It is officially the Time of Bounty again. You’ve sown your seeds, cared for their sprouts, transplanted and top dressed the healthiest growers and are now harvesting a bounty of tomatoes and squash and corn and maybe even peppers from your garden several times a week if not every day.
This wonderful process leaves you full of pride while feeding you, your family and maybe even a few friends and yet you’ll probably still have too many tomatoes to eat fresh. So, you pull out the canner, jars, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Several hours later, you may be exhausted, but you also have some beautiful, home canned, whole, diced, stewed or crushed tomatoes. If you were feeling especially inspired before you started, you may even have some sauce, jam or salsa to put on the shelf.
Now, the question is, what do you do with all of those tomato skins? Of course, they can go to the chickens or into the compost. If you’re working with a very large batch of tomatoes, you might throw them into their own pot and simmer all of the tomato goodness still stuck to the skin down into a delicious tomato sauce or paste of it’s own (but that takes another burner and many hours of stirring and watching and…more stirring in the hot kitchen). If you’re like me, though, and working with smaller batches of tomatoes, you’ll make some tomato powder.
How to make Tomato Powder
- Wash, blanch and ice-water-bath your tomatoes to remove their skins.
- Place the skins on your dehydrator trays in a single layer.
- Turn your dehydrator on and leave it alone for 6-12 hours.Depending on your dehydrator, you can either put it on Low or Medium. The lower the temperature, the more nutrients your skins will retain, and the longer they will take to dehydrate.
- When your skins are done they will be thin like paper and very crispy.
- Remove your skins from the trays (a few pieces will stick, it’s OK).
- Toss them into a blender (or food prossesor) and blend for a minute or two.
- Keep an eye on the texture…do you want a fine powder or are you OK with a few flakes in there too? I’m OK with a few flakes in there.
- Pour your powder/flakes into a storage container and label it.
- Some people keep their powder in the fridge, I keep mine on the pantry shelf.
Uses for Tomato Powder
- Sprinkle on scrambled eggs for a little kick
- Sprinkle into grilled cheese for a healthy surprise
- Sprinkle into ground beef as it’s cooking (Tacos, anyone?)
- Add it into burgers along with the other spices of your choice. I love salt, pepper, garlic powder and tomato powder in mine
- Re-hydrate it into a juice, paste or a soupUse your own best judgement and taste buds for ratios of water to powder. Don’t forget to add a bit of salt
- Add it into a soup or stew for flavor (it’s almost beef stew weather time)
Benefits of Tomato Powder
- Less waste of every little bit of your hard earned tomatoes. Need I say more? OK…
- Taste. Who doesn’t like the taste of tomatoes? Dehydrating them condenses their flavor, so a little goes a long (delicious) way.
- Nutrients. Niacin, B6, vitamin C, antioxidants, lycopenes…a little bit of iron and calcium, too,
Regardless of why you do it, making tomato powder is an excellent way to get a little more bang for your buck while also tickling your taste buds a bit. Enjoy!