How to peel tomatoes

(and what to do with the peel afterwards)

Ripe tomato skins have a horrible ability to transform into long, curled pieces of what feels like shredded plastic film when they get really hot, so peeling your tomatoes is important when making preserves and sauces. 

You may be tempted to skip this step, but take it from us that it’s not worth going through the hours of chopping & simmering only to discover your 8L of chutney has the mouthfeel of Mush & Cellophane: you only make that mistake once 😂

So here’s how to peel tomatoes quickly and easily with as little waste as possible.


  1. Wash tomatoes. 
  2. Remove stalk butts. 
  3. Lightly slice a large X on the round end of tomatoes. Use a serrated/very sharp knife and try to only slice the skin. 
  4. Working a few fruit at a time, submerge tomatoes in a bowl of boiling water. When you see the skin start to curl back from the X, remove fruit with tongs.
  5. Rub or pinch the skin off. 


  • Only work with a few fruit at a time, otherwise they start to cook & deteriorate while you’re working. When you find the skins not coming loose as easily/quickly, replace or reheat the water. 
  • Don’t worry too much if a bit of the flesh comes away with the skins. This is an indicator that you may have had the tomato sitting in the hot water for too long though, so if it starts to happen, reduce the number of fruit you’re adding to the bowl at a time, as it means you can process each one quicker. 
  • Don’t throw the skins away!!! That’s where HEAPS of the flavour is! Dehydrate and powder the skins to use in sauces, spice rubs, flavoured salts, in salad dressings, on bread/, focaccia & crackers and more. 
  • If you don’t want to dehydrate the skins, then freeze them for adding to the pot when you make stock. The depth of flavour they add is amazing.

Permaculture Principle 2: Catch & store energy; 6: Produce no waste

Skins ready to go in the dehydrator

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