Do NOT toss them out! there is still ways to use up nearly every last bit of them!
I do two things : Make tomato Juice and Tomato Powder
Let me start by saying how i get to this point. There are many ways to can tomatoes. Canning them whole without cleaning out the seeds etc is one way. I usually do not do this. I prefer to cut them in half, clean the seeds and "guts" out of the tomatoes and then either can them in half, or make into canned marinara sauce, chili etc.
So this process of making tomato juice and tomato powder comes from wanting to use up and not waste any parts of the tomato if I can help it.
My tomatoes are homegrown organic in my own garden,but if you are canning tomatoes you purchased else where make sure they did not have any pesticides or chemicals sprayed on them. You want organically grown tomatoes for this project.
If you do use heirloom and not hybrid tomatoes you can save the seeds to grow next year, but this will only work with heirloom tomatoes. Hybrid tomatoes (Most sold in big box garden centers) will grow you a plant, but not necessarily any tomatoes will come of it.
Now, lets get started. Here is a big pot of my peeled, halved, and cleaned out tomatoes simmering on the stove;
- First I pull out all the skins from the pile of skins/scraps from the tomatoes I canned. and set them aside.
- Then I take all the pulpy tomato seeds and bits that didn't make it into the canned tomatoes and put them in a fine mesh strainer a little at a time.
- Using my hand or the back of a large spoon. I pressed all the juice out of them into a bowl.
- Dump out the remaining seeds from the strainer. Using a 2nd bowl, run the juice from the first bowl through the strainer one more time to remove any seeds that may have made it through the first strainer.
Store juice in freezer for up to 3 months, refridgerate for up to 2 weeks or can using proper canning techinques. (My hubby loves cold tomato juice, so I put it in the fridge for him to drink).
The tomato powder is perfect to add to soups and sauces. Perfect way to thicken up a too runny batch of chili or even spaghetti sauce. Mix into homemade dressings such as ranch and itialian. I could go on and on.
Dehydrate the skins and pulp remnants and grind them into tomato powder.
- Lay all the skins out on your dehydrating tray.
- I dehydrate them on a low setting about 10 hours or until they are very crumbly.
- I would bet you can do this in your oven set at lowest temperature on a baking sheet for serveral hours or even sun dry them outside in the sun for sun dried tomatoes.
- Store dried tomato in a glass canning jar in the freezer over night. (The skins grind into powder better if they are super cold first).
- Using a stick blender (like I am ) or other food processor, grind the frozen tomato flakes into powder
Store in airtight container in freezer till ready to use.