Peeling Tomatoes For Base
We will take a step by step look at peeling tomatoes after using one of the three Base methods for preparing tomatoes.
First, we have to have something to peel. All three of the Tomato Base methods start the same.
Harvest your tomatoes or buy a bunch at your local fresh market.
Wash gently but thoroughly. You'll want to make sure no chemicals or critters are present, to assure a good clean product when you start peeling tomatoes for your recipes.
Don't use rotten or diseased tomatoes in any of following methods.
Blanching tomatoes is the most common method for peeling tomatoes.
Place your cleaned tomatoes in a bowl or dish near the stove. Put water in a large pot about 2/3 full. Bring to a boil.
Have a slotted spatula or a collander/drain dish set up next to the pot. Nearby, have a large bowl filled with ice water.
The first time you do this, you'll want to try one test tomato so you can dial in the best time for blanching your particular crop.
Slowly lower the tomato into the boiling water. Count 20 seconds, then remove the tomato and place in the ice bath. If the tomato is easy to peel try 10 seconds less on the next.
If the tomato is hard to peel try 30 seconds more on the next.
Once you've got the shortest time in the boiling water with an easy peel you can start to do several at a time.
Note: When you add more tomatoes at once to the boiling water they have a tendency to cool the boiling water. Extend your time about 10 seconds.
Continue this process until all the tomatoes are done. Blanching tomatoes is popular for recipes such a Fresh Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe.
The flavor remains very close to a vine ripened tomato. There's more to blanching than peeling tomatoes. Check this link.
peeling tomatoes, blanching and beyond
Roasting tomatoes is really more of a pre-cooking than a peeling prep as in blanching tomatoes.
As with the variables in my recipes, the roasting base has many possibilities. The skins can be peeled almost as easy as blanching if done right.
Some cooks will roast for a very long time to get their desired result.
In my examples, I am looking to roast for the shortest time and still get the roasted flavor.
The second goal is to create a peelable firm product to be frozen or used in various recipes.
Freezing tomatoes softens them up a little so I dont want to start with mush. Likewise I like firm texture in fresh Roasted chunky sauces and soups. The roasted flavor in sauces and soups such as tomato basil soup and my tomato bisque soup recipe, are outstanding.
Altering recipes for a totally smokey flavor will require blanching, peeling then Charcoal Grill Roasting. The flavor is great but the tomato loses liquidity. A drier base limits uses in recipes.
The two methods for roasting tomatoes are oven and charcoal grill.
Both require the same prep. The difference is the heat. Lets do the prep and then the cooking methods.
I use a spare roasting pan bottom (without the grooved and vented top)from one of my former ovens for small batches.
For the larger amounts I use a commercial roll baking pan, the higher edges hold the juices for later use.
I lightly oil the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Olive oil and roasted tomatoes just go together well. Next, brush each tomato with olive oil and the tomatoes are ready to roast.
For the oven version, I preheat the oven at 350 Degrees, with the rack in the middle.
Place the oiled tomatoes in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. Check the tomatoes and if the skin on any have started to crack they are ready. If none are cracked reset the timer for another ten minutes and repeat as needed.
The reason I can't give an exact cooking time is due to the water content of different tomatoes. After a couple of roastings You will get a feel for the timing of your particular crop.
Once they are ready remove, let them stand until luke warm and are cool enough to peel. Now for the messy part, start peeling tomatoes. Tomatoes done this way make a great base for tomato sauce.
The Charcoal Grill version is in the setup.
I use a round kettle grill with the charcoals set to one side taking up about a third of the grill bottom.
After lighting the charcoal, wait for charcoals to turn white. The charcoals should be past the hottest phase, you don't want to incinerate your tomatoes.
Place your pan with the tomatoes on the empty 2/3 of the grill. Cover with the lid and vent slightly for air flow. As in the oven version, check every 10 minutes or so, until cracked.
After they cool down and are managable, it's time start peeling tomatoes.
There's no sense wasting a hot grill, I usually cook a dinner when the grill is raging and put the tomatoes on afterwards.
This version is a more earthy rustic taste(my favorite).
Variations: for even more roasted flavor using either method, cut the tomatoes in half Horizontally with the stems up. place each half on the roasting pan, cut side up. For over the top smokey flavor, Blanch, peel then Charcoal Grill Roast. Mmmm!
Now for the Base. After peeling tomatoes, take your skinned tomatoes to a pot in the sink.
With kitchen shears cut out the stem area and any unwanted yellow or green shoulders.
If your tomatoes are seedy, quarter or halve the peeled tomatoes and use your thumb to pop out the seeds. Some cooks don't bother with seeding.
Next, cut the tomatoes into the desired pieces. For most recipes, I cut them into 1/2 inch pieces.
When freezing tomatoes or cannning, I usually cut them in quarters or halves, depending on the size.
Now that you're done peeling tomatoes, its time to cook or freeze those little buggers!
If you'll be cooking right away, you can chop them or puree them to make a great Base for soups and sauces.
Looking for great tomato recipes? Check the Everything-Tomatoes