The fastest and easiest way to peel tomatoes

We've all been there — a recipe calls for fresh peeled tomatoes, and rather than using whatever method the directions suggest, you decide that it would be so much easier to just pick away at the skin with your fingernails. Maybe you get lucky and peel off a decent chunk here and there, but for the most part, this "easier" method is actually far more painstaking, and definitely does not save you any time in the end. It also all but guarantees a huge mess on your hands and your work surface. Of course, there is a better way, but the fastest and easiest way to peel tomatoes really depends on how many tomatoes you're peeling. 

If you're peeling ten pounds of tomatoes, you'll definitely want to blanch the whole batch. To start, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Next, score a shallow X into the skin on the bottom of each tomato. The key here is to use a very sharp knife, as a dull knife can easily squish a very ripe tomato. Once the water is boiling, drop the tomatoes in and blanch them for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. You'll know they're ready to come out when the skin starts to peel away from the tomato around the X. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of cold water before peeling. The tomato skins should slip off effortlessly. 

If you've only got a few tomatoes to peel, Serious Eats recommends the torch method. This technique requires either a gas burner or a kitchen torch, and you'll still want to score an X into the skin on the bottom of the tomato. For the stovetop burner, use tongs to rotate the tomato over the flame until it's just charred all over, then peel it under running water. For the kitchen torch, place the tomato on a heat-proof surface (like a cast iron skillet), and torch it on all sides. The intense heat from the flame will cause the moisture under the skin to turn into steam, allowing the skin to easily give way under running water.

No matter which method you choose, it will be faster, easier, and far less messy than the peel-the-tomato-skins-off-with-your-fingernails technique, guaranteed.