Many women know how to preserve home grown tomatoes in the freezer or put them up in the canner. But today I want to give you yet another option, one that is simple, convenient and gives you excellent tomato flavor. I’m going to show you how to make homemade tomato powder.
It sounds strange, I know. But once you have the powder on hand for cooking, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it! All you need are tomatoes, a food dehydrator and a blender or food processor.
Let’s get into this, shall we?
Best Tomatoes to Dehydrate for Tomato Powder
The best tomatoes for making powder are your plum or paste varieties. These types contain less moisture than all other tomato types. And with more flesh, you’ll get more powder from a dehydrator load of tomatoes.
Some excellent options for making tomato powder include the following.
- Amish Paste Tomato
- Italian Paste Tomato
- La Roma (or any other Roma variety)
- Oplaka Paste Tomato
- San Marzano
If you don’t have paste tomatoes, don’t worry! You can dehydrate and turn any type of tomato into powder! And even though other varieties may take longer to fully dehydrate, the flavor will still be excellent.
Food Dehydrator Options
Before you can turn tomatoes into powder, you have to dehydrate them. Obvious, I know! There are many different types of food dehydrators on the market today. In my kitchen, I use a Nesco American Harvest (model FD 1010) and it has worked well for me!
Apart from the time I made raisins in my dehydrator, that is. Because I was new to the process, I wasn’t aware that I needed to switch trays around partway through. And I overheated the two bottom trays, which caused them to become misshapen. One day I’ll replace them so I can once again fit 10 trays on my dehydrator’s base!
Mishap aside, I’ve been very happy with my model.
I also have many online acquaintances who love the Excalibur dehydrator. While it’s far more expensive than the American Harvest I own, my homesteading friends seem to love it.
You can find a multitude of dehydrators online. And if you have a local center where you purchase canning supplies, you’ll likely find dehydrators there as well.
Tools You’ll Need to Make Homemade Tomato Powder
To dehydrate tomatoes and make homemade tomato powder, you’ll need to make sure you have the following items in your kitchen!
- Lots of paste tomatoes
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- A blender or food processor
- Jar & lid for storing tomato powder
How to Make Homemade Tomato Powder
Tomato powder is easy to make if you have a food dehydrator! The first step in the process is to prepare and dehydrate your tomatoes. Once they are dry, I’ll show you how to grind the red rings into a tasty powder that can be added to your favorite, home cooked recipes!
Step 1: Prepare Your Tomatoes
Whether you harvest home grown tomatoes from the vine, purchase them from a local grower, or if you have year-end tomatoes ripening in your home, the process is all the same.
Gather up your tomatoes and give them a quick rinse at the kitchen sink. Keep an eye open for bad spots. If you come across any, be sure to cut them out. Also remove the green tops, if present. And just for the record? I don’t remove the cores.
Once your tomatoes have be rinsed and sorted, it’s time to cut them up!
Step 2: Slice Your Paste Tomatoes Into Rings
There are 3 different ways you can prepare your tomatoes for dehydrating!
- Slice your tomatoes into rings.
- Thinly slice tomatoes lengthwise.
- Puree whole tomatoes and spread pulp out on dehydrator trays.
Personally, I prefer to slice my paste tomatoes into rings. It’s easy and your tomatoes dry very quickly!
So to dehydrate tomato rings, simply cut your tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices. There’s no need to remove seed or juices if you are working with paste or plum tomatoes!
Using non-paste varieties? Half your tomatoes, then gently squeeze out some of the seeds and juices. This accomplished, go ahead and slice your tomatoes.
Step 3: Lay Tomato Rings Out on Trays
As you cut your tomatoes, load your dehydrator trays by laying slices out in a single layer. Don’t be afraid to really pack them on! Because of their high water content, tomato rings will significantly shrink in the dehydrator.
Slice tomatoes and fill trays, until your dehydrator is full.
Step 4: Dehydrate Your Tomato Rings
To dry tomato rings, I like to set my dehydrator’s heat to about 125F (approx 50C). This accomplished, it usually takes about 8(ish) hours for rings to fully dry out.
Because I have 10 trays on my dehydrator, I like to shift them partway through the process, placing the bottom trays on the top of the stack to help distribute heat more evenly. Popping the cover back on, I let my dehydrator finish the cycle.
Watch the Tutorial!
Step 5: Remove Tomato Rings & Cool
How can you tell when your tomatoes have finished dehydrating? They should feel firm and dry. If you can still find moist spots on them, they need to dehydrate for longer.
If you’re unsure, just remove some of the thicker pieces and let them cool to room temperature. Are they leathery and ever hard in some places? If so, the batch is done and it’s time to empty the dehydrator trays!
For the best results, you should let your dried tomatoes cool before moving on to the powder making process.
Step 6: How to Make Homemade Tomato Powder
To make tomato powder, you need to gather up all your tomato rings. They should be dry, without a hint of “wetness.” Fill your kitchen blender or food processor with dried tomatoes and then pulse, until most of the tomatoes have been broken up.
Then it’s time to puree your dry goods! Let the processor whirl things around, until you’re left with a fine, red powder.
And just like that, you’ve made homemade powder from your tomatoes!
Step 7: Tips for Storing Tomato Powder
I recommend storing your tomato powder in a jar or an airtight container. As with most powders, you’ll also want to keep it away from moisture. Your homemade tomato powder is shelf stable and can be stored on a kitchen shelf, in the pantry or cold room.
If you wish to really retain it’s freshness and flavor, keep the bulk of it in your freezer and a small, refillable jar of it in the kitchen with your spices.
Note: if you freeze powder of any kind, make sure it’s stored in an airtight container to protect it from moisture.
Step 8: How to Use Tomato Powder
At this point you might be wondering why someone would make tomato powder? And how do you use it in the kitchen? I’m relatively new to it myself, but here’s a general rule of thumb I follow.
Anywhere I want tomato flavor, I add a bit of tomato powder.
Whether you’re serving red meats, sauces, soups or stews, a teaspoon of this stuff will go a long way! And it’s yet another homemade “spice” you can add to your healthy, home cooked meals!