Easy Tomato Processing for Sauce, Soup, and Salsa: Skip the Peeling and Seeding!

I am in the middle of garden season and am processing tomatoes on a daily basis.  My pantry is filling up with salsa, pasta sauce, soup, and just plain sauce for later use.  

If you are someone that cans or you are a seasoned canner, you know how much time it takes to heat water, drop in the tomatoes, then peel and core the tomatoes.  Unless you are making something where you prefer the seeds to be included in the final product, it's entirely possible to skip these steps.  

You will need:

  • A fine mesh strainer
  • A large pot for cooking
  • Food processor or immersion blender
  • Bowl for the tomato juice

Here’s how to process tomatoes efficiently without the hassle of peeling or seeding:

1. Wash and Prep the Tomatoes

  • Start with fresh, ripe tomatoes. Rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt or residue.
  • Remove any stems and cut out any blemishes or damaged spots. If tomatoes are large, half or quarter them.  

2. Blending or Pureeing

  • Food Processor Method: Cut the tomatoes into quarters or large chunks and add them to a blender. Pulse until they reach your desired consistency. This method quickly breaks down the skins and seeds. (For salsa, you might prefer a chunkier texture. Adjust the blending time accordingly)
  • Immersion Blender Method:  This is my preferred method because it means there is one less dish to clean but both ways work great.  I wait until the tomatoes have cooked down a little to use the immersion blender since it is much easier to blend when soft.

Cooking the Tomatoes
  • Transfer the blended (If using a food processor)  tomatoes directly to a large pot. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
  • If you are using an immersion blender, simply dump your prepared tomatoes into a large pot, bring to gentle to boil and reduce heat.  After simmering about 10 minutes, the tomatoes are soft enough to blend easily.  

4. Creating the Sauce

  • Once the tomatoes are softened (and have been blended) it is time to separate the tomato juice and pulp from the seeds and skins.  
  • Ladle the tomatoes out of the pot and into a fine meshed strainer.  Use the back of a spoon or spatula to mash the juice through the strainer.

  • Return the juice back to the pot.  You can leave the juice as is or add your preferred seasonings such as garlic, onions, herbs (like basil or oregano), salt, and pepper to taste. I love using Mrs Wages seasonings! 

6. Cooking Time

  • Simmer the sauce, soup, or salsa for at least 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly. Longer cooking times can intensify the flavors.

7. Storage/Canning

  • You sauce is now ready to eat, can, or freeze.  

You should have a bowl of seeds and peels left.  

By following these steps, you can create delicious tomato-based dishes without spending extra time peeling or seeding. Enjoy the fresh flavors and the satisfaction of homemade sauces and soups made easy! Whether it’s a quick weeknight pasta or a weekend batch of salsa, these methods will streamline your kitchen routine while preserving the natural goodness of tomatoes. Bon appétit!