Waste not, want not

August 10, 2017

Tomato sauce, made from skins and cores most people would have thrown away.

And other things your mama told you. Like the starving children in China, and “Your face will freeze like that.”

Anyway. I am experimenting on just how much one can get out of two 30-pound boxes of tomatoes. To update the previous post, the final tally was:

  • 11 quarts of tomatoes
  • 17 pints of tomatoes
  • 5 quarts and two pints of tomato juice
  • and 16 half-pints of tomato sauce made from the skins and cores
  • Plus the 4 half-pints of roasted tomato-garlic sauce that was from the gallon or so of cherry tomatoes I had, and did all at the same time.

Well, I’m almost finished. I’m trying one more experiment. More on that later.

Meanwhile — this.

All that’s left. But maybe, maybe that’s not trash, either.

This was the waste left from two boxes of tomatoes after I got through making sauce from the skins and cores. I mean, less than four cups for close to 60 pounds of tomatoes (I cut out and trashed the egregious bad spots, along with three or four tomatoes that were just past saving). I learned how to make tomato sauce from the skins and cores you cut away when you’re canning tomatoes, last year; just makes sense to get as much as you can from whatcha got.

Essentially, one just saves the skins and cores (I added in probably a cup and a half of skins and cores from tomatoes I’d cooked for something earlier in the summer, and frozen), and simmer them for a few hours. I’d guess mine, more than a gallon of them, simmered four hours, give or take, which softens up everything, especially tomato pulp clinging to the skins.

Then one runs it through one’s trusty food mill, using the smallest plate, and simmers the resultant sauce a bit to thicken as much as you desire, before one cans.

I find that one half-pint jar of sauce to a quart of tomatoes makes the ideal consistency for chili or spaghetti gravy. For soup, I use tomatoes and tomato juice, and save some of the juice back for the best bloody Mary you ever had.

And it’s absolutely satisfying to have less than four cups of waste left from 60 pounds of tomatoes.

Except…it may not be waste. Because I? Am experimenting.

I was about to rake the remainders that didn’t make it through the food mill into the compost heap, when I thought to myself, “Self? You remember reading about tomato powder made from dehydrated tomato skins?” And Self replied, “Yeah, I remember that.” And I said, “Well, these are tomato skins.” And Self said, “Damned if they ain’t.”

OK, we’ll see how this works out. Report back later.

So I took the tomato skins, which were a thick paste at that point, and patted them out onto a half-inch thick layer on parchment paper on a baking sheet. They went in the oven at the “warm” setting, which is about 175F, where they’ll stay at least until bedtime, and possibly until in the morning. If they still have any gumminess left to them, I’ll break or cut them into smaller pieces and toss them in the dehydrator for a couple of days. Then they can go in the FoPro and we will have tomato powder.

At least theoretically.

I figured it was worth a shot. It, theoretically, ought to be good on top of scrambled or fried eggs, or on top of a gratin. Maybe with some smoked paprika or other mild chile powder. And if it’s not worth a damn, well, I can pitch it. But it would be a deeply satisfying thing to have used Every Damn Bit of those two boxes of tomatoes.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

When this tomato powder gets done, you ‘n y’mama ‘n’em come on up and we’ll make some biscuits and gravy and scrambled eggs and put tomato powder on top of ’em. We can see how well this experiment works.



One Response to “Waste not, want not”

  1. Kath the Cook Says:

    Last night I jarred up my second 3/4 batch of green mango relish, a wonderful savory (though it has sugar in it) relish (we grow mangos here in FL). Terrific in tuna salad, on a burger, in a meatloaf sandwich. Final tally: 7 pints and 18 half-pints. yes, very satisfying indeed. Kath the Cook

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