Friday, February 24, 2012

How To: Blanch Fresh Tomatoes

Why, you ask, would you ever need to know how to blanch and peel a tomato? Well, if you're like me, you might live in a place where you can't buy canned tomatoes, or they are very expensive. Many posts on this site will deal specifically with my solutions to lacking ingredients or ready made products here in the land of China. Maybe you can get canned tomatoes, but have started reading about the problems with canned tomatoes and leeching chemicals. Maybe you have a garden full of fresh tomatoes that you'd like to use for a sauce (summer is coming..someday). If you're going organic, it's less expensive and easier to control what substances you eat by just buying organic tomatoes and making fresh sauce. Maybe you hate the weird little curls of cooked tomato skin you get when you just cut up a tomato for sauce. Here is your answer

What is blanching? It's the process of putting something, usually fruits or vegetables, in boiling water for just a short time, usually to peel the skin off it. It's as easy as it sounds. Despite this, people would rather spend those 5-7 minutes opening a can of questionable tomatoes. I tell you, this is easy and delicious.

Here are the steps (pictures are on the way):

How To Blanch Fresh Tomatoes
1) Gather all the tomatoes you want to take the skins off of. Get a pot, like a pasta water pot, and fill it with enough warmish water from the tap to just cover the tomatoes. Also scrounge up a slotted spoon or ladle, just something to eventually scoop the tomatoes out of the water. Turn your burner on to boil the water.

2) Take any leaves and stems off the tomatoes. Put them stem side down on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, score an X on the bottom of the tomato. By score, I mean to cut, but only just through the skin, you're just helping it to split later in the water. Do not cut into the actual meat of the tomato or you'll lose some precious tomatoey flavor to the boiling water.

3) Once the water is at a rolling boil, add the tomatoes, careful not to splash yourself! Now, you wait. Probably around 5-7 minutes. You don't want to mushify the tomatoes. The goal here is to get the very outside of the meat to cook, the part attached to the skin. The X you put on the bottom will help water to slightly flow in there. You know they're ready when the skin has split from your X up to other parts of the tomato. At this point, turn your water off and retrieve your tomatoes with the slotted spoon or ladle.

4) Wait about 2 minutes, maybe more, for the tomatoes to cool enough for you to handle them. Once cool, use the handy little flaps you made earlier and peel the skin off!

5) Ta da! You are finished and have peeled tomatoes that you can use in sauces, soups, salsas, pasta, Bloody Mary's or whatever! I'd highly recommend doing this with garden fresh tomatoes and making Pasta Pomodoro with them!

No comments :

Post a Comment