My sixteen year old grandson likes to tease me that I am a witch. My friends here in Florida think I am that strange friend that makes weird stuff in her kitchen. I am really just a preserver who likes to know where her food is coming from. I think it is best to use as much of a food as possible. My humble opinion is that many of the ailments we are discovering in our population, especially the children, may be stemming from the fact that the food supply is becoming more and more refined and selective.
Our grandparents frugally used as much of a food as possible. Animals were processed and eaten snout to tail and usually the more perishable parts, like the liver, were eaten first. Now only the more appealing, select parts of an animal are offered up, wrapped in plastic and on a Styrofoam tray in our markets. My grandchildren probably have never seen, much less tasted, many animal parts. (Although, if they have spent much time with Grandma, they do get the opportunity to try out those “parts” that we delight in, like beef tongue.)
I hold the same belief about vegetables. Any gardener cringes at wasting any eatable part of something they have planted and nurtured to maturity. Wasted time and effort? Not a chance! A freshly pulled beet offers more than just a root to be savored. Look at those lush leaves at the top! There is an entirely different opportunity in the kitchen; two dishes from one plant. When beets are to be found in a supermarket they usually have but a few inches of the top’s stems if any at all.
All of this leads me to making tomato powder, or Fairy Dust as I call it (I’m a witch, remember?) When my supply of home canned tomato sauce begins to diminish, I buy a case of organic tomatoes (Why buy? Because I still haven’t got the hang of successfully growing tomatoes in Florida). I grind the tomatoes through an attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer, which strains out the skins and seeds. Maybe in another post I will tell you how I make the tomato sauce but today I want to tell you about those skins and seeds. They could be composted, or even worse thrown away! No, not in my kitchen! They are food!
Here is what I am talking about:
I dehydrate this stuff until it is crispy. I can even pick it up:
I stuff the dried material into a pint canning jar that I use exclusively with my blender.
Remarkably, the opening of the jar is an exact fit for the blade components of my blender.
I invert the jar and blade and blend away until I produce a fairly fine powder. I sift out any large pieces and grind them up too.
Then I put the powder into a bottle for storage.
This lovely powder is a great addition to my kitchen. It makes a wonderful addition to soup, sprinkled over a salad for a “wow” factor, and many other uses. I can add some boiling water to a tablespoon of it to make tomato paste. Imagine, on demand tomato paste that lasts indefinitely on my pantry shelf! And as a nod to the whimsy I love, I call it my Fairy Dust. (Want to know what my Pixie Dust is? Mushrooms that I rescued from the markdown bin at the store, dehydrated, and ground.)
As my Mom always said: “Waste not, want not.” Do you have a creative way to use a food that might be wasted otherwise?