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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Monday, August 07, 2006

Cherry Tomato Powder

The problem with vegetable gardens is quite often you get a lot of one kind of vegetable at one time so preserving what can't be consumed within a reasonable period becomes a concern. Most of my preserving is either canning or freezing. Drying is another method I use but not to a large extent.

Tomatoes can be dried whole for cherry types, slices, or as puree. Dried tomatoes can then be powdered and used to boost the flavour of soups, stews and breads. This is an ideal way to preserve the taste of summer without the work of canning.

Cherry Tomatoes

I'm growing two cherry tomato cultivars this year: Tiny Tim and Grape Cluster. Tiny Tim tomatoes are small, round cherry tomatoes while Grape Cluster have the elongated shape of grapes. Both are nice cherry tomatoes with good flavour. Cherry tomatoes can easily overwhelm since a lot come at once. One way to use excess cherry tomatoes is drying. They can be sliced in half and dried or they can be pureed then dried. Cherry tomatoes are perfect for tomato powder because they don't need to be peeled and the seeds are tiny.


Puree

I pureed the cherry tomatoes in the blender. Of all my appliances, the blender is likely the least used so it is time to earn its keep. I used the chop setting first followed by puree. The puree had a wonderful fresh tomato smell! It was poured onto a parchment lined cookie sheet they spred evenly. A silicone baking sheet would worked as well but for this application, I prefer parchment paper. I did a light tap and shake of the pan before placing it into the oven. This just helped to settled the puree evenly.

Dried Tomato Puree

My dehydrator gave up the ghost so I'm now dehydrating in my Jenn Air oven. It has a dehydrating setting. In order to use this setting I have to press "drying" then "convect bake". While I was leary of using the oven at first, I now actually prefer it as I can dry at different temperatures. Foods dry a lot faster using this set up than they did with my old dehydrator. The tomato puree was dried on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 145 degrees farenheit until brittle. The result was a deep, rich reddish sheet of flavourful dried tomatoes.

Tomato Powder

I broke the dried tomato puree into pieces then ground it to a fine powder using the blender. The final result was about 125 ml of very rich, aromatic, flavourful tomato powder. I'll use this powder to enhance soups, stews, breads, gravies, chilies and other ground beef dishes.


6 food lovers commented:

Kim said...

This is a great idea, I've never heard of it before. Have you ever powdered dried mushrooms like the kind you can get from Asian grocers? That powder added to beef dishes really kicks it up a notch :) - Kim

Garden Gnome said...

Yes, I powder mushrooms, celery, carrots, and onions as well. This is a sure fire way of adding a boost to a lot of dishes.

Hiro Yuki said...

Is there any way of doing this without a dehydrater setting?
I'm about to move into uni halls, and we'll just have a normal oven, and I'll have my microwave, but it sounds perfect!

Garden Gnome said...

If the oven can be turned down to 145 F for tomatoes or 125 F for mushrooms then you could use your oven. You might be able to air dry if your room is warm but it will take longer.

Suburban Survivalist Blogger said...

I love this idea. Do you know about how long the powder will last stored at room temp in the pantry? or does it need to be in the fridge?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Suburban Survivalist and thanks for visiting. The tomato powder will keep several years if vacuum sealed and stored away from light or heat. I will stress vacuum sealing because that does keep out humidity as well.

Check the archive of this blog for the 'how tos' of making other vegetable and mushroom powders.