Don’t Peel Your Tomatoes: You Lose Nutrients!

Don't peel your tomatoes

Do you want to know why you shouldn’t peel your tomatoes?

Because by removing the peel, you remove nutrients. And a LOT of it. For example, 98% of flavonols, a plant-based anti-oxidant, occurs in the the skin of the tomato compared to 2% in the flesh and seeds! 

In this article I will discuss:

Why do you peel tomatoes?

There are two main reasons why you would peel tomatoes: For enhanced flavour and uniform texture.

When you want to make soups, pureés and sauces, the texture is important.

You don’t want chucky bits in there. That is especially true if you want to end up canning the tomatoes.

The decision to peel or not to peel your tomatoes, depends on what variety of tomatoes you have.

Certain varieties like Beefsteak and Roma (which was specifically bred for canning and drying) have much thicker skin than the average tomato.

These varieties you would probably want to peel.

With varieties with a thinner skin, the decision is ultimately yours.

Tomato skins also contain flavonols, a plant-based anti-oxidant, which gives of a bitter taste and can affect the taste of your dish.

When would you prefer not to peel tomatoes?

When you want to keep the tomatoes intact during the cooking process.

When you make dishes like salads, tacos, gnocchi or vegetable cassoulet, you don’t need to peel the tomatoes.

In fact, like in case of gnocchi or vegetable cassoulet, you want to keep the skin on to keep the tomato intact throughout the cooking process.

But I will give you another reason why you would prefer not to peel tomatoes, and that has all to do with NUTRITION.

Why shouldn't you peel tomatoes?

Because by peeling the tomato, you remove a whole heap of nutrients.

Studies have shown that the skin of tomatoes contain nutrients like amino acids, flavonols, lycopene, phenolic acids, ascorbic acid, zinc, selenium and calcium, amongst others.

And some of these nutrients occur mostly in the skin, like in the case of flavonols as mentioned earlier.

Final thoughts

Granted, there are going to be instances where you will want to peel the tomatoes.

And that’s OK, some nutriens lost here and there in a dish is certainly not going to harm you.

But what I do reccomend, however, is that when you use tomatoes in a dish, peel them only when it is really necessary.

Otherwise, leave the skin on and get a good dose of extra nutrients.

Happy cooking!