Do you find yourself blessed with an abundant harvest of tomatoes? Maybe you’ve already canned a lot, made salsa, and are now looking for new ways to put this bounty to good use.
This article will guide you through the process of making tomato flakes from your homegrown tomatoes. These flavorful flakes can be used to thicken sauces, create a tomato base for soups, or simply add to your dishes for a richer tomato flavor.
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In this article:
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read): Key Takeaways
- 🍅 Dehydrating tomatoes after processing them can be a great way to preserve a surplus harvest and create delicious snacks or ingredients.
- 🌱 Growing your tomatoes and using them to make homemade tomato flakes can provide the best flavor and satisfaction, especially when using produce from your own garden.
- 🥥 Using avocado oil when dehydrating tomatoes can make them less sticky and improve the overall result.
- 🍅 Dehydrating tomatoes using a solar-powered dehydrator can be a time-consuming process that requires regular monitoring throughout the day.
- 🍅 Dehydrating tomato flakes requires careful monitoring and can be affected by external factors like solar power availability and drying time.
- 🍅 Dehydrated tomatoes can be used as a tomato base for sauces or soups, providing a versatile and convenient option for cooking.
- Fresh tomatoes
- A blender or food processor
- A food dehydrator
- A jar for storage
- Avocado oil (or other healthy oil)
- A spatula
- Canning funnel
Step 1: Prepare Your Tomatoes
When it comes to preparing your tomatoes for dehydration, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s ultimately up to you how you want to prepare them. If you look at canned tomatoes, you’ll notice that the skins and seeds are typically included.
Not everyone prefers this method, but it is a way of retaining as much of the tomato’s nutrients as possible. Plus, if you don’t mind the texture, it saves a significant amount of time.
Personally, I like to keep things simple and straightforward. I don’t peel the tomatoes or remove the seeds — just like when I can my tomatoes. Here’s how I do it:
- Start with the tomatoes you’ve freshly picked from your garden. Ensure that they’re ripe and free of blemishes.
- Take a silicon mat or any similar material. This mat helps to prevent a mess when dealing with liquid ingredients like tomatoes.
- Slice your tomatoes into manageable pieces and toss them into the blender.
- You don’t want your blender to get clogged up, so be sure to add the tomatoes gradually while using the ice crusher setting on your blender.
- Once all the tomatoes are in, you can switch to the liquefy setting to get a smooth mixture.
Step 2: Blend Your Tomatoes
Add your sliced tomatoes to your blender or food processor. Using a pulsing or crushing mode, blend until your tomatoes turn into a liquid consistency.
Step 3: Prepare Your Dehydrator Trays
Before pouring your tomato liquid onto your dehydrator trays, consider lightly coating the trays with a bit of avocado oil (or another healthy oil you have on hand).
While not absolutely necessary, this step can prevent sticking and make your flakes easier to remove once dehydrated.
Step 4: Spreading the Tomato Mixture onto Dehydrator Trays
After blending your tomatoes, the next step is to spread the mixture onto your dehydrator trays. Here’s how:
- Pour the tomato blend onto your trays. Be careful not to overfill the trays — it can lead to spills and messes.
- Use a spatula to smooth out the mixture, ensuring an even spread across the tray.
- Repeat the process for the other trays.
Step 5: Dehydrating the Tomatoes
The actual dehydration process is what will turn your tomato mixture into flakes. Here’s how you do it:
- Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place your trays into the dehydrator.
- Dehydrating tomatoes can take quite a few hours. Instead of setting a timer, you should keep checking on your tomatoes throughout the day.
Step 6: Store Your Tomato Flakes
After your tomato liquid is fully dehydrated, remove it from the trays. It should come off easily, especially if you’ve used a bit of oil. Break the dehydrated tomatoes into smaller flakes.
Store these flakes in a jar, using a pestle or a similar tool to tamp them down and save space. If you prefer tomato powder instead of flakes, you can pulverize them further using a blender or food processor before storing them.
A Note on Vacuum Sealing
If you’re planning on vacuum sealing your tomato flakes, make sure to use a previously used lid. Place the food saver top onto the jar and use a hand pump to create a vacuum inside. Once the gauge reaches 15, you can remove the top. Your jar should now be vacuum-sealed.
When you’re ready to label your jar, use rubbing alcohol to clean off any old labeling and write the new label with a permanent marker. This method ensures that your labels are always accurate and up-to-date.
While these tomato flakes work perfectly as they are, you can also turn them into a powder form. This powder takes up less room in storage and works as a great thickening agent for sauces. However, keep in mind that making a powder will require additional clean-up.
Remember to always store your jar in a cool, dry place for longevity. It’s also important to ensure that your jar is sealed correctly to preserve the freshness of your tomato flakes.
What are tomato flakes?
Tomato flakes are essentially dehydrated tomatoes that have been ground or crumbled into flakes. They are typically used in cooking as a way to add a concentrated tomato flavor to a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, and sauces.
How do you cook with tomato flakes?
Tomato flakes can be used in a variety of ways. They can be rehydrated by adding them to a pot of boiling water and letting them simmer until they reach the desired consistency. Alternatively, you can add them directly to soups or stews where they will rehydrate as they cook. You can also grind them into a powder and use it as a seasoning in your dishes.
Are dried tomatoes good for you?
Yes, dried tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals. They are high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, as well as vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. However, like all foods, they should be consumed as part of a balanced diet.
How long does it take to dehydrate tomatoes?
Dehydrating tomatoes can take quite a few hours, sometimes up to 12 depending on the method you use and how juicy your tomatoes are. It’s important to keep an eye on them and check them regularly to prevent them from becoming too dry.
How do you store tomato flakes?
Tomato flakes should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. If stored correctly, they can last for several months.
Making tomato flakes is an effective way to use an abundance of tomatoes. They are handy, versatile, and offer a concentrated burst of flavor wherever you use them. Whether it’s in your homemade pizza sauce, soups, or casseroles, you’ll find that these tomato flakes can really elevate the taste.
Give it a try and experience the joy of creating and using your own garden-fresh tomato flakes.
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