,
      I know exactly what you mean! That hot water to scald the tomato skins can steam up a room quickly! Luckily, I have an outdoor kitchen my hubby built with a one burner propane stove 😀 Little did I know what I was going to use it for when he built that for me! Thank you for hosting your hop!

  6. We have 2 large “eat and store” gardens and grow a lot of tomatoes (all varieties) and lots of sweet peppers, and cayennes, scotch bonnets, habaneros, jalapeno, Hungarian hot bananas, along with various other veggies that we preserve, and make specialty jellies, preserves, sauces etc. If you are going to be making lots of canned goods from your produce, I suggest purchasing a food strainer by Roma ( the one I have) which will cut you prep time in half when canning. The seeds and skin, go one way, the pulp another:) Then, I pass the skin and seeds through a few more times to get all the goodness out of them. Makes putting up 30 plus guarts of tomato easy and used over and over for other fruits and veggies.

    • Wow, that sounds pretty good, Connie! I will look online for one of those strainers. I’m not sure I would do 30+ quarts of tomatoes at a time (whew!) but it sounds like it would make that amount of tomatoes a lot easier to handle! thanks for the information!