One of the most basic garden vegetables are tomatoes, cherry or normal size. Its how many people get hooked on growing their own food. One reason is because they are so prolific and easy to grow. Note, Prolific! Cherry, grape, salad tomatoes especially will create a ton of tomatoes during a season. While in February as you long for the taste of a fresh, real, non-store bought tomato, by September you never want to eat one again. Yet, they still continue to cover your plants! What to do with all of them.
Unless you pickle the cherry tomatoes, you will have to find many friends to pawn them off on, they are too much trouble to can, in my opinion. If you have larger tomatoes and don’t can, you will be in this same boat. I don’t like to freeze tomatoes, they take up too much room and it is a messy processes. What I like to do is dehydrate them and turn them into powder. Yes, you read that right.
Powdered tomatoes are perfect for a vegetable thickener in sauce and pasta dishes as well as a base vegetable bullion for soups and stews. The best thing is that 5 pounds of tomatoes can fit into a half-pint jar! Space! I really like this for my cherry tomatoes because the prep goes so fast, they add up fast and nothing is left to waste.
Here are the directions.
- Wash your tomatoes.
- Cut out any blemishes and stem area.
- Slice thin and place on your dehydrator rack (or on a cookie sheet with parchment paper if you are going to use your oven).
- Make sure they are not overlapping. Tomatoes contain a lot of water.
- I place my dehydrator on medium heat and this takes about 7 hours. If you are using your oven, use the lowest heat and crack the door open to dry your slices.
- Dry until they are completely crispy with NO MOISTURE.
- You can leave in this state if you want to vacuum seal at this stage and use like sun dried tomatoes as well. I have one friend that will use vinegar and oil and put the in the refrigerator to use in salads. I prefer not to utilize refrigerator space in that way. This state also makes a wonderful sun dried tomato salad dressing.
- Place your ‘chips’ in a grinder and grind until a powder.
- You can also add dehydrated garlic, onion, peppers, pretty much anything you want at this stage and grind all together to make sure its well mixed. This would make a lovely stock base.
- Next transfer into an airtight container that is resistant to air and to moisture. I prefer to vac-seal my jars with the exception of one that I will use often and that one will be put in my spice cabinet.
This powder has so many uses. My favorite way is to add a little tomato flavor and a thickener to dishes without all the water content. It works great as an alternative to a small amount of tomato paste as well.
Let me know how this turned out for you!
Until Next Time,
Mrs. Kay L. Rice