Some of the tomatoes were ripe and ready to eat.
But I had more red, ripe tomatoes than I could consume in salads the next few days, but not quite enough for lazy me to go through the canning process for a small batch of tomatoes.
(I also have quite enough canned to last me through the winter months.)
Then, I remembered that I had seen a segment on Gourmet Magazine TV: Diary of a Foodie, that aired on my PBS station last Sunday. A recipe that was featuerd was an ingenious method to make tomato powder.
I was intrigued.
This recipe seemed like a perfect solution to preserve the tomatoes that I had just harvested.
I had to try this method…!
And try I did... and it was a simple, fabulous, and a very different way to use tomatoes in a recipe
So I will to share my new-found kitchen magic with all of you, my dear blog readers.
(recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine TV: Diary of a Foodie, Season Two: The Inventors.)
In a sheetpan, place a non-stick liner (such as a Silpat mat).
Preheat oven to 175ºF with rack placed in the center of the oven.
Cut the tomatoes crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and arrange in a single layer on the non-stick mat.
Dry the tomato slices in oven, turning over once, until completely dehydrated and crisp.
In my temperamental oven, the drying time took 5 hours.
It make take a bit less so watch carefully near about the 4 hour mark.
I did not mind being a ”tomato sentry” for an hour as the gentle warmth of the stove was welcomed as I sat in my kitchen nook, watched the first dusting of wet snow out the window, read emails and wrote a blog post for another day.
When all the tomato slices felt crisp and crumbly to the touch, I moved the silpat off the warm sheet pan and set it on the counter to let the dried tomato slices cool throughly.
When cool, crumble the tomato slices into an electric coffee/spice grinder.
Grind to a fine powder.
Transfer the ground essence from the grinder to a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl.
Use a wooden or metal spoon to push powder through sieve.
Discard any pieces or seeds that remain.
Each 8 ounces of fresh tomatoes that I dried, (2 medium tomatoes),
yielded about 2 Tablespoons of the bright and intensely flavored Tomato Powder.
In an airtight container at room temperature, this tomato powder keeps indefinitely.
I stored mine in an old French jam jar with a rubber seal.
This rich tasting Tomato Powder is delicious tossed with garlic-buttered pasta or sprinkled over a fresh green salad that has been dressed with a vinegarette.
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A Bonus Tuesday Tip:
Cleaning the Spice Grinder
I have small electric grinder that I reserve solely for spices and my home-dried herbs.
At present I use a 5 year-old Krups coffee grinder.
But whatever you have (and there are some great spiffy new models out there) it needs to be cleaned between uses.
After use, I tap the body of the grinder and dump the dregs, then I gently wipe with a barely damp cloth.
Then I grind two or three batches of plain inexpensive white rice to remove the remains of the spice that was ground. I find that this also effectively removes the aroma as well.
After I dispose of the last batch of ground rice, I wipe the cap and grinder interior with a slightly damp cloth (unplug FIRST please…! )
Let the grinder air dry, et viola..!
You now have a clean, fresh grinder without residue or odors for your next batch of your own personal blend of fresh spices.