There is a new ritual in my house. The main harvest of tomatoes is canned, so I am dehydrating those that ripen two or three at a time. Every couple of days I slice those tomatoes up very thinly and put them on a dehydrator for 24 hours. It takes about two roma-sized tomatoes or one big tomato to fill up one rack, so about 3-4 pounds of fruit takes up the whole thing.
The dehydrator is cheap (we got it at Aldi) so I have to remember about rotating the trays. Last time I didn’t do that and half of the slices burned.
Tomato slices dried on the dehydrator rack
Once the tomatoes are nice and crunchy, I peel the dried slices off the racks and toss them into the coffee grinder. We don’t really buy expensive whole-bean coffee any more so I was quite excited to discover an additional purpose for this bad boy. This coffee grinder has a removable chamber, which makes cleaning the gadget extra easy.
I grind the tomatoes on the finest setting. Since the grinder shuts off automatically, I run the cycle twice, to make sure the tomato powder is extra fine. It is amazing how little output is produced, only about 2/3 of a half pint per full dehydrator load. I am, however, growing very watery kind of tomatoes (don’t ask, the seed packet is in the trash), so that might explain the shrinkage.
My canning funnel helps me get the powder into the mason jar. It does not get vacuum sealed and the moisture does get in, so the powder becomes caked after a while. I hope a few kernels of rice fix this issue. Otherwise we might have to resort to silica packets and that is not something I’d like to keep in my food.
The whole process takes about half an hour, 45 minutes tops altogether, not including the drying and rotating of course. This makes it much more efficient than canning. I am pretty sure it uses up the same amount of electricity though, since our stove is not gas.
But what is the tomato powder for, you might ask. Why, I will reply, it is like instant tomato paste. Or tomato flavor enhancer, or pasta sauce thickener… I can even make tomato juice with it if I really want, and I love me some tomato juice! Dilution ratios are the key.
Here are some useful ratios I found on this blog:
- Paste – 1 part powder to 1 part water
- Sauce – 1 part powder to 3 parts water
- Tomato Juice: 1 tsp powder to 1/2 cup water
I’ve heard you can also put it on store bought flavorless tomatoes to make them taste less like plastic.
Well, that’s about it folks. I hope you found this useful. Go and dehydrate some tomatoes now before they become way too expensive to even look at.