Having a well-stocked pantry is 100% necessary for the home cook that is striving to stay away from precooked, prepackaged, and fast food. He or she is seeking to create better, more healthy, and flavorful meals like chili and spaghetti without having to run to the store, or worse yet, order in when one item hasn’t yet been replenished. Tomato products are one of those items that we tend to go through quickly, and perhaps you do too. Thankfully, they are super versatile! Learning how to dehydrate tomatoes for your pantry shelf can solve any problems you might run into when you are out of your canned tomato products!
Whether you are staying away from prepackaged and fast foods for health reasons, weight issues, or because you are avoiding certain types of ingredients (GMOs, or MSG and other weird ingredients), dehydrated foods can help. Learning how to dehydrate and use dehydrated food is honestly one of the BEST things you can do for your kitchen, and for your family table!
I’m starting this series out with tomatoes because they are so versatile! They can be used in sauces, soups, stews, on pizza…and they can be ground up into powder for a bunch more uses that can really turn out to be a massive help in the kitchen!
How to Dehydrate Tomatoes
Dehydrating tomatoes is a cinch. It’s actually something I do almost daily now, since my tomatoes are still producing out in the garden. You can totally do this too, with no problem. It’s a little messy, but once you get the hang of how easy this is, you will be on your way to putting up tomatoes for as many uses as you already are using canned tomato products–but with less shelf space!
Here are the basic instructions for dehydrating. If you are new to dehydrating, be sure to pop over and read over my How to Dehydrate Food for Beginners post to fill in any blanks that the following recipe doesn’t cover for you. If you know your way around dehydrating, however, the following instructions will work for you just fine.
- Choose paste varieties, like Roma or San Marzano. Wash with water if they are organic. If they are not, wash according to the instructions in this post, under “How to Dehydrate Food: Clean and Prepare the Food”.
- Blanch in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then transfer to ice water.
- Remove peels and cores (set these aside for later).
- Cut into 1/4″ thick slices and arrange on a tray.
- Dry at 145 degrees until crisp.
- Store in jars with air-tight lids.
Use your dehydrated tomatoes in soups and sauces, or combine with other vegetables to make spice mixes or for flavor. Ground up, you can use these tomatoes to make powder for sauces, pastes, or even ketchup!
To grind them up, you can throw dried tomatoes into a blender or food processor and pulse until they are a smooth powder. Label and store, and use within 30 days.
Zero-Waste Tomato Powder
Don’t throw out those peels and cores just yet! In the same way you grind up your tomatoes to make powder, you can do the same with the parts you would throw into the trash or compost pile! Give it a try and see which type of powder you like best!
To make zero-waste tomato powder, dehydrate the peels and cores until crunchy in texture. Grind up in a blender or food processor, label and store. Use within 30 days.
How to Use Dehydrated Tomatoes in Everyday Meals
There are tons of uses for dehydrated tomatoes! Rehydrate to use in soups, stews, chilis, (cooked) salsas, or even on top of pizza!
Rehydrating is one of the areas that I used to get terribly hung up on–it’s actually what stopped me from using dehydrating as a valid food preservation method in my kitchen! Let’s not let that happen to you with your tomatoes. Here’s how you do it:
- Place tomatoes in bowl of cool water (you can use boiling if you would like them to rehydrate quicker, and if you are using them in a dish where they will be cooked).
- Wait 30-60 minutes.
- Drain and use.*
*Tomatoes double in size when rehydrated, so if you rehydrate 1 cup, you will have two once they are finished reconstituting.
But that’s not all! Remember the tomato powder we talked about earlier?According to Shelle Wells’ Healthy Recipes eBook, which is one of the MANY eBooks included in the Dehydrated Made Easy Course (see below), you can use the above mentioned tomato powder to make:
- tomato paste, 6 oz: 6 Tbsp powder + 1/2 cup water + 1/2 tsp salt
- tomato sauce, 8 oz: 1/3 cup powder + 1 cup water + 1/4 tsp salt
- tomato juice, 64 oz: 2/3 cup powder + 8 cups water + 1 tsp salt
- ketchup: 6 Tbsp powder + 1 cup water + 1-1/4 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp onion powder + 1/8 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 cup honey + 1/3 cup white vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Tomatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables to dehydrate and have on the shelf!