Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dehydrated tomatoes, continued: Tomato sauce.

A little while ago I made a brief posting about dehydrating tomatoes.
Tomatoes, Dehydrated

Dehydrating is a weird concept to properly apply in real life. Any one can dehydrate but what you do with the goods once they are dehydrated is what will make you an amateur or a pro.

I feel for once, finally once, I have created a something that takes me out of the novice class. I will share this with you.

This tutorial starts where the last one left off. You should have already dehydrated tomatoes.

Step 1: Take your dehydrated tomatoes and load them in your food processor, blender, grain mill, or other similarly functioning machine.

Step 2: This ought to be a predictable step. Turn the machine on to get a fine powder.

Still a little clumpy, I'll let it blend another 45 seconds.

Ok, here is where I got creative, but learned my lesson. This is a picture from inside the lemon zest part of my cheese grater. I did not have a strainer, so this is what I used instead.
This is what it looked like in use.

Step 3: Take the powder you have created and strain it through a strainer, or grater, or equivalent device to collect the finer powder and leave out the larger clumps.

Here is the end result you are aiming for, this is what you want to collect.

I eventually upgraded to a strainer that costed me $3 but was worth every penny.

Now you have tomato powder. I am still trying to pin down the exact specifics of the tomato sauce I will be making with this, but ultimately you will want to combine this powder with 4 parts water, spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, garlic, onion), and warm it up. I did a small test batch and while needing some slight revisions, the first batch was amazingly good.

To compare this to the canned tomato sauce I made here, I would say this is 100 times easier, has infinite times the storage life span, costs less, and weights about 1,000 the weight as the canned stuff.

This powder will last indefinitely as long as it's kept air tight and away from moisture. Along with the other spices required you have a flavor enhancer (tomato sauce) that can be made 100% from ingredients that have near infinite shelf lives. Compare this to the canned sauce that has a couple years best, involves an 80 cent can, and is fragile, and its easy to see why I am excited to have successfully completed this project.

I will be keeping many jars, or Mylar bags, or #10 cans of this around the house and in my storage. This might also have single handedly convinced me to try to grow tomatoes in the spring. If so, it should be an easy guess what the majority of my blogs will be about at that time of year :)

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