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+ servings
Glimpse of tomato skins being removed using a food mill, and glimpse of tomato puree being boiled down
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5 from 10 votes

How to Peel Tomatoes|How to Deseed Tomatoes

This method will create a silky smooth tomato puree suitable for canning, making pasta sauce, tomato soup, and more.
Course: sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Canning tomatoes, Processing tomatoes
Servings: 7 or 8 quarts


  • large pots (for blanching the tomatoes and cooking down the puree)
  • large bowl (for ice water bath)
  • food mill to deseed (and bowl/pot to catch the juices)
  • optional: high-speed blender can be used to pulverize the seeds instead of a food mill to remove the seeds


  • 1/2 bushel Roma tomatoes (generously filled 1/2 bushel)


  • Set a large pot of water (about 3/4 full) on the stove over high heat and bring it to a boil.
  • In the meantime, get set up:
    • Remove the tomato stems; thoroughly wash the tomatoes.
    • Fill a large bowl with ice water.
    • Set your food mill over another bowl or pot.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer a workable portion of the tomatoes into the boiling water. After just a few minutes, the tomato skins will start to pucker. That's the sign it's time to transfer them into the bowl of ice water.
  • The skins will be easy to peel off with your fingers. Slip off the skins, quarter the tomatoes, and put them into your food mill.
  • Crank the mill so the tomato juice is released into the bowl/pot (three cranks clockwise, then one crank counterclockwise; repeat).
  • Repeat this whole process, in workable batches, until all of the tomatoes have been processed.
  • At this point, you should have a couple of large pots filled with smooth textured tomato juice. Place, uncovered, over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the juice starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken, be more attentive and stir more often. Continue in this way until it reaches the consistency of tomato puree, similar to what you would buy in the market.
    This step will take about an hour, give or take, depending on how watery your tomatoes are.


  • As you go along, you will need to add more ice to your ice bath.
  • If you prefer, use a high-speed blender to pulverize the tomato seeds instead of removing them with a food mill. After removing the skins, simply add quartered tomatoes to your high-speed blender (in batches) and process until hot and steamy. When using this method you still need to boil the resulting tomato juice down into puree as described in the last step above.