Knowing how to make tomato powder and use it is one of the keys to getting your time and money’s worth from the tomatoes in your garden.
If you’ve ever made salsa, you’ve probably looked at that pile of tomato skins, seeds, and pulp and felt just a little ripped off. Well, no more! Rather than tossing those parts of the tomato away, turn them into tomato powder.
How To Make Tomato Powder
Not into canning or making fresh salsa? You can turn mealy tomatoes, or ones that are about to go bad (cut away any black spots) into tomato powder, too. Now you don’t have to feel guilty for not using your produce quickly enough.
Step 1. Prepare the peels
Squeeze tomato peels dry with a clean towel then scatter them on a dehydrator tray. If you don’t have a dehydrator, spread the peels in a single layer on a baking sheet. (I use this comparatively inexpensive dehydrator.)
Step 2: Prepare the pulp
Pulp left from seeding tomatoes for sauce isn’t a kitchen scrap to throw away — turn it into homemade tomato powder. Just line a dehydrator tray with a piece of parchment or wax paper to fit. If you don’t have a dehydrator, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spoon the tomato pulp onto the sheet and spread it thinly using a spatula.
Step 3: Dry them
Turn your dehydrator to 135°F/57°C, or pop the baking sheets into a 180°F/82°C oven, and check the trays regularly. For dehydrators, you’ll want to rotate the racks hourly. If using an oven, rotate them after two hours.
The skins are usually the first to dry — around 4 hours in my dehydrator — followed an hour or two later by the pulp. You’ll know when it’s dry enough because you can crush it in your hand easily.
Step 4: Cool them
Remove the trays from the dehydrator or oven but leave the tomato peels and pulp on them. Let them sit until they’re completely cooled, even overnight. Waiting overnight allows any remaining moisture to evaporate and keeps your tomato powder from clumping during storage.
Step 5: Powder them
Once completely cooled, tip the skins into a blender or food processor and whir them until they’re powdery. If you’re doing just a few peels, you can even use a clean coffee grinder. Dump that into a bowl and repeat using the tomato pulp. Combine the two and transfer the powder to airtight storage containers or vacuum seal small bags of the stuff.
- Dehydrator OR baking sheets if using oven
- Parchment paper
- Blender or food processor
- 2 cups Tomato skins and pulp
- Squeeze the tomato skins in a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Spread the tomato skins on one unlined dehydrator tray and the pulp on another one lined with parchment. If using an oven, spread on lined baking sheets.
- Turn your dehydrator to 135°F/57°C. For oven-drying, place the sheets in the middle of the oven and set it to 180°F/82°C. Rotate dehydrator racks or baking sheets every 30 minutes. Remove the skins when they’re papery and the pulp when it’s completely dry.
- Let cool completely on the counter until room temperature. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend on HIGH until powdered. Store in an air-tight container.
How To Use Tomato Powder
Once you know how to make tomato powder, you’ll find it an amazingly versatile addition to your pantry. I often stir it into soups or stews, sprinkle it on scrambled eggs and pasta, and even use it to jazz up a homemade vinaigrette. Basically, add it to anything that you want a bit of oomph and extra tomato flavor. Here are some other uses for it:
Tomato paste: Only need a tablespoon or two of tomato paste? Don’t open a can. Mix 2 parts powder to 1 part water to make as much or as little tomato paste as you need.
Tomato sauce: Combine 1 part tomato powder with 6 parts water to make tomato sauce. To make the equivalent of a 15-oz can use 1/3 cup tomato powder and 2 cups of water.
Tomato juice: Stir 2 tablespoons tomato powder into 8 ounces of cold water for a refreshing tomato juice without all the nasty sodium and preservatives of the store-bought stuff. (Add a splash of clam juice for homemade Clamato.)
Instant tomato soup: Stir 2 tablespoons of tomato powder into 8 ounces of boiling water. Add a pinch of onion and/or garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mmmm, good!
Pizza sauce Combine 1/2 cup tomato powder and 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder, oregano, and basil, plus a pinch of salt. Add 1 tsp. of sugar to counter the acidity, and simmer until the sauce is thick.
Tomato cream cheese: Stir 1-2 tablespoons into softened cream cheese for a delicious sandwich filling or schmear for your bagel.
Now that you know how to make tomato powder and use it, don’t let those peels and pulp or the mealy tomatoes on your counter go to waste!