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How to Make and Store Tomato Powder

How to Make and Store Tomato Powder


Turning tomatoes into a powder is a great way to condense them while preserving a lot of their flavor and nutrients.  There are a couple of different ways that you can go about dehydrating tomatoes, and both can help you to maximize space and minimize waste.  Let’s take a closer look at how you can make the most of these options in order to get a lot more tomatoes into your food stockpile.

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Dehydrating Whole Tomatoes

The most common method to turn tomatoes into powder is to dehydrate them first. The first step is to choose ripe, healthy tomatoes.  Some people say that Roma tomatoes are ideal for the dehydrator, and you can test this yourself, however, you can achieve the same results with any type of tomato.  Just remember that the quality of the tomato will be directly related to the flavor and nutritional value of the finished product.

Dig out the head of the tomato where the stem is attached, and cut out the butt end as well.  Rinse the tomatoes and cut them into slices that are less than ¼ inch thick.  You can vary the level of thickness based on your preferences, but if they are too thick, the tomatoes will take longer to dehydrate and process.  Place the slices on the drying rack in a single layer, making sure that they don’t overlap.  Set the temperature to no less than 125 degrees.  Let them dehydrate until all of the water is removed and the slices can be broken with minimal pressure, without too much bending. 

Next, place them into a blender, food processor or coffee grinder.  If you decide to use a coffee grinder, you may want to break up the slices into smaller pieces first in order to fit as many inside as possible.  All you need to do is grind them up, pulsing occasionally to ensure that all of the bits are pulverized into a consistent powder.  Once finished, store them in a vacuum-sealed mason jar or bag and place the date on the label.  As long as there is no oxygen or moisture in the container or bag, you can expect to be able to store the powder for years. 

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Dehydrating Blended Tomatoes

Another option is to blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30-60 seconds so the skin will start to detach from the meat.  Quickly place the tomatoes in an ice water bath until they are cool enough to handle.  Remove the skins and place the meat in a blender.  Blend until the newly-formed tomato sauce is consistent throughout.  Carefully pour the liquid over a lined dehydrating rack and dehydrate at 125 degrees until the tomatoes have completely dried.  The liquid will harden and turn into a solid piece that you can pick up, break into smaller pieces, process and store in the same way outlined above.

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Dehydrating Tomato Skins

You have a couple of different options when it comes to dehydrating the skins.  You can use a dehydrator by placing the skins atop the drying rack, or you can also microwave them.  If you choose to use the microwave, use a microwave-safe plate that is lined with a couple of paper towels.  Open the skins so they are spread flat on the paper towels atop the plate.  Repeat until the surface is covered, but don’t let the skins overlap.  Place in the microwave and cook for about 3½ – 4 minutes. 

If they are still a little moist, keep microwaving and checking every 30 seconds.  The aim here is to get the skins as dry as possible without over-cooking them.  All you need to do now is let them cool down on the counter before checking to ensure they are dried before processing and storing them as directed above.

As a general rule of thumb, 1-2 tablespoons of powder equals 1 tomato.  To rehydrate, simply add water until you achieve the concentration that you are aiming for and you’re good to go. 

Try these techniques out for yourself today.  You can produce a condensed stockpile that can be rehydrated as necessary while freeing up valuable storage space at the same time.

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How to Minimize Exposure to Mercury from Eating Fish

How to Minimize Exposure to Mercury from Eating Fish

Mercury poisoning is a global health threat that is not given the attention it deserves.  Part of the problem is that it is tasteless, colorless, odorless, and symptoms may appear long after exposure.  Unfortunately, eating fish is the most common way that people become exposed to dangerous levels of mercury, and a lot of people don’t know they are at risk until it’s too late.

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Why this is a Problem

The reason that mercury in fish is a problem is that it accumulates in tissues and stays there.  When we eat contaminated fish, the mercury is transferred into our bodies where it also stays there and accumulates over time.  While we can resist the effects of mercury exposure if it occurs in small doses, the risk is that over time, we will become sick as those amounts increase in our bodies.  This is why it is so important to be aware of sources of contamination and to minimize the intake of certain species of fish. 

It’s also important to remember that not all fish are contaminated, and there are many species that are perfectly healthy to eat.  The following list provides a basic outline that can help you to maintain safe levels of mercury and avoid over-exposure.

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Tuna

Tuna is considered to be at the top of the list when it comes to mercury poisoning.  The fats and oils in Tuna provide the perfect environment for mercury to be transferred into people.  The reason tuna is so risky is that it is readily available, cheap and a very popular food item.  As a general rule of thumb, adults should limit their consumption of albacore tuna to one can per 9 days, and chunk white tuna shouldn’t be eaten more than once every 3 days per government recommendations.  The government also recommends that we avoid eating ahi or bigeye tuna altogether.  For small children and infants, replace days with weeks in order to keep the risk of exposure to a minimum.

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Safe Species

Whitefish and crustaceans are considered to be the safest to eat, and there are a lot of species to choose from.  Examples include Flounder, tilapia, ocean perch, sole, squid, shrimp, crayfish and catfish.  Other species such as anchovies, sardines, oysters, scallops, crab and clam are also considered to be the safest.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, so consider doing some research to explore your options in order to benefit from the diversity of species out there that are deemed safe. The good news is that you can eat these species to your heart’s content without worrying about exposure to mercury.

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Moderately-Safe Species

Trout, bass, carp, halibut, lobster, snapper, freshwater perch, cod, sea trout, skate and jacksmelt are considered to be moderately-safe.  The government recommends that we try and eat less than six servings per month, and again, this is not an exhaustive list.

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Dangerous Species

The consumption of bluefish, grouper and sea bass should be limited to about 3 servings per month.  Marlin, king mackerel, orange roughy, shark and dolphin should be consumed in very small amounts or avoided altogether. 

The dangers of high mercury exposure are so numerous that it is impossible to list all of the health risks here.  However, it can contribute to birth defects, a wide-range of organ and neurological problems.  It’s also important to remember that we can be exposed to high levels of mercury in our environment as well.  This is why keeping the consumption of foods that contain mercury to a minimum is so important.  However, you shouldn’t let this scare you from eating fish.  Just be judicious and do your research so that you can enjoy their fantastic health benefits without the associated risks.   

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