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Spaghetti Sauce -- do the tomatoes need to be peeled?

jenmarlow Aug 24, 2013 01:39 PM

I am making spaghetti sauce -- with fresh tomatoes, in the crock pot, to be stored in the freezer. The recipe says to chop the tomatoes -- do I need to peel them? Thanks!

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  1. Karl S RE: jenmarlow Aug 24, 2013 01:51 PM

    Not if you don't want to. If you want the sauce smooth, though, you will need to peel or - better - run it through a food mill (a blender or food processor won't be as good). A food mill is indispensible for quickly processing fruits with skin (tomatoes are fruits...).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S
      jenmarlow RE: Karl S Aug 24, 2013 03:34 PM

      Thank you.

    2. PinchOfSalt RE: jenmarlow Aug 24, 2013 02:12 PM

      Here is another suggestion if you do not have a food mill. You can quickly and easily peel tomatoes by dropping them into a pot of simmering water for, say, 30 seconds, then removing them with a slotted spoon (or similar utensil). Core and chop them after they cool a bit.

      1. mbfant RE: jenmarlow Aug 24, 2013 03:20 PM

        Don't peel. You will lose a lot of flavor. To while away the time while watching my sauce, which hardly needs so much watching, I sometimes pick out the peels that have given their all and become detached, but that is hardly necessary.

        1. t
          ThanksVille RE: jenmarlow Aug 25, 2013 04:52 AM

          Sorry to be a minority voice but yes, peel the tomatoes. After all the work to achieve a wonderful sauce, there is little worse than ingesting tough scrolls of tomato skins.

          You can cook and then pick them out but you stand to lose good sauce in the process. The fastest approach is to submerge in boiling water then place in an ice bath.....the peeling is very simple.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ThanksVille
            evenworse RE: ThanksVille Aug 26, 2013 12:24 AM

            This exactly. Blanch them, then peel them.

            I generally prefer to use as much of the whole fruit/vegetable in a recipe, but the rolled up tomato skin flutes (skin flutes!) are very unappetizing in sauces and salsas.

            1. re: evenworse
              Karl S RE: evenworse Aug 26, 2013 08:49 AM

              A food mill is a lot easier, and better texture and flavor, FWIW.

            2. re: ThanksVille
              EM23 RE: ThanksVille Aug 26, 2013 08:28 AM

              I agree. Skins in sauce are unpleasant. I just made a sauce using Brandywines, plums and sweet yellow cherry tomatoes. I blanched and peeled the Brandywines and plums (and removed the pulp as well), but just added the cherry tomatoes whole. The next morning I picked out the chunks of garlic and the skins of the cherry tomatoes before freezing the sauce.

            3. s
              sparrowgrass RE: jenmarlow Aug 26, 2013 08:39 AM

              I never peel--I use a stick blender to puree the tomatoes.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sparrowgrass
                tcamp RE: sparrowgrass Aug 26, 2013 09:14 AM

                Me too. I prefer a chunkier sauce anyway. Stray large peels get picked out if I happen to see them.

                1. re: tcamp
                  Njchicaa RE: tcamp Aug 26, 2013 02:44 PM

                  I just chop and cook them down with the peels on and then run my immersion blender through the pot before storing the sauce.

                  1. re: Njchicaa
                    tinaemenes RE: Njchicaa Aug 26, 2013 03:24 PM

                    That's another piece of equipment that once I got one , I don't know how I survived without one

                2. re: sparrowgrass
                  mrsfury RE: sparrowgrass Aug 26, 2013 04:05 PM

                  Same here.

                3. h
                  Harters RE: jenmarlow Aug 26, 2013 10:26 AM

                  I peel.

                  But then I always peel tomatoes however they are being used, including salads. And, for most uses (although not pasta sauce) I deseed as well.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Harters
                    tcamp RE: Harters Aug 26, 2013 11:54 AM

                    Interesting, I've never heard of anyone peeling a salad tomato? Do you not like the texture of the skin?

                    1. re: tcamp
                      Harters RE: tcamp Aug 26, 2013 01:18 PM

                      Spot on, tcamp. I don't like the skin. I find the texture of the skinned tomato much pleasanter.

                  2. monavano RE: jenmarlow Aug 26, 2013 01:12 PM

                    I don't peel. I make sauce and use a Vitamix, so it's smooth, skin, seeds and all.

                    1. tinaemenes RE: jenmarlow Aug 26, 2013 02:11 PM

                      Peeling is always better for a smooth sauce, but the food mill is really the fastest way and the end results are the same. I put off buying a food mill and when I finally did I though - dah - how did I live without one!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: tinaemenes
                        Karl S RE: tinaemenes Aug 26, 2013 03:01 PM

                        Use it to make other fruit sauces where you don't want to peel (applesauce, pear sauce, et cet.), because the peel adds color and flavor and, when milled right, body.

                        1. re: tinaemenes
                          AmyLouise RE: tinaemenes Aug 28, 2013 04:02 PM

                          I have always blanched and peeled by hand, but I just bought a food mill since I would like to make tomato sauce in larger quantities. Should I cook the tomatoes before putting them through the food mill? If so, how long would you cook them? I am using Roma tomatoes.

