Hi again from Emma. I’ve been busy as heck because summer is coming to a close (Please say it isn’t so!) and I’m trying to pack in as much outside time as I can before our Midwest winter hits. One of the things I’ve been doing is making tomato powder from the skins I remove before canning my tomatoes.
I was told (by someone who has an excess of disposable cash) that drying tomato skins for powder is “cheap.” I replied that it is, indeed, cheap and it’s also great to have on hand! If you can tomatoes for sauce or any purpose you’re removing the skins. Most times they’re thrown in the trash, the compost bin, or fed to the chickens. The latter two things are great but I prefer making my own tomato powder from the skins. It’s a great use for them and yields a wonderful addition to sauces, stews, eggs, and so much more!
Making your own tomato powder is so easy! Of course you need tomatoes. If you have been throwing out the skins when you can your tomatoes, stop! Just follow these simple steps and use every bit of the tomatoes.
First wash the tomatoes. If you’re sure they haven’t been contaminated by insecticides or any other unwanted chemicals a good wash in water with a little white vinegar will be enough. Be sure to gently scrub off any leaf residue and dirt.
Drop the tomatoes, a few at a time, into boiling water. The skins will split in just a minute or two. Immediately drop them in a bowl of ice water. The skins will slip right off. Keep the skins in one bowl and the peeled tomatoes in another.
Smooth the tomato skins on the trays of your dehydrator or on a rack on a baking sheet in your oven. I use my Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator. This is the longest part of the process. You need to get as many of the folds out of the skins as you can. They’ll dry faster and better if they’re not lying there as little lumps of skin.
I set my dehydrator to 125 and turn the trays a quarter-turn every hour or so. It only takes a few hours to have very dry, crisp skins.
To turn your dried skins into tomato powder use a mortar and pestle, a spice grinder, or a coffee grinder. I throw mine in my little Cuisinart Smart Power© blender. It does a pretty good job of powdering the skins but I empty the cup into a little sieve and tap the powder through into a bowl and usually have to put the remaining flakes back into the blender. I’m hoping to get a Krupp coffee grinder for my birthday as I’ve heard great things about using it for powdering tomato skins, spices, and even *gasp* coffee!
Once I have enough powder to fill a half pint canning jar I seal it with my Food Saver© Jar Sealer. Whenever I want to make tomato soup or add a real punch of tomato flavor to a recipe I just pop open the jar and take out what I need.
Give making your own tomato powder a try! You’ll love the many uses and it truly gives one a feeling of accomplishment to see that full jar (or jars) of homemade tomato powder goodness.
Some Uses For Tomato Powder:
- Tomato paste: I hate dealing with a recipe that calls for only a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. I don’t want to waste the rest of the can but I don’t need the extra work of portioning the remaining paste and freezing it. I could buy the tubes of tomato paste and squeeze out the amount I need but too often the tube gets old and the paste turns an unappetizing brownish color before I can utilize it all. Instead, I use my tomato powder! I mix 2 parts powder to 1 part water to make as much or as little tomato paste as called for in my recipe.
- Tomato sauce: At the end of the long winter I may not have quite enough tomato sauce left or I may be keeping it for a specific purpose. Again, I turn to the tomato powder. I combine 1 part tomato powder to 6 parts water to make tomato sauce. To make the equivalent of a 15-oz can, I use 1/3 cup tomato powder and 2 cups of water.
- Tomato juice: John likes tomato juice but doesn’t drink enough to make it worth buying a big bottle. Some of my recipes use tomato juice, but again, not enough to make it worth buying a bottle. It’s much more economical to simply stir 2 tablespoons tomato powder into 8 ounces of cold water.
- Instant tomato soup: Sometimes John can’t really swallow foods that need to be chewed so soup is a comforting substitute. We both grew up on Campbell’s tomato soup. So I make John my homemade version. I stir 2 tablespoons of tomato powder into 8 ounces of boiling water. I add a little salt and pepper and a pinch of garlic powder and, sometimes, onion powder.
- Pizza sauce: Ordering pizza isn’t really worth it when John can’t eat much and the delivery cost for our rural setting is so expensive. If I’ve used the pizza sauce I’ve canned I can use my tomato powder. I combine 1/2 cup tomato powder and 1 1/2 cups water in a sauce pan. I first bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and stir in garlic and oregano to taste and a pinch of salt.