Conserve your tomatoes in a way that saves space by making a super versatile tomato powder. Learn how to make tomato powder, and how to use it.
The other day I shared with you how to make an easy tomato paste as a great way to conserve tomatoes from your garden. Today, I'll show you another great way to conserve tomatoes, probably my favorite way, without needing to freeze them or can them. I love dehydrating tomatoes and either serving them as is over salads, or grinding them into a powder that can be used in soups, stews, chilis, or as a great topping for nuts and homemade tortilla chips.(I'll be sharing my recipe for paleo Doritos-like chips soon!)
Making them is as easy as slicing the tomatoes and drying them somehow. You can make sun-dried tomatoes if you are in a warm, sunny, dry area, but here it tends to be pretty humid and cool by the time I'm looking to conserve my tomatoes. For me it's easier to use a dehydrator instead. Even if you do sun dry your tomatoes, you may need to throw them into the dehydrator for a little while to make sure they are really dry enough to be ground into a powder.
How to make tomato powder and dehydrated tomatoes
How to Make Tomato Powder & Dehydrated Tomatoes
Makes around 8 ounces
- 8 lbs. tomatoes
- Rinse the tomatoes well and remove the stems.
- Slice the tomatoes thinly and place the tomato slices on baking sheets or dehydrator trays, spreading the tomatoes out so that they are not touching or on top of each other.
- If using an oven, bake the tomatoes at the lowest temperature, using the oven fan if you have one. If using a dehydrator, dry on a low setting. either way, continue to dry the tomatoes until they are dry and brittle. You want the tomatoes to be brittle because that's a good sign that you have thoroughly removed the moisture from the tomatoes. If they are still flexible, they likely have a tiny bit of moisture still. It's a good idea to flip the tomatoes partway through the process, especially if using the oven.
- Once the tomatoes are completely dry, you can leave them as is, storing them in an airtight container or in a jar with olive oil (see instructions below). You my want to first slice them into strips for using on salads.
- If you want to make tomato powder, you will want to grind the tomatoes into a powder using a blender or food processor. I find it easier to first cut the tomato slices into smaller pieces and then grind them into a powder in the blender. If the powder isn't fine enough, you can switch to a coffee grinder to finish grinding the powder.
How to store dried tomatoes
Store dried tomato slices in an airtight container, preferably one without a lot of extra airspace, in the fridge. If you store them in plastic bags, try to remove as much air as possible before sealing them. You can store the dried tomatoes at room temperature, if needed, but it's a good idea to keep them in the fridge to help keep mold forming on them in case you haven't thoroughly dehydrated them. If you should see mold developing, you'll want to toss them.
You can also choose to store dried tomato slices or strips in olive oil in the fridge, but they won't keep as long as dried tomatoes without oil. To help bring out the acidic flavor of the tomatoes, dip them into vinegar before placing them into the oil. I like using dried tomatoes stored in oil for topping salads or working into spreads like hummus.
How to store tomato powder
Tomatoes take up a lot of room because of their water content, but tomato powder doesn't take up very much room at all. If you store it in in an airtight container in the fridge, it is said to last indefinitely. That is, of course, if you did a good job of dehydrating the tomatoes well from the beginning, which is also important for easy grinding into a powder.
How to use tomato powder
Tomato powder is incredibly useful to have around because of its versatility. Not only is tomato powder great for seasoning my homemade flaxseed tortilla chips, adding to soups, stews, ground beef for tacos, etc., but it can also be mixed with a bit of water for an instant tomato sauce, tomato paste or tomato soup! Add it to cream cheese to make a tasty spread. I guess you can add it to just about anything to add a healthy flavor kick.
How to make tomato sauce from tomato powder
Depending upon how thick you want the final sauce to be, you will want to add somewhere around 1 part of water to 1 part tomato powder. For more of a tomato paste, you will want to use a little less water, or begin with a 1:1 ratio and later simmer it down to the desired consistency. For a thinner sauce for something like enchiladas, you will want to add more water. Simmer the powder with the water while stirring to fully dissolve the powder and thicken the sauce.
Do you love tomato powder as much as I do?
I'd love to hear how you use it!