The Best Secret Ingredient You’re Not Using Yet324
with Ashlee Redger
Test Kitchen Chef
Quick: name an ingredient that’s packed full of umami savoriness, ripe sweetness, and just a touch of tart acidity. If you answered tomatoes, you’re right! While those descriptions are perfectly apt for bright red, mid-summer tomatoes, it can be difficult to get the same deliciousness from the sad, pale tomatoes that fill grocery store produce shelves for the other three-quarters of the year. There’s good news though, and it comes in the form of Tomato Powder! (Pictured above: Mexican Style Vinaigrette)
The powder consists of just one ingredient: dehydrated natural tomatoes. It’s an awesome option not only for replacing tomato juice, paste, and sauce, but it can also add flavors in unexpected places. If you can’t tell, we’re big fans.
Tomato Paste - Waste No More!
Tomatoes have high levels of glutamic acid, which is the molecule that creates a majority of the umami taste. It’s why tomato paste is a common ingredient in stews, marinades, and sauces: it is an instant flavor booster. If you’re like me, though, you always open up a can of tomato paste, use a few tablespoons, then forget about the remaining paste that inevitably ends up in the depths of your freezer. And then you open up a new can...every single time. Break that cycle by keeping a jar of Tomato Powder in your fridge (it’ll stay fresher that way) and use 1 part powder to 2 or 3 parts water, depending how thick of a paste you prefer for your dish.
Tomato Sauce & Juice
You can also make a tomato sauce substitution using 4 parts water to every 1 part of Tomato Powder. This isn’t a suitable replacement for a thick, herb-and-garlic pasta sauce (which we’ve got you covered on anyway), but it can be used anywhere you would use a plain pureed tomato-style sauce in Spanish rice, soups, or curries.
If you need tomato juice, increase the water to 6 parts, plus more to thin as desired. With that secret, you can be the brunch-time MVP by pairing your “tomato juice” with Horseradish Powder and Cambridge Celery Seasoning for a thick Bloody Mary made with ingredients from your pantry.
Perhaps what makes Tomato Powder the most special is not its ability to replace other products, but rather the fact that it’s a powder. You can sprinkle it onto popcorn, stir it into slaw, or create a salad dressing without adding the moisture and volume of tomato paste that it would take to infuse a dish with flavor.
Add it to homemade BBQ rubs, stir it into bread or pastry doughs, or use it as a flavorful garnish for deviled, scrambled, or poached eggs. A local Denver restaurant, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, even uses Tomato Powder to top their unique hot dogs! We love this product so much, we use it in almost a quarter of our Spice ‘n Easy offerings—can you guess which ones?
Pro Tip: Whether you’re cooking with fresh tomatoes, the canned stuff, or our Tomato Powder, try mixing in a little bit of Honey Powder. The subtle floral sweetness combined with tomato lends any dish the flavor of the freshest ripe and sweet summer tomatoes.
Obviously, we could continue to sing the praises of Tomato Powder forever. Is it already a staple in your home? What are your favorite uses? Let us know in the comments below.