Peeling tomatoes

Tip from the test kitchen

Photo: Rob Brodman

The height of tomato season is a great time for making big batches of sauce or putting up jars of fresh tomatoes. Most recipes, however, ask for peeled fruit. The following technique makes this job easy.

 1. In a 5-quart pan over high heat, bring 3 ½ quarts water to a boil. Set a large bowl of ice water nearby.

 2. Use a paring knife to cut out the stem at the top of each tomato. Then carve a shallow X in the bottom (blossom end) of each.

 3. Working in batches of three, plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water. Let cook until skins begin to wrinkle and loosen, 5 to 20 seconds.

 4. Lift tomatoes from boiling water with a slotted spoon and gently drop into the ice bath.

 5. When tomatoes have cooled, remove from the ice bath and gently pull away the skins, beginning at the points created by the X.

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