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Healing Kitchen

Tomato Pow(d)er
If you are tired of opening a can of tomato paste, using a tablespoonful, and then trying to figure out how to store the rest, tomato powder might be just the ticket. When sun-dried tomatoes first appeared on the market, we were amazed at how much flavor could be packed into one small bite. Well, tomato powder has taken it one step further. Made from vine-ripened tomatoes, picked at their peak, juiced, and spray-dried this tastes like a hit of summer. It's sweet with a real taste of warm, sun-kissed tomatoes. (And In addition to its obvious culinary benefits, tomato powder brings a nutritional bonus: it provides an easy way to boost the lycopene content of food.)

This deep red powder can be rehydrated and used like tomato paste or sauce: 1 part tomato powder to 1-1/2 parts water makes tomato paste; 1 part powder to 5 parts water makes tomato sauce. But you don't actually have to reconsistitute it to use it. You can stir it straight into sauces and soups, mix it into cream cheese or cottage cheese for a spread, or use it to give meatloaf an extra boost. We stirred it into a creamy white sauce, then tossed it with pasta and cheese for a lycopene-rich mac & cheese. We also tried it in chili along with a healthy dose of chili powder and it gave the dish a decidedly tomato edge.

But one of the nicest features of tomato powder is that it can be used in ways that tomato paste and tomato sauce cannot. Because tomato powder is dry, it can be added to muffin, bread, or homemade pasta recipes, for example, without throwing off the proportion of dry to wet ingredients. You can add it to scrambled eggs or savory custards without making them too liquidy.

For short term storage, keep it on the kitchen shelf in a cool, dark place; for longer storage and to prevent caking, store in the refrigerator. Depending on how much you buy (it comes in a variety of sizes) the price ranges from $.40 to $.75 per ounce.

For more information or to order tomato powder call: The Great American Spice Company at 888-747-7423 or Penzey's at 800-741-7787.

Author: the Healing Kitchen staff
Date Published: 03/10/2000
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