Tomato Powder to the Rescue!

Friday, May 10, 2013

I had been planning to do a series of posts this month on recipes using tomato powder because it is one of our group buy specials this month.  I've been researching and gather info, but hadn't gotten around to putting anything together yet.  (I did, however, come up with a recipe for make-your-own mac & cheese using all food storage ingredients!)

After lunch today I was looking through my fridge and realized that I had 3 small tubs of cottage cheese that I had bought to make lasagna and which were about to expire.  Since I needed something for dinner tonight anyway, it was great timing to put together a crock-pot lasagna.

The lasagna is easy and basic - noodles, sausage, mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, tomato paste - and I keep most of the ingredients on hand in food storage.  Except, imagine my surprise when I went downstairs to get cans of tomato sauce and tomato paste and realized I was totally, and completely, out of tomato paste!  How can that happen?!?  I always have cans of tomato paste on hand - use it for everything (pizza sauce, marinara sauce, soups, chili, stew, etc.).  Or, maybe I should change that to "I DID use it for everything" because that's apparently what happened and I forgot to restock.  Ugh.

Now, I love my family, and want them to have a good meal, but I am just too lazy to get three kids in the car and drag them to a grocery store 10 min away just to get ONE can of tomato paste.  And I couldn't ask my husband to grab one on the way home from work because the lasagna needed to be in the crock pot for about 3 hours to cook.  So I needed to improvise.  I was sitting at my computer about to type in a search for ideas on substitutes for tomato paste when I remembered this little guy seen above, who was sitting on my kitchen counter.

He came in the mail about a month ago.  It is the small "MyChoice" size can from Emergency Essentials, and they sent it to me with our group's last group buy order, as a sample.  And sure enough, there on the label were instructions for using this to make tomato sauce AND for making tomato paste!  Hooray!!!  So I opened the can and made some up.  Worked fabulously!  Of course, I can't exactly comment on the taste, since the lasagna is currently still in the crock pot, but it had the same texture, color and smell as your normal tomato paste. 

I do happen to have a large #10 can size of this stuff in my food storage.  I picked it up several months ago intending to use it in some meal-in-a-jar recipes (which I still will).  But I remember thinking that I wasn't so sure there would be much of a use for it outside of that specific application, at least for me, because I prefer to store canned tomatoes in my food storage (I go through them fast enough that they are easily rotated, and they have a year shelf-life).  However, today's little "emergency" has me thinking otherwise, and I can see where it would be handy to have a can of this stuff on-hand. 

Here's what it looks like.  Pretty basic, nothing fancy.  The ingredients listed on the can are "Tomato.  Contains less than 2% silicon dioxide (to prevent caking)."  You just add hot water to make tomato sauce or paste (more water for sauce, less for paste).

If I remember correctly, the #10 can of this stuff ran me about $19 last year when I bought it.  The group buy this month is for #10 can for $16.  I believe the shelf-life is 5-10 years.  This would be a good flexible option in your food storage for those that don't want to have to worry about lots of little cans or rotating out regular canned stuff, because this would give you meal options for things like spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, tomato juice, stew/chili, etc. and all you have to do is add water. 

[I'm not paid or compensated to write any of this.  I just wanted to give some ideas on how to use this stuff for those who were interested in adding this to their food storage.  Be watching for additional posts - I'm going to put together some meals-in-a-jar recipes with more tomato powder, just as soon as I can find my sausage TVP that has disappeared in the basement...  ;)  Oh, and I COULD have substituted BOTH the tomato sauce AND the tomato paste with the tomato powder, but since I've never tried it before, I though I'd better stick with substituting just the tomato paste today so we get a chance to make sure it tastes/works okay.]