This year in our area, the tomato harvest was a little slower getting going due to cooler weather well into the spring-time months. I was a little worried for a while that those tomato plants, despite loving care and lots of gentle coaxing wouldn’t do much. Once the hot summer days rolled in, I was pleasantly surprised to see my plants take off and start producing like crazy. Here at the homestead, tomatoes are a staple and a favorite since there is so much we like to make with them throughout the year. From salsas, chili sauce, and spaghetti sauce to soups and fillers in other recipes, I try to get as many jars, bags, and containers of tomatoes preserved as I can. Most are canned, some are frozen and dehydrated. But this year we have tried another great preservation technique with our tomatoes that we really love and wanted to share.
This may sound strange, but it is amazing and so worth trying! Although this preservation technique works best with your Roma and other sauce-type tomatoes, it also works well with any tomato variety. Here are the simple steps to your own tomato powder:
- Select fresh garden tomatoes at the peak of flavor, wash thoroughly, and cut out any bad spots.
- Slice evenly and arrange on your dehydrator trays. Set yourdehydrator to a low setting and dry for 24-48 hours until completely crisp.
- Process dry tomato chuncks in a food processor, coffee grinder, Magic Bullet, or other tool of choice until it has reached a nice powder.
- Store in an airtight container. Tomato powder will last for months if kept dry. I use aFood Saver airlock container.
- Label your container with contents and date for future reference.
So easy and so wonderful. Since tomatoes are dehydrated at a low setting, the flavor, vitamins, enzymes and nutrients are preserved as well as the bright red color. About 1 Tablespoon of tomato powder can be used as a substitute for about 1 pint of canned tomatoes in your recipes. Tomato powder is so versatile too. Here are a couple ideas on how to use it:
- Add a few shakes to your eggs in the morning (amazing in scrambled or omelets)
- Add about a tsp to kefir, yogurt or mayo with garlic powder and fresh basil for an amazing homemade salad dressing
- Add to your tacos, chili, or other tomato-based recipes for some extra tomato kick without the texture/chunks
- Make some delicious vegan/vegetarian soup with 1 Tablespoon tomato powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 2 tsp dry basil, 1/3 cup white bean flour, and 2 cups homemade or organic vegetable stock (or chicken stock for a non-vegetarian version). Combine ingredients and simmer until thickened. This will be a rich, delicious, creamy soup without milk products or chemicals. Great on those chilly fall days after playing in the leaves. I especially like it with some fresh grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!
So give it a try and be sure to let me know your favorite uses for this amazing new way to preserve that delicious taste of summer!