Living Homegrown

- The Blog -

Live farm fresh

without the farm®

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

Dehydrated Tomatoes & Making Tomato Powder

How to make tomato powder - LivingHomegrown.com

A few weeks ago, I was dehydrating the end of my delicious summer tomatoes when I discovered I still had some of last year’s dehydrated tomatoes sitting in a jar way toward the back of my pantry.

Oops!

They were still good, but had started to darken and I was sure they had lost much of their flavor. What was I to do with these little lovelies who were past their prime?

I pulverized them (literally) into powder!

Tomato powder is just a ground up version of dried tomatoes. The result is a super concentrated flavor that can be used in a number of ways.

It’s a powerful spice!

It’s a top-notch flavor enhancer!

It’s amazing…

How to make and use tomato powder - LivingHomegrown.com

Last year, I made tomato powder for the very first time and LOVED it.

It is fast, easy and condenses large quantities of tomatoes into intense little molecules of flavor. And there are a ton of things you can do with it. (See below)

Making tomato powder was the perfect way to give my older dried tomatoes new life. But I also highly recommend you make tomato powder from freshly dried tomatoes as well.

You will not believe the flavor and your taste buds will thank you!

Dehydrating Tomatoes and tomato powder - LivingHomegrown.com

What You Need:

To make tomato powder, you obviously need dehydrated tomatoes. If you happen to have some on hand already, then you are well on your way to tomato heaven. But if not, here are the steps for dehydrating tomatoes in a standard dehydrator.

Note on dehydrators:

Any dehydrator will do. It does not have to be expensive or fancy.

If you don’t have one, you can use your oven on a low setting but you have to be diligent in watching and it takes twice as long. (Before buying a dehydrator, I used my oven for years.)

After using my oven and later, several inexpensive dehydrator brands, I finally bought an Excalibur*. It was a gift I gave myself after making it through a health scare a few years ago. (I know most people would buy themselves a new outfit. Me? I buy a dehydrator. Ha!)

What you get with a more expensive brand is more control over humidity and temperature so that you can dry things much faster. My Excalibur is my workhorse, but you certainly do not need something that fancy to do a good job.

Dehydrating Tomatoes:

Tips:

  • Make slices uniform in thickness so they dry evenly.
  • Use firm, ripe tomatoes. Over ripe or overly soft tomatoes are difficult to slice uniformly.
  • Roma tomatoes are excellent for drying because they are firm, packed with flavor and have low water content.
  • Cherry tomatoes only need to be cut in half.
  • I do not peel or seed my tomatoes for drying. But some people do.

1) Rinse: and dry your tomatoes.

Dehydrating Tomatoes & Making Tomato Powder - LivingHomegrown.com

2) Slice: If you are working with large (beefsteak-type) tomatoes, core them and slice them into 1/2-inch slices. Keep your slices as uniform as possible. Smaller tomatoes (like cherry tomatoes) can be cut in half and Roma tomatoes can be sliced into round disks.

3) Place: the tomatoes on the trays of a dehydrator in a single layer so they are not touching. (If using your oven, lay slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.)

4) Dry: Follow your dehydrator’s instructions for times and temperatures, but the basic idea is to dry the tomatoes at about 140 degrees F. (If you are using an oven, set your oven to the lowest setting. Leave the door ajar if possible.)

5) Timing: This is the tricky part. The amount of time needed is based on the number of tomatoes you are doing, the water content of those tomatoes, the temperature you use, the humidity of the air and the efficiency of the dehydrator you are using.

In other words, you have to keep your eye on it. Once you have done this a few times, you will know what works for your situation. It can take anywhere from 4 hours to 15 hours depending upon the factors mentioned. Just check the dehydrator ever few hours and pull completed tomatoes out as you get toward the end.

6) Determining dryness: When completely dry, the tomatoes should feel crisp or hard. They should not feel sticky at all on the surface.

7) Storage: If you are not going to make powder right away, let the tomatoes cool and them store them in an airtight container. (I use a canning jar.) If left for long periods exposed to air, the tomatoes will absorb moisture and will oxidize quickly.

Making Tomato Powder:

This is the easy part!

Use a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), a coffee grinder or a food processor to pulverize the dried tomato into a powder.

That is it!

Making Tomato Powder - LivingHomegrown.com

It only takes a few minutes to grind it until it is like a rough-cut grain.

MakingTomato Powder - LivingHomegrown.com

Now that you have opened the tomato up to more surface area, it will pop with flavor. But, it will also lose that flavor more quickly.

So I recommend doing this in small batches so that you use up what you grind in a month or two. After than, it does not have as much flavor.

Store in an airtight container.

How to Use Tomato Powder:

Tomato powder is extremely concentrated flavor. It can be used as a spice flavoring (sprinkled) or as bigger flavoring (by the spoonful). You can even reconstitute it (with a little warm water) and add it to things like bread. Delicious!

MakingTomato Powder - LivingHomegrown.com

You can sprinkle it (like a spice) on:

  • Veggies
  • Potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Any dish that blends with tomato flavor

I reconstitute it and blend it into homemade bread or spread it over my pizza dough.

I use it mostly often to add robust flavor to:

  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Homemade pizza sauce
  • Any pasta or meat sauce

Are you going to try it?

If so, how will you use it? Tell me in the comments!

* Denotes an affiliate link. You are not charged more by using the link, but I get a small portion of the sale which helps pay for blog giveaways.

Enjoy this post?

Sign up for updates & receive my free Canning Resource Guide

Preserve Like a Pro: Get my top sources for canning tools & supplies. (It’s free!)

About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.