Because if you, like me, are drowning in tomatoes…
And if you, like me have ever had someone say “Blanche? What are you talking about?”
Or even worse, make a reference to a grouchy retiree from an old tv sitcom…
Then this little tutorial is for you. Or them. Or both of you.
So. Blanching. It’s a really quick and easy way to get the skins off of soft-skinned fruits. Think peaches, apricots, plums, tomatoes.
Apparently, it’s also used to prepare some vegetables for canning–but since I’m scared of canning vegetables, well, I can’t say I’ve ever used it that way.
Here are the details:
Step 1: Fill a large stock pot about 2/3 full of water. Put on to boil.
Step 2: Wash your tomatoes (or other fruit).
Step 3: Place tomatoes in a metal sieve, colander, or steamer basket. My stock pot came with this awesome piece, which is dead useful. The main thing is that your basket needs to be deep enough to completely submerge your tomatoes in the boiling water–as well as have a handle that you can use to pull them out without getting burned. Alternately, if you don’t have a colander that will work, you could drop the tomatoes in the water, and then fish them out with a slotted spoon. This will work, of course, but I wouldn’t suggest it, because if you’re anything like me, there are just too many ways to splash boiling water when you’re trying to drop them in and fish them out. In addition, when you blanch something, you don’t want to cook it, you just want to flash cook the skin so it will come off. The time it takes to fish all the tomatoes out will likely take long enough that your tomatoes will be cooked, at least partially. It’s more messy to peel cooked tomatoes, but if you’re using them in something that will be cooked anyway, it will still work.
Step 4: Submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10-15 seconds.
Step 5: Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water, let drain and cool for several minutes.
Step 6: Cover your working area with a clean kitchen towel. This prevents getting a tomatoey mess all over your counter, as well as helps your working area have a little more traction. Peeled tomatoes are slippery.
Step 7: Using a sharp paring knife, make a slit in the skin of the tomato.
Step 8: Slide the skin off.
Now your tomatoes are ready for sauces, salsas, or bottling!
In the next few days, I’ll be chronicling my adventures with salsa. I’ve already made one batch, my first time. While it’s pretty good, it’s not salsa-y enough for me. Tastes kinda like slightly flavored tomatoes. SO, you seasoned salsa makers, tell me what you know: does salsa need to sit for a while and mix flavors? Should I open up a jar and try it now, a week later to see if I like the flavor better? Should I start over with a new recipe, and if so, do you have one I can try?