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In preparing roasted tomato soup, which includes tomatoes that I roast in the oven at 200 °C (392 °F) for 30 minutes, and then simmer for a long time, I am having an issue with tomato skins. I find these skins largely inedible: They separate from the pulp and become very tough. Since these skins might contain some flavour, I simmer them with the rest of the tomatoes, and only then throw them away. This is a bit fidgety and takes a while.

I noticed that some tomato varieties, namely the ones that are sold on vines, have much softer skins that do not separate from the pulp and remain edible.

Do tomato skins have, in fact, any flavour that I would want to keep? What is the correct way to handle tomato skins?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I wouldn't bother keeping the skins, if they're hurting the texture. Many recipes using tomatoes end up removing skins for this reason. My exec chef showed me an easy way to remove the skin from tomatoes (we were doing tomato concasse):

  1. Wash tomatoes thoroughly, and slice a shallow cross in the bottom.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, and also prepare an ice water bath nearby.
  3. Drop tomatoes into the boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute, until the skin starts to crack.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to ice water to cool for a minute or two
  5. Peel -- the skin should already be peeling back around the X-mark.
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My exec grandmother showed me the same! – Dr. belisarius Aug 15 '11 at 4:15
Yep, this works great. One tip: you don't really need to boil them for 30 seconds - even 5 seconds is enough to loosen the skin. – Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 15 '11 at 15:48

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