Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tomato Powder

Tomato Powder + H20 = Tomato Paste

I first heard about tomato powder a couple of years ago. It sounded interesting, but I wasn’t sure I’d like it. So I bought a small package of Harmony House tomato powder from Amazon just to “test drive.” Once I had the stuff and realized how useful it could be, I bought a larger size. As a result, tomato powder is always in my pantry and is also on this blog's AMAZON WISH LIST  (check out "Low Sodium Products" in the right hand column).

It’s great for anyone following a low sodium diet because the tomato powder is just what it says it is: powdered tomatoes. No salt, no citric acid, nothing but tomatoes. It’s convenient too, especially when you want just a touch of tomato flavor. That’s often the case for me. If I use an entire can of tomato sauce or diced tomatoes in a dish, sometimes the tomato flavor is overwhelming. But using just half a can or less means storing leftovers either in the refrigerator or freezer.

With tomato powder, I can fine tune the amount of tomato flavor I want without worrying about leftovers. For example, I like a bit of tomato in Spanish rice but not too much. The same is often true for brothy soups, stews, pot roast, taco beef, and other dishes.

Spanish Rice

Tomato powder is also great when you discover there aren’t any canned tomato products in the pantry. That happened to me recently when I planned on fixing pizza for dinner. I made the dough, defrosted a few frozen low sodium salami slices, picked some basil leaves from my garden, and bought a chunk of fresh mozzarella cheese. I was all set to make pizza – until I started rummaging around in my pantry. It was then that I realized I didn’t have any tomato paste on hand. No worry, though. I made a quick pizza sauce from tomato powder, water, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Easy and no worries about figuring out what to do with a half-used can of tomato paste.

Low Sodium Pizza

TO MAKE…

Tomato Paste:
2 parts powder to 1 part water
6 tbsp. powder + 3 tbsp. water = approximately one 6 oz. can

Tomato Sauce:
1 part powder to 3 parts water
1/3 cup powder + 1 cups water = approximately one 8 oz. can

Helpful Hints:

Mix the powder with hot water. It thickens a bit when heated, so mixing with cold water will result in a misleading runniness. Mixing with hot water insures a more reliable consistency.

Let the tomato powder/water mixture rest for at least five minutes. This gives the powder time to absorb the water fully and will give you a better sense of its texture.

Use a little less powder to start with. It’s easier to add more powder if necessary. But if you add too much, you’ll have to add water to thin it out and may end up with more than you need.



4 comments:

Joan said...

I have never heard of tomato powder and will have to try it out. Can you tell the difference in taste?

shambo said...

Joan, I think reconstituted tomato powder has a flavor that's similar to tomato paste. When I use it for pizza sauce, I let it sit for at least 10 minutes to fully absorb the liquid which mellows the flavor too. When I'm using it for something like Spanish rice that has a lot of broth to begin with, I just add a spoonful or two of the powder directly to the stock. That way I get just a hint of tomato flavor rather than a strong tomato sauce presence.

Jenny said...

What a fabulous, informative post! I remember a lot of folks raving about tomato powder on the cooking forum. Now I see why. I almost always have half a can of tomato paste in my fridge- would be nice not to have to come up with ways to use the leftovers. Thanks for all that you do!

shambo said...

Jenny, I think reconstituted tomato powder tastes better than tomato paste in a tube. Also, if you need more than one tablespoon, I find squishing it out of a tube hard on my hand & fingers. And the tubes don't hold a lot of product which means they're costly.

I'm more than familiar with the moldering tomato paste can hidden in the back of the fridge. Or the blobs of frozen tomato paste lurking in the freezer. So, for me, tomato powder is a good deal.

Yes, the cooking forum members made me curious enough to finally try it, and I'm glad I did. I wouldn't use it for tomato juice or even tomato sauce. But it's great, as I said, to make just the amount of tomato paste you need. I especially like it when I want some tomato taste but not enough to merit opening a can of sauce or diced tomatoes.