Let’s just get this out of the way. The IDEA of harvesting bucketfuls of tomatoes when I’m planting seeds in April, is a whole lot more fun than ACTUALLY harvesting bucketfuls of tomatoes in August.
The first couple weeks of picking tomatoes is awesome. We have fresh tomato pizza sauce on Fridays, 15 minute spaghetti sauce on Wednesdays, tomato Caprese salad for lunch almost every day and gallons of hearty tomato sauce put up in the freezer for winter.
But then picking tomatoes gets old. And tedius. And if you eat another tomato you swear you’re going to go plow down those darn tomato plants so you can stop looking at them.
Enter tomato powder.
Yes, tomato powder “is a thing,” and it’s the break you need when you have so many tomatoes coming from the garden, you have no idea what to do with them.
Or when you find a bushel of tomatoes at the farmers market for CRAZY CHEAP and you know you’d be nuts for passing them up.
Or when a good-meaning neighbor drops off a bucket of tomatoes because HER garden is overflowing.
Whatever the reason you have too many tomatoes, the solution is tomato powder.
The solution is ALWAYS tomato powder.
What is tomato powder?
It’s dehydrated tomatoes, ground up into a find powder that stores in the pantry.
- It doesn’t take up freezer room.
- Or fridge room.
- You don’t have to boil water.
- Or make an ice bath in the sink.
- There’s no coring or de-seeding.
- Or even standing over a hot stove with a massive pot of water and glass jars.
All you need is a knife and a dehydrator. Friends, tomato powder is your tomato-season life saver.
Before I share the tutorial, let’s discuss WHY you need tomato powder in the first place. After all, I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen tomato powder in the store before, right?
Neither have I, but here’s why you need tomato powder: Because you can make just about ANY tomato product you can think of, with tomato powder.
Tomato Paste: 2 Tbsp tomato powder + 1 Tbsp hot water + salt to taste (here’s how to freeze tomato paste, if you make too much)
Tomato Sauce: ¼ cup tomato powder + ½ cup hot water + salt to taste (makes about 8 ounces)
Pizza Sauce: ½ cup tomato powder + 1 – 1 ½ cups water, then season according to this recipe
Tomato Juice: 2-3 Tbsp tomato powder + 8 ounces water
Note: The quantities above are not exact, since your tomato powder will taste different than mine due to where we live, the tomatoes we use, etc. Start on the low end for the quantity of tomato powder, and add more to suit your tastes.
Need more ideas for tomato powder?
- Add to homemade barbeque sauce
- Include in dry rubs
- Add to homemade soups & chili
- Scoop some into the seasoning blend for meatloaf or meatballs
- Add with herbs to cream cheese for a spread
- Can you imagine it in homemade mayo?!
The steps for making tomato powder are pretty straightforward and easy. So let’s get to it!
How to Make Tomato Powder
Supplies for Making Tomato Powder
- Cutting Board
- Serrated Knife
- Kitchen Towel
- Dehydrator (This one was given to me as a gift years ago. It’s a lot more affordable than this very popular model, and it does a fantastic job!)
- 2 Medium Plates (only if you’re using cherry tomatoes)
- Blender OR Food Processor (I used my Blendtec)
Method for Making Tomato Powder
1. Prepare the tomatoes.
Wash and set your tomatoes on a towel to dry. Lightly pat dry, just so they don’t slip out of your hands as you handle them.
2. Cut the tomatoes.
You want slices or pieces that are about ½” thick. If you are using cherry tomatoes like me, all you have to do is cut them in half. Here’s the hack that I use to make this quick and easy:
- Put all the tomatoes on a dinner plate.
- Take the second plate and turn it upside down, on top of the tomatoes.
- Hold the top plate gently but firmly, and slide your serrated knife back and forth, through the slit in the plates.
- In less than a minute, you’ll have halved all the cherry tomatoes!
If you’re using regular tomatoes, you’ll have to slice them. Sorry, no hack here other than you don’t have to peel, de-seed or core. Just slice.
(But I do have 24 time-saving hacks in this post!)
3. Place the tomatoes in the dehydrator.
If you are using cherry tomatoes, place them cut side up. Otherwise, lay the slices on the tray. You want the tomatoes to be in a single layer, but it’s fine if they touch.
Set the dehydrator to slightly less than 135F. The time it takes to dehydrate will vary depending on the tomatoes you use, but they’ll take at least 8 hours. Check them at the 8 hour mark first. If they seem close to completely dry, check again in an hour. If they still seem fairly moist, check again in 4 hours.
Once the tomatoes are 100% COMPLETELY dry, remove them to your blender or food processor. Blend the tomatoes for about 30 seconds, and then let the machine cool for about 30 seconds. Repeat until all the tomatoes are a fine powder.
5. Tomato powder storage.
Store in a glass jar in the pantry for up to a year. If you’re not sure if your powder is completely dry, you can store in the freezer as well.