Every year I promise myself that I will take the extra steps to make tomato powder from my tomato peels. Every year it either gets tossed into the compost during clean up or they go bad in the fridge. This year’s promises did not ring empty!
The process of turning tomato peels to powder is not that laborious and involves just a few steps. I’ve outlined the steps along with a few tips below.
Step 1: Do not throw away your tomato peels! Reserve them in a jar to place in the fridge. If you don’t think you’ll get to the dehydrating step in the next couple of days store them in the freezer.
Step 2: Dehydrate those tomato peels! You can dry your peels in an oven or convection oven. Set it to the lowest temperature that you have available (usually 170-180º). The time it takes to dehydrate varies widely and depends on how thinly you spread out your tomato peels, how dry they are, and your temp settings. Watch them closely. They’ll go from wet, to leathery to brittle to burnt. You want to catch them at brittle enough to crumble in your fingers but not so far gone that they start to blacken or smell burnt.
Step 3: Grind those tomato peels! You can use a food processor, a mortar & pestle, or use a coffee grinder and just pulverize.
Step 4: Save in an air-tight container. Store the tomato powder away from your stove in the driest spot that you have available in your kitchen.
There are lots of recipes out there that can help you make tomato juice, tomato soup, tomato everything by rehydrating your tomato powder, but I think that I will work on taking advantage of its dry aspect. Nice concentrated tomato flavor without the excess moisture! Thinking rice and risottos, chilis, and salad dressings will be where they go first.
P.S. Peels from about 20 lbs worth of tomatoes almost filled a quarter-pint jar once dried and pulverized. This stuff is seriously tomato gold!