Difficulty getting tomatoes dry enough to make tomato powder

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larry_stewart

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I ve been trying to dry tomatoes to make tomato powder.
They do dry out, but not to a crispy consistency.
they still have a little flexibility, therefore, unable to powderize them.

Any suggestions ?
is it a time/ temp thing ?
Is it a humidity thing ?

I have an excalibur dehydrator
 

blissful

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They must be so dry they are brittle. Brittle like snapping them when you break them. Brittle enough to put them in a bag, hit them with a hammer and then they shatter in the bag.


Humidity can make a brittle tomato slice, into a flexible tomato slice.


Let the dehydrator (I have the same kind) stay at the same temperature (125 deg F?) but for longer, then let them cool to 72 deg F (room temp), check them to see if they 'snap'. If you immediately put them in a jar and seal they won't have time to suck up humidity. Or immediately grind them in a food processor or nut/coffee grinder--after which dry them some more before putting in a jar to seal. (somehow the grinding allows or produces some humidity to get into the powder)


If you try to dry them at a hotter temperature you risk them turning black (been there done that).



NOTE: no matter the instructions--saying dry them for 27.5462 hours, they will take however long they take and that might be much longer due to humidity in the air.
 

larry_stewart

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Thanks, I kinda figured it was a humidity thing. I might have had it at aa slightly lower temp. Ill boost It up aa bit and see how it goes. With tomatoes in full gear, I figured powdering a bunch would be a good way to store with a smaller footprint.
 

larry_stewart

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Here's the best resource I have for dehydrating. Specifically tomatoes and powdering.


She says you CAN go to 135 deg F, but I'd say you need to watch them to make sure they don't get discolored. A little darkening is okay, black is not that appetizing.


https://www.thepurposefulpantry.com/dehydrated-tomato-chips/

Thanks, I'll do some experimenting. Ive pretty mush got my fill of strained tomatoes, puree ... so now Id like to focus on drying and hopefully powdering. I may also make some tomato paste. Its amazing how much it reduces to make paste
 

blissful

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Larry, how would I use my dehydrator to make paste?
I accidentally made paste one day. I was making sauce in my 18 at electric roasting pan and I was so tired I couldn't get it canned before I needed to sleep. I put it on the lowest temperature I thought safe, around 150 deg F, lid half way off. By morning it was thick and mounding like paste. Accidental paste.
 

pepperhead212

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I use my old dried tomatoes for making paste all the time, and I was actually thinking of suggesting that, since I have also never been able to dry tomatoes to a rock hard point where I could make a powder. However, it is simple, and fairly fast to turn it to paste, if you have a Vitamix, or similar type of blender.

What I do is soak it, but not in too much hot water - just enough to cover the pieces. After it wets it some, blend it, starting slow, and if it is too thin, drop a few pieces in while running, until it is a thick purée. Then I pour it into a NS wok, and treat it like I'm making a Mexican sauce that I blended a bunch of chiles in, and cook it on med-high, scraping constantly with a silicone spatula, until it has darkened, and turned to a paste. It only takes 6-7 minutes of cooking, when blended to a thick purée this way, and in a NS wok or skillet, no oil is needed.

 

taxlady

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I have a FB friend who makes tomato powder. I'll ask her how she does it.

I sent the friend a message on FB Messenger. Here it is.

Me: Hi, you once told me about dehydrating tomatoes and making tomato powder. Someone on the cooking site I frequent can't get his tomatoes dry enough to be crsipy. Didn't you make it into a puree before drying it? Any tips would be appreciated.

Friend: My favorite is the skins. Those crisp up really nice. For the others I just did slices or whatever usually, which can be a pain. BUT. I have done the puree. I did it on fruit roll sheets and did it kinda thin, but not so thin you can't get it off later. It's pretty important to break it all up when it's mostly dry, flip and rearrange it all and dry it even more. It helped to put it back on just the screen rather than back on the fruit leather sheets. It took a lot of drying. If it's really humid there it might just not be able to. I've also done the puree, broken it up into large pieces, conditioned it, and THEN put it back in on the screens.

Me: Conditioned it? And how thick were your tomato slices? How does someone know that it is dry enough?

Friend: I really don't remember how thick they were. It has been more than a couple of years. And it also kinda depends on the tomato anyway? Some have a lot more water than others, ya know?

Conditioning is basically putting it all in a closed jar for a few days and shaking it all up. If there are any moist bits, they'll dry out evenly into the others and not leave a damp bit where it can get moldy. If I wanna make a powder I'll do that to a thing (like the pureed garlic I like to make garlic powder out of) and then dehydrate it again. It's important to get all the moisture out for a powder or it starts to get like musty smelling.

it's a bit fiddly and I do a lot of it just by feel/look, ya know? But those are the best tips I use for this in particular.

