This is my tomato powder…. it’s what is left of 20 tomatoes. With this, I can do lots of things, add a TBLS here or there to boost flavor, or make tomato sauce or tomato paste. I will likely use it mostly for tomato paste or adding in to soups to flavor the broth because I don’t buy “cubes”. And in terms of making into tomato paste, this will make the equivalent of 8 6oz cans of store bought stuff. (Or a cost savings of about $4.5)
Now, in terms of cost savings…. it’s not much. So, I strongly urge anyone curious about their own veggie garden NOT to think of it as a way to save money, especially not upfront. I do save money…. probably all in all about $200 a year…. but that is no where near enough motivation if that’s all it is to you. Gardens require work, weeding, watering, cultivating, pruning, harvesting, attention, and time… and when bunnies or bugs get to your stuff it will drive you crazy if all you care about is money. If we don’t do it for the money….what do we do it for?
Well, glad you asked! First and foremost…. I enjoy having a vegetable garden. I like to sip on my coffee while inspecting the garden in the morning. I love to get my hands in the dirt…. to plan the layout…. to watch things sprout and grow…. to witness the amazing process of something going from a tiny seed into a giant pumpkin. It gives me utter respect for our planet, for our food, and for our lives. And it may take a while for your palette to be able to discern the difference in “fresh from the garden” and “from the grocery store” but there is a HUGE difference. Not just in flavor, but color, texture, smells….. it’s 100x the quality. Garden produce might not always be as big and tempting as what you see at the store, but I would venture to say it has more nutrients packed in there for you. (and I know what’s not on my plants!)
Tomatoes are (in my opinion) one of the best tasting things straight from the garden. I like to pick and prepare my tomatoes within hours to maintain that…. but at the moment, I have created enough sauce, eaten enough fresh, and added tomatoes into just about every meal we’ve had for the past month. And I still have a lot of green tomatoes to ripen up yet. Practically every day I go out and pick another large bowl full…. additionally, I am out of cupboard space for storing, out of the right sized jars for sauces, and out of freezer space….. SO…. it is time to utilize the power of the dehydrator!
I actually think this might be one of the more efficient methods to storing tomatoes…. there is VERY minimal waste of the fruit.
Just wash them up in cool water and slice them into 1/4″ slices. Lay them out on the dehydrator sheets, dehydrate at 125* for about 8-12 hours and then, move them to a freezer bag, freeze, and toss into a blender and turn it into a “powder”. As an additional “precaution” I spread the powder onto a parchment layer on a dehydrator sheet and give it another couple of hours in the dehydrator.
Ratios of tomato paste to water
What do you enjoy about gardening?