Since tomatoes are such ubiquitous ingredients there is bound to be waste. Waste is not just defined as tossing something into the waste bin and space it occupies in the landfills but actually all the energy it took to bring the tomato to market; fuel, lighting, irrigation, materials, and human resources.
Waste doesn’t have to be the case, starting with you, the home cook/chef.
This is more of an instructional “how-to” than it is a recipe. It’s also a call-to-action around that “waste not, want not” ethos in cooking.
Buy Seasonal Tomatoes
For me, this all starts with a farmer’s market or a store that knows how to procure the best produce. Not only does this drive demand giving those farmers a decent exchange for their tomatoes but it also gives you the absolute best tasting tomatoes – which is why I buy so many.
Ok, now that I have bag fulls of tomatoes at their peak I need to carve out some time to process Nature’s bounty. Some will be used immediately for salads, salsas, etc. but I’ll need a plan for all the rest.
Tomato Recipes – A.K.A. The Plan
- Tomato sauce.
- Tomato puree.
- Tomato water. For things like cocktails, braises, boosting Gazpacho, soups, etc.
- Tomato juice (seasoned).
- Stewed and jarred.
- Blanched and frozen. Not my favorite due to all the ice crystals that form.
These five simple paths will easily use up a ton of tomatoes. A ton. This is a good thing. Before I start down any path, I always core my tomatoes and generally blanch my tomatoes unless they are going to be roasted.
What To Do With Tomato Cores
Thus far I only have two uses. I either put them in my compost or I save them for a vegan demi-glace.
Next, you can go a few different routes and this is what is going to make you a better cook. Think “umami” here.
Tomato Powder Recipe
Pick a few lanes from above and blanch the tomatoes until the skin cracks apart. Take the skins off with some tongs (this should be super easy) and lay them shiny skin side down on a baking sheet in a toaster oven. Bake at 200º F / 93º C for an hour. This is essentially dehydrating them. This is way faster than dehydrating an entire tomato but if that’s your thing, go for it.
Once done, cooled, red and crispy put them in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or small Cuisinart to blitz them into a fine powder.
Or don’t. Use the dried tomato skins as an interesting side or plating effect for a larger dish.
Tomato Powder Uses
Here are some things you can aim for as an advanced home cook or someone looking to just experiment with some powder.
- Use in vinaigrettes
- In other spice blends / BBQ rubs
- In bread
- Spanish style rice
- Dusting over hor d’oeuvres, tacos, fancy thingies
- For various cocktails sprinkled in or along the rim with salt