                          1. re: AmyLouise
                            Karl S RE: AmyLouise Aug 28, 2013 06:22 PM

                            Cook them until they are tender. Then put them through the mill.

                        2. w
                          will47 RE: jenmarlow Aug 26, 2013 04:00 PM

                          I cut an 'x' in the skin and blanch, or else hold over open flame, and then peel. Sauce will still be decent if you don't peel, but I usually do make the extra effort. I would also try to seek out proper sauce / paste tomatoes, or at least Romas. The other kinds of tomatoes you can buy don't make as good sauce, and have too many seeds, IMHO.

                          I also shock and peel tomatoes even for semi-raw applications, like when just tossing pasta with olive oil, garlic, basil, and tomatoes.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: will47
                            PinchOfSalt RE: will47 Aug 28, 2013 03:05 PM

                            From experience, there's no need to cut that x before blanching. Once blanched, just the tiniest nick on the skin is almost always enough for me to take the skin off in two or three pieces.

                            If you don't cut an x that is one less x and less chance of the simmering water getting into the tomato (or losing some tomato goodness into the water).

                            1. re: PinchOfSalt
                              Jacquilynne RE: PinchOfSalt Aug 28, 2013 03:51 PM

                              My experience has always been the opposite -- the just cutting a small X isn't enough. I completely circumscribe the tomato in two directions and then blanch in hot water. I wonder if I'm not blanching long enough or something?

                              1. re: PinchOfSalt
                                will47 RE: PinchOfSalt Aug 28, 2013 11:30 PM

                                Well, I try to just cut the skin; generally, with a very sharp knife, and a good paste tomato, this doesn't result in the tomatoes getting watery or leaking into the water. If the knife is not sharp enough, sometimes you will cut into the tomato a little, but still haven't had problems.

                                I usually cool off the tomatoes again in a cold water bath after blanching; I believe this is supposed to help the skin come off more easily too.

                            2. sbagneski RE: jenmarlow Aug 28, 2013 06:59 PM

                              I'd recommend it. Especially because you're going to freeze your sauce, it could provide and unwanted texture. Peeling tomatoes is simple though. Make an "x" cut through the skin of each tomato and drop them in a pot of boiling water for a minute. You'll see when they skin begins to separate. Remove them and then skins will nearly fall off.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sbagneski
                                gourmanda RE: sbagneski Aug 29, 2013 07:42 AM

                                If you are doing just a few it's easy enough to blanch and peel. If you are cooking, on multiple occasions, 30 pounds at a time into sauce then no, you do not need to peel the tomatoes. Cook them down and use an immersion blender to take care of peels and most seeds.

                              2. fezmarie73 RE: jenmarlow Jul 1, 2014 10:42 AM

                                If you are using store-bought tomatoes, the skins should be thin enough that they will not be so discernible in the sauce.
                                We grow tomatoes, and the skins are much thicker. I have to blanch the tomatoes or I end up with REALLY hard scrolls of tomato skins in my sauces.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: fezmarie73
                                  weezieduzzit RE: fezmarie73 Jul 1, 2014 10:44 AM

                                  It depends on the variety you are growing, some home grown have very thin skins, others thicker.

                                2. jmckee RE: jenmarlow Jul 1, 2014 12:18 PM

                                  Nah. Not necessary. There is flavor and texture in the skin of the tomato. Seems needlessly fussy to me to peel.

                                  1. iL Divo RE: jenmarlow Jul 1, 2014 03:07 PM

                                    it's probably a personal preference.
                                    when we lived in Camarillo and had tomatoes coming out our ears, I made a lot of pasta sauces.
                                    1. because it's my favorite meal just plain period
                                    2. because with 2 freezers I could make a batch, use some now, use some later.
                                    3. because they were free and I couldn't resist.

                                    I'd chop or blend or Cuisanart or simply boil away never cutting out/off anything but the core. the skin didn't bother me nor did I have complaints about it/them being there in the sauce.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: iL Divo
                                      rudeboy RE: iL Divo Jul 1, 2014 03:46 PM

                                      Funny - I absolutely cannot stand tomato or pepper peels in sauce. It isn't uncommon for me to end up with the peels ringing the rim of the plate when I'm finished with a meal. My wife could care less, and she's Italian. They do not provide any flavor to the sauce. The fact that tomatoes and peppers are peeling in all of Italy tells me something.

                                      Everyone is different - my only point is that peeled tomatoes will offend no one, but peels in tomato sauce will be noticed by picky bast$%ds like me!

                                    2. Atomic76 RE: jenmarlow Jul 2, 2014 09:03 AM

                                      There's a couple of reasons to peel the tomatoes first - tomato skin will impart a bitterness to the sauce, and most store bought tomatoes have stuff like wax coatings and pesticides that you don't want in your sauce.

                                      I canned tomatoes for many years with my grandparents, and we simply scored the bottom of the tomatoes as mentioned here, and boiled them briefly to loosen the skin. Yes, it's more work, and if you are doing a lot, you should wear gloves because the acid in the tomatoes can start to irritate your hands.

                                      I don't really see the purpose of using a crock pot though since it's going to trap all the excess moisture in it, which you would want to get rid of. You may wind up with a pink-ish bland watery "sauce" instead of a thick deep red sauce.

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