Grilling Tomatoes- The Smart Way to Prepare for Canning

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If you are anything like me, then this is the time of year where you are frantically trying to save the tomatoes from your garden or the farmer’s market.

Grilling Tomatoes

I always try to put up either diced tomatoes or make homemade salsa. I love home canned salsa. It goes like hotcakes in my house and I can’t wait for the end of summer to make and bottle more.

HOWEVER! The process of canning salsa is pretty much the worst. It is messy, it is hot, it is exhausting, it always takes longer than I remember.

My very least favorite part of the process is peeling the tomatoes. Conventionally, to peel tomatoes, you #1 get a big pot of water boiling.

#2  Dip each tomato in it for a few seconds.

#3 remove said tomato and place it on ice.

#4 Peel the skin off.

#5 Repeat 11,000 times.

Doing this process without

#1 burning the bejeezus out of your fingers

#2 getting tomato drippings on every single surface of your kitchen

#3 using 20+ bowls and

#4 becoming dehydrated from sweating so much, is nearly impossible. It seriously looks like a violent crime has been committed in your kitchen after “the tomato peeling.”

Several years ago I got a bright idea when I was trying to make this process more streamlined. I thought,  “Instead of boiling the tomatoes, why don’t I grill a whole bunch of them at a time?” It has seriously been a game changer for more reasons than one!

Now instead of the boiling pot of water, I always grill my tomatoes. It not only makes it easier for me to peel them, but it has other benefits as well. Roasting  the tomatoes intensifies the sweet tomato-ey flavor and it reduces the amount of liquid in the tomato (which makes your canned product less watery.) This is especially important if you are using more of the slicing variety of tomato instead of a paste tomato.

These benefits makes for a better tasting, and better textured outcome. Seriously.

This is the process I use. It might seem like there are more steps, but it is a more streamlined process. You can do lots of tomatoes at once. Plus you won’t heat up your kitchen and it won’t be disasterville when you get done.

#1 Wash and remove stems of tomatoes.

#2 Core tomatoes (I use a tomato corer for this and would highly recommend using one of those.)

Grilling Tomatoes


#3 Cut tomatoes in half

#4 Try to remove seeds and goo surrounding the seeds (which I just learned is called seed jelly) into the sink or a garbage bowl. This will help in further reducing the liquid from your salsa. And who likes seeds in their salsa or canned tomatoes?

grilling tomatoes

#5 Place an entire bowl of tomatoes skin side down on a preheated grill. (I can do a big giant bowl all at once, but it will depend on the size of your grill.)

grilling tomatoes

#6 Roast until the skin starts to just blacken a bit, they tomato will start to bubble juices from just under the skin and the skin may even start to fall away.

preparing tomatoes on the grill

#7 Remove them carefully with tongs and place in another bowl.

grilling tomatoes

#8 LET THEM COOL FOR A WHILE (possibly while you prepare another bowl to put on the grill.)

#9 Once they are cool enough to handle, slide the skins off the tomatoes and place the naked ones in another bowl.

grilling tomatoes

#10 Prepare them for your recipe (either dice them or chop them or leave them how they are.)

grilling tomatoes

I hope you will try this method in preparing your tomatoes this year.

Grilling tomtaoes

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