Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tomato Dust or Oven Dried Tomato Skins

Tomato Dust — Ground, Dried Tomato Skins
My first thought was that they were pretty, those tomato skins. There they were in a little bowl, squeezed between the saucepan of scalding water and a tall stock pot as I prepped for canning tomatoes.

The next thought was that I hated to waste them. Surely they could be put to good use. I say that about many items — well crafted boxes and sturdy shopping bags, especially—and I say that about people, too.

The pile rose higher.

So I took a break and consulted the oracle Twitter. Seems I wasn’t alone in my query as the Food52 community was discussing what to do with leftover tomato skins. Could they be dried in the oven and ground to a powder, one asked.

That comment brought to mind a sample packet of tomato powder picked up a few years ago from an O&CO shop in Paris. Whatever became of that little packet I do not know. Lost along the way, two addresses ago.

What that as my inspiration, I returned to canning and, four hours later, had 10 lovely quarts of tomatoes. A few were left over and they became a tomato-peach jam, which I will post about later.

While I did not measure the tomato skins, I would guess there was about one packed cup’s worth before drying— enough to cover one rimmed baking sheet. After drying and whirling in the coffee grinder (which I earnestly cleaned before and after), there was about a half cup of powder. That may not seem like much, but it’ll go a long way a pinch or so at a time.

This is how they look after several hours in the oven.

How to use it? I’ll add it to my soups and stocks, to tomato sauces and curries — pretty much anywhere tomato is welcome. It think it will make a pretty garnish for all manner of dishes — stuffed eggs, hummus and creamy cheeses. Dust some on a pizza or rim the edge of a cocktail glass.

And I will feel immensely happy that the skins did not go to waste.

Tomato Dust, aka Ground Dried Tomato Skins

Skins from tomatoes (preferably organic)

Cover the bottom of a large baking sheet with parchment. Spread the tomato skins on the surface, removing as many clumps as you can. Place in the oven at 200 degrees. Check every hour, turn them a bit as they dry, fluffing them up and removing clumps as you are able. Bake until they feel perfectly dry to the touch. I baked mine for about 4 hours. I turned the oven off and went to bed, leaving the sheet in the oven. The next day, I baked them for one more hour, just to be sure they were dry. Once cooled, grind to a fine powder using a spice or coffee mill. Store in an air tight container.


  1. Wanted to tell you that several years ago I had the same Epiphany. I started drying my tomato skins and grinding them to powder. Trial and error led me to 200 degrees for several hours turning off the oven and leaving overnight also. But I have a separate grinder that I use for spices and herbs so that was no problem. I use this powder for everything! Add it to soups, stews, chilli, make herb dips with it! All sorts of stuff. Also the skins of the tomato have MORE Licopene than any other part so using this powder is a healthy bonus! Good on you!

  2. I put the skins from roasted tomatoes in my, mini-blender along with olive oil, garlic and herbs, and a couple spoons of tomato flesh. Whir it up and freeze in ice cube trays for pizza topping or add to any sauce. Yum!


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