Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Canned Enough Tomatoes? Now Make Some Lycopene-Rich Tomato Powder!

Lycopene-rich tomato powder has many uses.

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Something to do with Tomatoes Besides Canning
I love to can diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. I also enjoy freezing them. But this weekend I thought I'd try dehydrating tomatoes and then grinding them into a powder. Besides the powder taking a lot less space than jars, dehydrating and powdering allows you to store the tomatoes in their raw state.

A Tomato a Day?
Tomatoes are packed with the carotenoid lycopene. They also contain other healthy carotenoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. Tomatoes also are rich in other powerful phytonutrients such as flavonols, glycosides and others.

Tomatoes have long been associated with heart health because they contain lots of antioxidants which reduce inflammation. They also can reduce total and LDL cholesterol as well as triglycerides. In addition to that, the phytonutrients in tomatoes can reduce the clumping together of blood platelets which often cause blockage. 

Besides being heart-healthy, tomatoes (and lycopene) have been recently connected to bone health. And the phytonutrient alpha-tomatine in tomatoes has been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer in men too.

Tomato powder is a good way to add these powerful phytonutrients to your favorite recipes. Here's how to make it!

Making Tomato Powder
Start with fresh, ripe tomatoes that have been washed with the stem areas removed.
You can remove the seeds if you'd like to get a finer powder but I just slice them as is.

Slice the tomatoes and lay them out on dehydrator sheets.

Lay the tomato slices on non-stick dehydrator sheets.

Dehydrate at 115 degrees F. until dry, about 24 hours.

Turn over and dehydrate on the mesh sheet until tomato slices are absolutely dry, about another 6 hours.

This is what they look like after 24 hours of dehydrating.
Dehydrated tomato slices. 

To make tomato powder, place the dehydrated slices in a high-speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec. 

Blend until it becomes a smooth powder.

Place in a small spice jar and refrigerate until needed.

Place dehydrated slices in your blender.
Blend until the slices turn into powder.
Place in a small spice jar.

What to do with Tomato Powder
There are so many things you can do with tomato powder. Here are just a few:

* Season polenta, risotto or spanish rice
* Use it in soups and sauces
* Sprinkle on popcorn
* Blend into salad dressings
* Use it to thicken tomato sauce instead of tomato paste
* Flavor pizza dough or bread dough
* Blend into hummus or other dips

How do you use tomato powder? Let us know!

Blend 1 to 2 tablespoons of tomato powder into your favorite hummus recipe!


Unknown said...

Wow! I feel like I have just learned so much about tomatoes. And I love the idea of storing tomatoes dry as opposed to wet. Seems like it might keep longer. And putting it on popcorn?! YEEEESSSSSS.

Love the nutrition aspect of this blog + recipes. Keep it up. You have gained a follower. :)

Renee Ranjani

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Welcome to the blog Renee and thanks for the sweet comments!

Petra said...

Hi Joanne

this is a such an interesting blog! Just started to experiement on vegan foods and love the dried toamto powder idea (also for non vegan foods) I am signing up straight away!

Ana Manwaring said...

Thanks, Joanne! I've been buying tomato powder and using it in red sauces to thicken, soups, and vegetable stirfry to thicken the liquid into sauce. I'm jazzed to know I can make my own. Someone gave me a food dehydrator recently.

Lynne Smith said...

Can't wait for your book! How can I do this if I don't have a dehydrateor? Love the popcorn Idea?

Please mail me some business cards so I can hand them out.

Lynne S.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

haha, the books on it's way. Only one more chapter to go through edit! But then lots of photoshoots, etc...
You can dehydrate tomatoes in the sun!

Petra08 said...

hi Joanne

I made the tomato powder (I dried them in the oven, live in the UK so not enough sun) and love it. Used it for a topping for baked tofu, wonderful! http://petra08.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/raw-beetroot-soup-and-baked-tofu/