Preserve Tomatoes: Seasoning Salt & Tomato Water 2FerSeptember 19, 2014
Every year I preserve tomatoes into frozen chunks, dehydrated pucks, and ready-to-serve marinara. This year I tried my hand at making tomato water, which can be used in cocktails or as a salty tomato essence seasoning for many other dishes. Everything I read about making tomato water included the direction to “dispose of strained pulp,” which sounded like a big waste to me. So, I decided to see if the pulp would dehydrate into another preserved tomato food I’ve always wanted to try: tomato powder.
Every recipe I’ve read for making tomato powder suggest pulverizing dehydrated tomatoes, but I found it’s easy to whip up both tomato water and a tasty tomato seasoning salt out a single four pound harvest of tasty red orbs. Nothing wasted!
(Makes about 1 quart of tomato water, depending on how watery or pasty your tomatoes are.)
4 pounds clean, ripe tomatoes
1 T sea salt
Cut tomatoes into quarters. Place in high powered blender or food processor. Add salt. Blend until pureed.
Line a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth. Place over a large, non-reactive bowl.
Pour pureed tomatoes into the lined strainer. Gently cover. Do not press. Place in refrigerator to strain over night (or about 6-8 hours).
Remove strainer from bowl and set aside.
Place a funnel into a 1 quart mason jar. Pour tomato water through funnel into jar. (The tomato water should be mostly clear, not tomato-red.) This liquid should keep in the fridge for several days to use in cocktails, soups or stews.
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(In fact, it should taste like a salty version of tomato soup.) Since a little of this goes a very long way, consider pouring the liquid into an ice cube tray to freeze and store longer.
(Makes about 1/2 cup seasoning salt)
Line a few dehydrator trays with parchment paper.
Scoop a couple of big globs of leftover tomato water puree onto the lined tray, and spread it into a very thin layer using a rubber spatula. Leave a few inches of parchment edges uncovered.
Place filled trays into your dehydrator. Turn it on and allow it to run for about 12-24 hours until the tomato puree is dried and crispy.
How long you will need to run it will vary based on your heat setting, the wetness of your puree, weather, and other factors. (In our Excalibur, we used the 145F setting for about 18 hours.)
Remove the finished trays. Over a cutting board, place the dried parchment tomato side down, and carefully peel away the parchment.
Add the broken tomato chips to a food processor or high speed blender with a dry foods pitcher, process until the chips are powdery and have a few flecks like pet goldfish food flakes.
Place finished powder into a dry, airtight jar. Sprinkle on hard boiled eggs instead of plain salt. Use a few dashes to season vinaigrette, soups, stews or meat rubs.