And here's the last bit, that I forgot to include:

Friend: I've also been known to dehydrate the crap out of cherry tomatoes and then freeze or fridge it. Later I'll take some out, dehydrate it some more again and then make tiny batches of powder for when I need it.
 
Last edited:

larry_stewart

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I sent the friend a message on FB Messenger. Here it is.

Me: Hi, you once told me about dehydrating tomatoes and making tomato powder. Someone on the cooking site I frequent can't get his tomatoes dry enough to be crsipy. Didn't you make it into a puree before drying it? Any tips would be appreciated.

Friend: My favorite is the skins. Those crisp up really nice. For the others I just did slices or whatever usually, which can be a pain. BUT. I have done the puree. I did it on fruit roll sheets and did it kinda thin, but not so thin you can't get it off later. It's pretty important to break it all up when it's mostly dry, flip and rearrange it all and dry it even more. It helped to put it back on just the screen rather than back on the fruit leather sheets. It took a lot of drying. If it's really humid there it might just not be able to. I've also done the puree, broken it up into large pieces, conditioned it, and THEN put it back in on the screens.

Me: Conditioned it? And how thick were your tomato slices? How does someone know that it is dry enough?

Friend: I really don't remember how thick they were. It has been more than a couple of years. And it also kinda depends on the tomato anyway? Some have a lot more water than others, ya know?

Conditioning is basically putting it all in a closed jar for a few days and shaking it all up. If there are any moist bits, they'll dry out evenly into the others and not leave a damp bit where it can get moldy. If I wanna make a powder I'll do that to a thing (like the pureed garlic I like to make garlic powder out of) and then dehydrate it again. It's important to get all the moisture out for a powder or it starts to get like musty smelling.

it's a bit fiddly and I do a lot of it just by feel/look, ya know? But those are the best tips I use for this in particular.

And here's the last bit, that I forgot to include:

Friend: I've also been known to dehydrate the crap out of cherry tomatoes and then freeze or fridge it. Later I'll take some out, dehydrate it some more again and then make tiny batches of powder for when I need it.


Thanks, Ill keep those tips in mind when attempting again
 

larry_stewart

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Finally got my tomatoes to powder
Raised the heat a bit.
after the allotted time, it still felt flexible, but when cooled to room temp, its was brittle, so into the vitamix it went.
Now Im just going to play around with the final produce a bit to see if I like it and can make use if it. If I can, it will be a good way for me to store tomatoes, without taking up space in the freezer.
 

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taxlady

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The friend who used to make tomato powder said that she added it to lots of stuff for the extra umami, not usually enough for people to notice a tomato flavour.
 

blissful

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To use tomato powder here.

I make a tomato salad dressing, using tomato sauce, but if I'm short on sauce I will use diced tomatoes, which is more watery. I add a few tablespoons in the blender to thicken it up a bit.


When I make a tomato sauce that is too thin, I will add it to thicken it.



If I want a nacho type seasoning, I use powdered tomato and powdered green or red peppers, with chili powder, garlic, onion powder. If you wanted to make it using a cheese, then there are cheese powders available on the market. This is good with tortilla chips or popcorn.



For a great tomato sauce, dehydrated tomatoes with water in the blender will make a good sauce. I cook it.


I recently had some minestrone soup I'd made into a dry soup mix by the serving. I just add water and heat. I used powdered tomato and dehydrated cherry tomatoes in that soup.
 

larry_stewart

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To use tomato powder here.

I make a tomato salad dressing, using tomato sauce, but if I'm short on sauce I will use diced tomatoes, which is more watery. I add a few tablespoons in the blender to thicken it up a bit.


When I make a tomato sauce that is too thin, I will add it to thicken it.



If I want a nacho type seasoning, I use powdered tomato and powdered green or red peppers, with chili powder, garlic, onion powder. If you wanted to make it using a cheese, then there are cheese powders available on the market. This is good with tortilla chips or popcorn.



For a great tomato sauce, dehydrated tomatoes with water in the blender will make a good sauce. I cook it.


I recently had some minestrone soup I'd made into a dry soup mix by the serving. I just add water and heat. I used powdered tomato and dehydrated cherry tomatoes in that soup.

Seems like the possibilities are endless
I look forward to playing and experimenting with it.
 

pepperhead212

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So Larry, what temp did you have to raise the dehydrator to, in order to totally dry them? I've got a lot of dried ones already, with more to come, and I'm curious about it now.
 

larry_stewart

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So Larry, what temp did you have to raise the dehydrator to, in order to totally dry them? I've got a lot of dried ones already, with more to come, and I'm curious about it now.

I read the manual that the dehydrator came with, and it had them at about 150 F (maybe 155, id have to double check). I usually never get my dehydrator above 125 - 130. I figured I had nothing to lose. They definitely dehydrated quicker than they had in the past at the lower temp ( which I expected).

As mentioned earlier, when the time was up, they were still a little flexible when warm, but was they cooled became brittle, which allowed me to powered them.
 

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