Tomatoes can be preserved by freezing, canning, or drying with good results.
For best results, PEEL TOMATOES BEFORE PRESERVING.
Peeling tomatoes is a step that many seem to loathe and consider an unimportant extra step. Perhaps it is the word ‘peel’ that makes the task distasteful as peel means to remove the outer covering or skin from a fruit or vegetable usually with a knife—like peeling an apple or a potato. My grandma used the term, ‘slip the skin’ which really seems more appropriate for removing the skin from a tomato. The process is simple: dip tomatoes in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins split or wrinkle. Dip into cold water, slip off the skins and remove the cores.
Removing the skins is important for these reasons:
- The texture of the skin may be undesirable in the finished product.
- Most tested recipes for tomato products were prepared and tested with skins removed. Since tested recipes are meant to be followed as written, leaving skins on would be an alteration of the recipe, and therefore, may not only influence the quality of the product, but also the safety.
- Skins may interfere with the necessary uniform heat penetration in the canning process.
- The skins of fruits and vegetables are sources of bacteria, yeasts, and molds. Some of these contaminants are removed when the produce is washed with cool water but it is not possible to remove it all. By peeling or slipping the skins, the bacterial load is greatly reduced rendering a safer final product.
- The tomato skin is heavy in a kind of nutrient called flavonols, which may impart a bitter flavor to a canned product.
So bite the bullet and slip those tomato skins.
For more information on freezing, canning, and drying tomatoes, check out How to Preserve Tomatoes by Utah State University Extension and Preserve the Taste of Summer, Canning and Freezing Tomatoes by Iowa State Extension and Outreach. When canning tomatoes or tomato products, remember to acidify with commercially bottled lemon juice or citric acid to prevent the possibility of botulism.