What machine removes seeds and skins from tomatoes?

Tomatoes are a versatile fruit that are used in many dishes, from sauces to salads. While fresh tomatoes can be used as-is in some recipes, many recipes call for tomatoes that have had their skins and seeds removed. Removing the skins and seeds allows the tomato flesh to have a smoother texture and alters the flavor profile slightly. There are a few different machines that can be used to easily remove tomato skins and seeds, streamlining prep work in restaurant and home kitchens.

Tomato Peelers and Corers

One of the most common tomato skinning and seeding machines is a tomato peeler or corer. These compact machines have a chamber to hold a single tomato. When the handle is turned, the tomato is pressed against blades that slice off the skin and core out the seeds and jelly-like flesh in one motion. The skinned tomato pops out of the other end, ready for chopping or puréeing.

Advantages of tomato peelers and corers:

  • Simple, inexpensive, and compact
  • Easy to use – just insert tomato and turn handle
  • Removes skin and seeds in one step
  • Prepares one tomato at a time

Major brands of tomato peelers include Messermeister, Prepworks, and Splash Proof.

Electric Tomato Peelers

Electric tomato peelers provide an automated approach to skinning tomatoes. They typically have a hopper or chute to hold multiple tomatoes. The tomatoes are fed through mechanically, where rotating blades skin and core the tomatoes. The skinned tomatoes come out the other end into a collection container or directly onto a work surface.

Advantages of electric tomato peelers:

  • Fast, high-volume processing
  • Can peel multiple tomatoes in under a minute
  • Minimal effort – just load tomatoes and let machine work
  • Consistent results batch after batch

Popular commercial electric tomato peelers are made by companies like Univex, Hobart, and FAM.

Commercial Tomato Processing Equipment

In large commercial tomato processing facilities, specialized industrial machines are used to peel tons of tomatoes per hour. The equipment is designed to work continuously, rapidly peeling tomatoes coming down a conveyor system.

Industrial tomato peelers use one of two methods:

  • Lye peeling – Tomatoes pass through a lye (sodium hydroxide) bath, which causes the skins to split and loosen. The tomatoes then go through high-pressure spray nozzles that wash the loosened skins off.
  • Steam peeling – Tomatoes pass through a steam chamber, which heats them until the skins split. An abrasive surface then rubs the skins off as the tomatoes pass through the peeling machine.

After peeling, the tomatoes often go through finisher machines which remove any remaining peel and then core the tomatoes. Other machines may dice, crush, or purée the tomatoes once they are peeled and cored.

Advantages of industrial tomato peelers:

  • Extremely high throughput, peeling tons of tomatoes per hour
  • Continuous operation
  • Fully automated process
  • Allows large-scale tomato processing

Major industrial tomato peeler manufacturers include Anko, Shirashaki, and JBT FoodTech.

Comparison of Tomato Peelers

Peeler Type Scale Throughput Ease of Use Price Range
Tomato peeler (hand-cranked) Home or small restaurant 1 tomato at a time Easy $10-$30
Electric tomato peeler Restaurant or small processing facility Up to 100 lbs/hr Easy $300-$1000
Industrial tomato peeler Large tomato processor 1-20 tons/hr Requires trained operator $50,000-$500,000

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Tomato Peeler

Here are some key factors to think about when selecting tomato peeling equipment for your needs:

  • Volume – How many tomatoes do you need to peel in a day? Select a hand peeler for small batches or an electric/industrial peeler for large volumes.
  • Labor – A hand crank peeler requires more hands-on work compared to automated electric/industrial units.
  • Space – Larger electric and industrial units require more floor space in a food processing facility.
  • Cost – Prices range dramatically depending on the peeling technology and capacity.
  • Food safety – Industrial lye peelers require handling hazardous chemicals, while steam peelers avoid this.

It’s important to consider all of these factors and select the right tomato peeling equipment that aligns with your production needs and facilities.

Using a Tomato Peeler

While operation will vary by model, here are some general tips for using a tomato peeler safely and effectively:

  • Wash tomatoes thoroughly first to remove any dirt.
  • Remove stems from tomatoes before peeling.
  • Hand-crank and electric peelers: Place a tomato into chamber and turn handle to peel. Repeat.
  • Industrial lye peeler: Wear proper PPE and carefully monitor lye concentration. Rinse all tomatoes thoroughly after peeling.
  • Collect peeled tomatoes in a sanitized container. Use promptly or refrigerate.
  • Clean peeler thoroughly after each use, especially blades.

Be sure to consult the user manual for full safety and usage guidance for your particular tomato peeling appliance.

Maintenance for Tomato Peelers

Proper maintenance keeps tomato peelers in good working order:

  • Cleaning – Follow manufacturer cleaning instructions. Typically wash all surfaces with hot soapy water or sanitizing solution after use. Disassemble parts if needed.
  • Blade sharpening – Use a sharpening stone or sharpening steel to maintain a razor-sharp blade edge.
  • Lubrication – Keep moving parts oiled or greased as per user manual.
  • Inspections – Check for any worn or damaged parts. Replace parts as needed.
  • Calibration – For industrial peelers, calibrate sensors and systems periodically.

With proper care, a high-quality tomato peeler should deliver many years of reliable service for any kitchen or tomato processing facility.


Tomato peelers and corers provide an efficient way to remove tomato skins and seeds for cooking, canning, and processing. Options range from simple hand-cranked units for home use to industrial peelers that can process tons of tomatoes per hour. While the technology varies, all tomato peelers offer a fast, consistent way to get peeled, cored tomatoes ready to use in recipes. Choosing the right tomato peeler depends on the volume of tomatoes needed and the available space and budget. With appropriate operation and maintenance, tomato peelers can be an indispensible kitchen prep tool or critical piece of large-scale tomato processing equipment.

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