Monday, March 21, 2011

More Ground Beef and Tomato Powder

Well today was another day for dehydrating ground beef and Tomato sauce. In case anyone missed the procedure for tomato sauce I have outlined it below. Believe me it saves a lot of space. The final product comes out similar to the commercial instant tomato sauces known as “Mrs. Wages”.

The key to dehydrated tomato sauce lies in first creating tomato sauce leathers. These are essentially the same thing as fruit leathers but made from a vegetable such as in this case tomatoes.

To make your tomato sauce leathers you will start with your favorite tomato sauce whether it is handmade or out of a jar which you purchased from the local grocery store. For our sauce we selected “Classico” variety which is readily available at Wal-Mart’s or any good well stocked grocery store. If additions such as mushrooms, meat chunks, etc are desired in the final product you should consider adding them during the re-hydration stage.

Since my wife prefers to use an oven over our dehydrator I would recommend you set your oven to its lowest setting possible. In my case our ovens lowest operating temperature was 170 degrees. Spread the tomato sauce mixture one fourth inch deep onto a cookie tray. Getting the tomato sauce level will be the most difficult part of this process. After spreading the sauce on the tray the best way to level it out is to gently tap the tray on the counter. This will smooth its contents and give an even distribution.

Dehydrate your tomato sauce for approximately eight hours. Be sure when using your oven that you prop open the oven door slightly to allow moisture to escape. In about four hours the sauce should be solid enough so that you can flip it over for the duration of the project. The start time was not critical for me since someone is usually up at all hours throughout the night in my home. I might be up writing or my wife may be awake and browsing around the internet. Your finished product should have the consistency of leather and should be dry to the touch.

Once your dehydrating is completed allow the sauce leathers to cool and than break them into small chunks. Next place the chunks in your freezer for approximately one hour. At the end of that hour put the leather chunks into your blender or food processor and grind it into a fine powder. The resultant powder will have the same texture as your common powdered sugar and like your sugar it does not do well with high humidity. When storing this product choose pint canning jars. Fill the jar to within one half inch of the top and place an oxygen absorber in it. After closing the jar lid will seal and remove all traces of air.

You can readily use your dried tomato sauce in just about any type of dish where tomato sauce would be used. For long term storage this product will last for a minimum of five years and likely much longer. When it comes time to make that spaghetti dinner simply combine one half cup of hot water to three tablespoons of the dehydrated powder and you will once again have your spaghetti sauce. Too little powder will result in a very runny sauce.
Here is a recipe that you could use with your newly made tomato sauce powder.


3 tablespoons of dehydrated tomato powder
½ cup of water
3 teaspoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon of dried oregano
½ teaspoon of black pepper
½ teaspoon of salt

Combine the above ingredients and simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes.

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