Gardening season has us running mad through our gardens like a wild child, weeds in our frizzled post-canning hair, dust between our toes... I prattle on too much about myself perhaps. But with most of us SQUEEZING the most out of our hard earned harvest, here is just one more way of stretching your veggies in a unique way.
If you find yourself feeling wasteful tossing those lovely, fragrant and red tomato skins, don't fret I have the perfect fix. It will stock your shelves, use those skins and give you countless ways to liven up your meals, snacks and drinks (Bloody Mary Anyone?)...
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Back to the good stuff....
Next time you are canning those maters, just hang on to the skins and pop them into your dehydrator for a day or so until dried out. Toss them into a processor, magic bullety-thingy, or what I use- a dedicated coffee grinder, this one to be exact, that is for non-coffee items! Grind them all up and PRESTODIGIMAGIC you have tomato powder. Organic tomato powder can go for the top end of $20 a pound online, so you save BIG bucks by salvaging those skins from the compost pile. Out of one 25 pound batch of tomato sauce I was able to dry and grind up almost a full cup of powder for a whooping ZERO cents (ok, I may be dramatic here... I am sure a few pennies went to the power company from using the grinder).
I used a canning funnel to get the dried bits into the grinder, but I still made a mess. But it is well worth it! So now you have your powder, but what's next? Well here are some uses:
1 Part Tomato Powder to 2 Parts Water
6 Tablespoons Tomato Powder + 3 Tablespoons Water = 1, 6oz. Can Tomato Paste
1 Part Tomato Powder to 4 Parts Water
1/2 Cup Tomato Powder + 2 Cups Water = 1, 15oz. Can Sauce
Tomato Juice (This is for the Bloody Mary folks... or, you know- whatever)
1 Part Tomato Powder to 10 Parts Water
3/4 Cup Tomato Powder + 8 Cups Water = 1, 64oz. Bottle of Juice
Now that you have some great ideas on using it, the possibilities are endless. From pizza sauce to making your own taco seasoning, you can use it to beef up your soups and stews, and I have even heard of folks sprinkling it on bread dough and crackers! If you have a way you like to use tomato powder I would love to hear about it, feel free to comment and share.