What to do with tomato skins and a simple recipe for tomato and peppercorn cashew cream cheese.
This is a slightly odd one so I’ll keep it short! Ideally you need a dehydrator and a decent spice grinder, but you can try it on the lowest possible oven setting, and grind with a pestle and mortar. You also need enough tomato skins to make it worth the faff!
I grow tomatoes. If you want to grow one thing, make it tomatoes. You don’t need much space, they will grow very happily in pots and hanging baskets on a sunny patio, and while they need reasonable and consistent attention, it isn’t rocket science.
You won’t regret growing tomatoes because they always taste so much better than any you buy in the supermarkets. Always.
To grow them, you need to do two things, google ‘grow tomatoes’, and investigate varieties for taste and size. I’m still exploring varieties, this year I grew Marmande Beef Tomatoes, and Black Cherry tomatoes. My salad tomatoes got the blight. However, I have had baskets of tomatoes on the kitchen table for over three months, and everyone tends to pop the cherry tomatoes in their mouths like candy.
I make passata to freeze, which is where this blog post comes in.
I personally don’t happen to like tomato skins in my passata and asian tomato sauces, so to make Mediterranean style sauces I either roast the tomatoes in a big roasting pan covered in foil, and remove the skins when they’re soft, before whizzing the pulp in the blender, or I blanche them in boiling water for ten minutes, and skin them before chopping and freezing for Asian dishes. I’ve probably got about a dozen packs of tomato based sauces in the freezer now that autumn’s here….
So. Call me mad, but I collected the tomato skins all summer long, and added them to a bag and froze them.
Now the tomatoes are all gone, (and dearly missed they are too), I have retrieved my collection of tomato skins, defrosted them, laid them out on a parchment sheet on a baking tray and put them in the oven on the lowest setting for an hour. Once they were less soggy, I transferred them to my dehydrator, again on parchment-lined trays, and set the dehydrator temperature at 40C.
If you dry vegetables at too high a temperature, they are liable to lose flavour.
When the skins were completely dry, (36-48 hours), I ground them into a powder which will keep for a couple of months in an airtight storage jar.
Tip: Once ground, if the powder is still even a little bit moist, put it back in the dehydrator (spread out on the parchment-lined trays) and give it another
blast for a few hours at 40C.
The powder can be added to anything that requires a tomato hit: sauces, soups, veggie stock powder, vegan cashew cream cheese, pizza……or anything else you can think of.
And that’s what you can do with tomato skins! #wastenot
A recipe for dreamy cashew cream cheese coated in tomato powder.
- 5oz/150g: cashew nuts – soaked in water for 4 hours
- 85mm: water-based kefir or rejuvelac or water
- 2tbs: live non-dairy yogurt (soya or coconut or homemade)
- A good pinch of salt.
- 1 garlic clove – crushed
- 1tbs. lemon juice.
- 3tbs. tomato powder
- 12 peppercorns
- 1tsp. dried fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp. paprika and a pinch of salt
Alternative coatings: dried herbs such as basil, parsley, sage, chives.
Coarse ground peppercorns mixed with nutritional yeast.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and leave at room temperature for anything between 12-36 hours. The mixture should develop a tang over time as it cultures/ferments.
Taste it. When you are happy with the taste, add the crushed garlic and the lemon juice. (These are optional additions, if you prefer a milder cheese then leave them out). Taste as you go.
Transfer the mixture into two lightly oiled ramekins, or a small pie dish (5 inch diameter max.) Smooth the top.
Bake in an oven at Gas Mark 5/ 190C/ 375F for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature, and then refrigerate for an hour.
In the meantime, put the coating ingredients: peppercorns, fennel seeds, tomato powder, paprika and salt in a spice grinder and grind until fine.
Remove cheeses from the refrigerator and slide a knife around the edge to loosen the cheese. Transfer the coating powder onto a plate and roll the cheeses in the coating until well-covered.These cashew tomato cream cheeses will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks…
except they will have been eaten long before then!
With crackers salad tomatoes olives…et al
Or, take a piece of hot toast and rub it with a freshly cut slice of garlic.
Then spread the cashew cheese generously on the toast and enjoy.