Why You Should Consider Peeling Your Tomatoes Before Freezing

Summer is a fantastic season for many types of produce, but if one ingredient rules the season, it's tomatoes. These gorgeous, ruby-red umami bombs are abundant through the end of summer, when they have the best flavor and texture. However, as we move into fall, you may find yourself with a surplus of tomatoes that you won't be able to use before they spoil. While you can freeze tomatoes, we recommend peeling them beforehand, as the skin can be a major inconvenience when you decide to use them later.

Tomatoes change in texture when subjected to freezing temperatures. This is because the water inside a tomato expands when frozen, breaking down its natural structures and resulting in a pulpy, mushy texture upon thawing. Therefore, frozen tomatoes are best used in recipes like pizza sauce or roasted tomato soup. Although these recipes don't necessarily require peeled tomatoes, peeling is often preferred to give the final dish a smooth and velvety texture. With this in mind, peeling tomatoes before freezing them can save you a lot of time and effort, as removing the skin from a frozen tomato is much more difficult than peeling a fresh one.

How to peel tomatoes

Removing the skin from fresh tomatoes prior to freezing is quite simple using a technique known as blanching. Start by using a sharp knife to cut an "X" shape on the bottom of each tomato. You don't need to cut deeply into the flesh; a surface slice will suffice. Next, drop the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds before transferring them to a bowl of ice water. Once the tomatoes are cool, you'll find that the skin has loosened, making it easy to peel off with your hands. Now, your tomatoes are ready to be frozen.

If you've already frozen your summer tomatoes with their skins on and are now wondering if they're unusable, worry not. You can still peel them; it will just be a bit messier and more labor-intensive. To peel an already-frozen tomato, run it under hot water while gently rubbing your fingers over the skin. The skin will thaw before the rest of the tomato, allowing you the opportunity to gently scrub it off without damaging the underlying flesh.