After cooking up a large batch of fresh marinara or salsa, you might find yourself wondering what to do with all of the tomato peels leftover. Before you toss them away, we have a genius solution to transform this food scrap into a delicious, one-ingredient (!) seasoning to help make the blandest of foods taste like a fresh bowl of spaghetti drenched in tangy tomato sauce.
So, how in the world is this even possible? Well, in a recent Instagram video by @plantyou, Carleigh Bodrug explained that by using your trusty air fryer, you can dehydrate tomato peels to turn them into an umami-rich tomato powder (read: magic fairy dust) to sprinkle on just about anything. Aside from giving dishes a punch of flavor, this superfood of a seasoning is packed with tons of health benefits that may take you by surprise.
What makes this tomato seasoning so good?
Yes, we already know that tomatoes make a mean BLT and a delicious Margherita pizza, but did you know that they're also packed with tons of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation? So seriously, as we said before, whatever you do, don’t throw your tomato peels away. In fact, research shows that a good chunk of a tomato's health benefits is actually found in the peel. Go figure.
So, what’s the big deal with the peels anyway? According to research, tomato peels are packed with lycopene, ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C), and phenolic contents, giving tomatoes their potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that boost heart health, fight free radicals, and can even help boost longevity. “Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been linked to improving blood pressure and cardiovascular health, reducing cholesterol, and fighting a variety of cancers,” says Laura Iu, RDN, CDN, CNSC, RYT, registered dietitian and founder of Laura Iu Nutrition, previously told Well+Good. Lycopene not only works wonders on the inside but also has been shown to help protect your skin from sun damage when consumed.
Although we know that tomato peels are our new BFFs, we totally understand that in some cases, the texture of a dish may benefit from their absence—like when you’re making a creamy, smooth tomato sauce. However, this genius trick for turning them into a powder can help you easily add them—and their nutrients—back into a dish and go pretty much undetected. Win, win.
How to turn tomato peels into an antioxidant-packed powder
In the below Instagram video by @plantyou, Carleigh Bodrug shows how to dehydrate tomato peels while preserving their nutritional value and shares how to use the seasoning on just about any dish. According to her, this fragrant tomato spice is particularly perfect for soups, curries, and stir-fries.
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To make her tomato powder recipe, Bodrug completely dries the reserved tomato skins by dehydrating them (which can be done in an air fryer or dehydrator) or by baking them at low heat in an oven until they're totally devoid of moisture. Whether you’re using the oven, a dehydrator, or your air fryer, you’ll want to let them dry for eight to 12 hours at about 135°F. Once crispy and cool, Bodrug transfers them into a blender or a coffee grinder and blends them until they become a fine powder. That's quite literally the entire process—it couldn't be easier.
Bodrug also shares that you can use this powder on its own or turn it into a seasoning blend for a chili powder, taco seasoning, or even a vegetable spice rub for even more flavor. And if you’re having a hard time peeling the tomato in the first place, she recommends slicing a cross at the top of the fruit and then boiling it in hot water for a few seconds to help loosen the skins.
Tomato powder recipe
Yields 5 servings
8-12 tomato skins
1. If making tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes, reserve the skins. Place them on a dehydrator sheet or parchment-lined baking sheet. Dehydrate at 135°F for 8 to 12 hours (or out in the sun).
2. Place the tomato skins in a coffee grinder or a blender, and grind until they are a fine powder. Store in a jar for up to two months.
Love tomatoes as much as we do? Try this stunning *and delicious* tomato galette recipe:
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