I've had better luck than normal with the tomato crop - most of the plants that I put in survived my indifferent attention and have yielded a reasonable amount of fruit. One of the varieties that did well was the roma or plum tomatoes. They're crap to eat raw, but they make a good sauce.
I've made tomato sauce before, but not an old fashioned passata. I did a bit of googling and found half a dozen recipes that described making it in six entirely different fashions.
No matter how I cooked it, I wanted the skins off. I didn't want little chunks of skin messing up my sauce.
In years gone by - before I started growing my own - I'd venture out to the Flemington Markets and buy cheap tomatoes by the box. One memory of that time is how hard the little buggers were to skin. I was dreading having to skin a few kilos of the home grown variety. I almost had to use a potato peeler on the ones I bought at the markets.
However, when it came to skinning time, the skins just fell off after doing the X thing across the base with a knife, plunging into boiling water and then into cold water. I couldn't believe how easy it was.
I'm wondering if that's because they were actually ripened on the vine in the sun rather than in a dark shed full of ethylene?
The sauce turned out pretty well too. I can see the attraction at making up a huge vat of it in one go though, and having the entire extended family over to do the skinning, de-seeding and pot stirring.
My take on skinning tomatoes: commercial tomato growers have bred varieties to meet supermarket needs. The tomatoes have to look ripe and be blemish free. It doesn't matter whether or not they are fit for human consumption. One of the characteristics required by the supermarkets is a tough skin that can resist rough handling.
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