First, you’re probably wondering, “Why do I even need to peel my tomatoes?” Actually, most of the time, you don’t. For salads and other raw preparations, there is absolutely no need to peel tomatoes. Even for soups and sauces where the tomatoes will be finely pureed, leaving the peel on is just fine. For chunky salsas, too, the peel won’t bother anyone. But for certain things, like a traditional marinara or Bolognese sauce, where whole tomatoes are cooked down until they fall apart into a rich sauce, bits of peel really are unwelcome.
While it may sound like a big hassle to peel tomatoes, it’s actually easy if you follow a few simple steps. First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare an ice water bath by putting a bunch of ice in a large bowl of cold water. Then cut an “x” in the skins of the tomatoes (see photo above) at the bottom. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and let them cook for about 45 seconds. Pull the tomatoes out of the water with a slotted spoon and drop them directly into the ice water bath. Leave them in the ice water for a minute or two until they are cooled. Remove them from the ice water and the skins should slip off easily.