Why would you want tomato powder? It's got so many uses. Sprinkle it liberally on meals like soups, stews, pasta sauces,taco mix, pizza toppings. Put some "zip" in your omelet or eggs. Shake it on veggies to add a bit of flavor. It livens up all kinds of dishes. You can also make a mean tomato soup using tomato powder. I think this is an awesome addition to any food storage pantry.
The thing I wanted to do the most though was to be able to make tomato paste and tomato sauce. I figured if it worked I wouldn't have to buy it in the can anymore. I figured what the heck, I'll give it a shot and see. The worst thing that could happen was that the chickens would loose a snack. I've tried making tomato paste on the stove and I have to tell you... It ain't as easy as it sounds. All that cooking time and stirring and hoping the whole time it doesn't burn, I didn't enjoy it at all. Besides, it's just to hot in the kitchen during tomato season to do it. So I decided to try this idea of making it from tomato skins. Now that I've done it I sure wish I had known about it sooner. It's awesome!
So here's what I do now. First I go on and put up whatever it is at the moment. Salsa, whole tomato's, crushed tomato's, Rotel tomato's... you get the idea. What I do differently now is to save the tomato skins.
Lay the tomato skins out on your dehydrator trays and set your heat to 115 degrees and wait until the skins are dry.It doesn't take very long, a few hours. They will be like brittle paper when they are done.
I laid some straight on the trays and some on trays with screens. (For the life of me I can't figure out what I did with the rest of my screens.) They both work fine, it just seemed easier to remove the skins using the screens. Only because they are pliable though.
I took some of the dried skins and ground them up in my little coffee/spice grinder. That was it! Tomato powder!
To make tomato paste from it, just add a tablespoon of water (more or less) to each tablespoon of powder until you get the consistency you are looking for.
I am forever running out of tomato paste. Not any more! This is a great thing to have in my food storage. I know I didn't buy tomato paste or sauce at all this past year! I decided not to grind all the skins and just store them in jars until I need them. I also figured with the moisture content it would end up being hard as a brick in no time if I ground it all and then stored it.. So I put the skins in mason jars and vacuum sealed them. I just grind them as needed. I know I'll be drying tomato skins from here on out.