Monday, July 27, 2020

Experiment Fail - Sort Of

Whenever I experiment with my food storage and the experiment works, I am quick to pass the information on to you.

So when an experiment doesn't work so well, the only fair thing to do is to let you know what happened.

I had this grand idea.  I often have grand ideas.  Some work.  Others don't.  This one sort of worked but not really.  I will explain.

I have one shelf full of mostly home canned tomatoes and some cans of commercially canned tomatoes.  I also have a box full of bags of dehydrated tomatoes.  Toss into the mix several recipes for using tomato powder.

The grand idea was to use dehydrated tomato powder to make often used tomato products, thus saving shelf space.  If the experiment worked, a good deal of the canned tomatoes could be dehydrated and the shelf space used for those cases of food sitting on the floor for want of space to put them.

So I spent an afternoon running dried tomatoes through my handy, dandy little electric coffee grinder, reducing them to powder. 

The next day I made up a batch of each recipe.  And each recipe worked just like advertised.  The down side was the taste.  I expected them to taste just like the tomato products from the store shelves.  They didn't.

The reasons are numerous.  Perhaps I left the tomatoes in the dehydrator too long and that had an effect on the taste.  Or maybe my expectations were too high.  I was ready to scrap the whole thing.

But after thinking about it for a day or so, it occurred to me that the ketchup made with tomato powder might not taste just like bottled ketchup, but what if bottled ketchup was no longer available.  Anything is possible in our troubled times and with the food shortages happening across the country.  Ketchup that isn't exactly like bottled is still useful should it be all I have.

So I will continue with the experiment.  Most of my home canned tomatoes are going into the dehydrator.  Shelf space gained will be put to good use.  Below are the recipes.  You can decide for yourself if this alternative to tomato products is right for you.

Tomato Paste
6 Tablespoons tomato powder
1/2 Cup water
Equals one 6 oz. can.

Tomato Sauce
2/3 Cup tomato powder
2 Cups water
Equals a bit more than one 15 oz. can.

Tomato Juice
1 Cup tomato powder
8 Cups water
Equals one 64 oz. bottle.

1/2 Cup water
6 Tablespoons tomato powder
1/4 Cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon each salt, oregano, cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard

BBQ Sauce
6 Tablespoons tomato powder
3/4 Cup water
1-1/2 Cups brown sugar
1/2 Cup vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2-1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Bring to a simmer.  Cool and refrigerate.

Tomato Soup
6 Tablespoons water + 4 Tablespoons flour
1/4 Cup water + 3 Tablespoons powdered milk
4-1/2 Cups water
2/3 Cup tomato powder
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Mix four and water until smooth.
Mix water and dry milk until smooth.
Heat 4-1/2 Cups water until almost boiling.
Whisk in tomato powder and heat on medium low to a simmer.
Whisk in flour/water mix.
Add brown sugar and salt and mix well.
Heat to almost boiling.
Turn off heat and stir in milk/water mix.

Spaghetti Sauce
1/2 Cup tomato powder
1 Tablespoon onion flakes
1-1/2 teaspoon each dry parsley, basil, oregano and Italian seasoning
1-1/2 teaspoon each salt and garlic powder
1/4 Cup brown sugar
Simmer 1 hour.

So there you are.  If anyone gives this a try, please let me know how it works for you.  And as always, pray and prepare.


  1. i love your experiments. well done.
    so what's a good backup for a can opener if someone has a hand injury? lol.
    sj in vancouver bc

    1. Thanks, SJ...Somebody smarter than me must have a solution to the can opener problem. As much as I dislike the pull tab opening cans, I guess they can be useful. Hope you heal soon.

  2. Well if folks didn't experiment we would still be in the stone age...Ya know I think that's what the left wants us to be back in the stone age

    1. Rob...Sometimes the experiments work and other times, not so much. But we keep on trying anyway. :)

  3. Hi Vicki,
    Part of the issue may be that store-bought tomato sauce isn't just tomatoes. Most of them have "natural flavor" added. The stuff we grow and can at home is only natural, lacking some of that "flavor." On top of that the varieties used in commercial canning are often much different from the ones we buy fresh at the store or grow in our gardens. My children complained a bit when they were young, that the home-grown tomato sauce (and the spaghetti sauce I made from it) tasted too strong. And now that they are older they say the store-bought stuff is flavorless.

    Like you said, sometimes the experiments work, and sometimes they don't.

    Would you believe chocolate mousse with only chocolate, sugar, and the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans is to die for?

    1. Jennifer...Thanks for your insight on using the tomato powder idea. Even if the products I make with the powder taste different than store bought, there could come a time when that is all I have. And I still like the idea of freeing up shelf space, so although I will still keep canned tomatoes on hand, a good share of them will be dehydrated and the space used for other foods in jars.

      Is the chocolate mousse recipe on your blog? Sounds like an experiment that works really well!!

    2. Hi Vicky,
      Yep, I was feeling the need to free up shelf space as well last year, so most of my tomatoes were processed into tomato sauce and dehydrated instead of canned.

      The chocolate mousse recipe will appear on Saturday. I made it again last night. If you want to be ready to make it, you just need canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), sugar, and bitter chocolate. I suspect semi-sweet might work, but that's for another experiment. For now I've decided that I need way more bitter chocolate and garbanzo beans in my storage. It's that good and that easy.

    3. Thanks, Jennifer...I will look for the recipe Saturday. One can never go wrong with chocolate! Over the weekend I plan to start clearing at least part of the shelf of tomato products. I have some home canned spaghetti sauce to experiment with dehydrating. Guess the dehydrators will get another workout. :) Take care!

  4. Vicki, Before you dehydrated the tomatoes did you drain off most of the liquid? That liquid is where all the flavor is. What you should have done is boil off the liquid until you are left with almost a paste and dehydrate that. Especially with home canned tomatoes that golden liquid is better than the solids. Hugs and love that I found your blog!!!!

    1. Kara...Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, I did drain the liquid off the tomatoes before drying. Next time I will give your method a try. Makes sense to me. Glad you stopped by and hope to find you here again.