Tomatoes are a wonderful food. You can grow them easily in a home garden or in a pot on your balcony. They are hardy and very versatile. There are many different ways you can use tomatoes to create delicious dishes. You can even them straight off the vine, with no muss or fuss.
Like most other fruits and vegetables, tomatoes do not have a long shelf life. When you get a great deal at the store or have a bumper crop of your own, you may have so many tomatoes left that you can’t use them all before they go bad.
Luckily, there is a way you can keep enjoying the sweet taste of tomatoes long after their shelf life has expired. This is possible by making tomato powder. Learn more about this interesting idea, including how to make it and how to use it.
What It Is
Tomato powder is pretty self-explanatory. As the name suggests, it is simply tomatoes made into a powder by dehydrating and then grinding them. It can then be rehydrated or used in powder form in many different ways. The powder can be stored for far longer than a ripe tomato and takes up much less space.
It allows you to use every part of the tomato, no matter what stage of ripeness it is in, which is why it is becoming popular among those looking for economical food ideas.
It is also popular among those wanting to eat less processed foods and foods without additives. It can even be organic if you use organic tomatoes.
How to Make Tomato Powder
Making tomato powder is a pretty easy process, but it takes some time. Block off a little time for prep and finishing it up. The rest of the time is the dehydrating process, which can be hands-off if you are using a dehydrator. You can begin with ripe tomatoes, or you can use tomatoes that have been frozen or even canned. You also can use peels and pulp. Cut whole tomatoes into even slices and smaller tomatoes, such as grape or cherry, in half. Then, follow these steps to make the powder:
An alternative way to make this requires you to grind the tomatoes first into a paste. Spread that onto parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet on your pans or trays and then proceed to step three to dehydrate them. You will need to break the puree up into chunks and grind again after it is dried. Some people prefer this because it allows for more even drying and can make it easier to know the exact time it will take every time you make it. Plus, it is helpful if you are using different types of tomatoes or have peels and scraps you are using.
How to Use Tomato Powder
There are as many ways to use tomato powder as there are to use fresh tomatoes, maybe even more. You can use it as you would use tomatoes in sauces and soups. Try using it in pizza or spaghetti sauce. Sub it in for tomatoes in ketchup or BBQ sauce. Sprinkle it on foods for a little zing. It also acts as a
good flavorful thickener for soups.
Here’s a look at some recipe ideas:
- Sprinkle it on scrambled eggs
- Add it to a vinaigrette
- Add it to warm water or milk to create tomato soup
- Mix with parmesan cheese for a popcorn topper
- Boost a Bloody Mary with a dash of it
- Mix with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread
- Create a yummy dip by mixing with cream cheese and herbs
You can use tomato powder as a substitute for tomatoes in almost any recipe. It is simple to turn the powder into a paste, sauce, or juice by adding various amounts of water. Here are the formulas:
- For paste: one part powder to two parts water
- For sauce: one part powder to six parts water
- For juice: two parts powder to eight parts water
Use these basic formulas to create paste, sauce, and juice to use in a variety of recipes. Substitute it in for processed, salt-packed canned versions and relish the fresher taste. You can adjust as you feel is needed to create the consistency you like best. Just remember, straight powder is very strong tasting.
Tips for Using Powdered Tomato
Here are some final tips to use as you embark on making tomato powder:
- If you make tomato power, only make it in small batches. It will lose flavor over time. If you have a large amount of tomatoes that will make more powder than you can use, just freeze them until you need more powder.
- It is best to use a dehydrator. You will minimize burning and the process is faster. Using an oven takes twice as long.
- If you do use an oven, you must check it often. Also, leave the oven door open slightly. This will help decrease the time required.
- When you cut whole tomatoes to use, make sure the slices are all the same size. This will help with even dehydration.
- If you use frozen, overly ripe or other tomatoes that are hard to slice, use the puree method to make the powder instead.
- Roma tomatoes are the easiest to use because they have low water content. This means they dehydrate faster than other varieties.
- You can use the whole tomato, seeds and peels included.
- Remember the powder is highly concentrated. The flavor is very strong, so a little goes a long way. Add a small amount. If you need more, you can add it in small pinches.
- Make sure your blender or food processor is completely dry before using it. You do not want moisture introduced into your powder.
- If you make a larger batch of powder than you can use, freeze it.
These tips should help you to have a better time creating the powder and getting the most from it. You will likely find some tricks of your own as you begin making it more often. Most people find after a few times, they get good at knowing exactly how long the dehydration takes. In addition, experiment with using it. You may come up with your own recipes, and you should get comfortable knowing how much to add. It can be a little trial and error at first.
Tomato powder comes packed with big flavor, but it also has all the nutritional benefits of its plumper counterpart. It is loaded with vitamins C and A. These vitamins help with eye health and boost your immune system. It also contains lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps fight osteoporosis and has been shown to fight prostate cancer. It may also help to reduce the risks for many chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke.
Tomatoes are also low in fat and contain no cholesterol. They are low in calories and high in fiber. Because you are making the powder, you know it contains no preservatives or additives. It is 100 percent tomato. These things all make tomato powder a healthy addition to any diet.
Now that you know all you need to know about tomato powder, you probably are itching to get to the store and buy some or start picking them from your garden. Keep in mind all the tips and advice in order to have the best experience. Once you make your first batch, start trying out all the ideas for how to use it. Find what you like best. Above all, keep making this powder to provide a healthy food option.
Katy Willis is a writer, lifelong homesteader, and master herbalist, master gardener, and canine nutritionist. Katy is a preparedness expert and modern homesteader practicing everyday preparedness, sustainability, and a holistic lifestyle.
She knows how important it is to be prepared for whatever life throws at you, because you just never know what's coming. And preparedness helps you give your family the best chance to thrive in any situation.
Katy is passionate about living naturally, growing food, keeping livestock, foraging, and making and using herbal remedies. Katy is an experienced herbalist and a member of the CMA (Complementary Medical Association).
Her preparedness skills go beyond just being "ready", she's ready to survive the initial disaster, and thrive afterward, too. She grows 100% organic food on roughly 15 acres and raises goats, chickens, and ducks. She also lovingly tends her orchard, where she grows many different fruit trees. And, because she likes to know exactly what she's feeding her family, she's a seasoned from-scratch cook and gluten-free baker.
Katy teaches foraging and environmental education classes, too, including self-sufficient living, modern homesteading, seed saving, and organic vegetable gardening.
Katy helps others learn forgotten skills, including basic survival skills and self-reliance.
She's been published on sites such as MSN, Angi, Home Advisor, Family Handyman, Wealth of Geeks, Readers Digest, and more.