Tomato powder is made from dehydrated tomatoes, which are ground to powder. While the identity of the first person to make powdered tomatoes may be lost to history, what is known is that it the Aztecs were sun-drying tomatoes as early as 700 AD. The Aztecs salted and dried tomatoes to remove their moisture, which helped to preserve them for longer periods. Dried tomatoes were able to provide nutrition during seasons where it was impossible to grow and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables.
Tomato powder made from sun-dried tomatoes was widely used in Italy in the 19th century and was seen as preferable to canned tomatoes due to the risk of lead poisoning from the cans. Modern methods for making tomato powder include spray-drying, oven drying and freeze drying. Today, tomato powder is produced commercially in many places around the world including Israel and Niger. It is popular for the same reasons that the Aztecs dried tomatoes—long shelf life and versatility.
Tomato powder flavor profile
The taste of tomato powder is that of concentrated tomatoes. It has all the sweetness and acidity of tomatoes concentrated into a powder form.
Health benefits of tomato powder
Tomato powder is a highly nutritious and is full of nutrients like:
- Vitamins: Tomato powder is an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source vitamin C and B vitamins. From 100 g of tomato powder, you get 345 percent of your daily vitamin A and 12 percent of your vitamin C. When it comes to the B vitamins, you get 45 percent of your riboflavin requirement per day and 46 percent of your niacin. Vitamin A is important for eye health, bone health as well as for the health of other tissues in the body. Vitamin C is important for your immune system as well as for collagen production and skin health. Riboflavin is important for energy production as well as cellular function and niacin is essential for helping the body convert food into fuel.
- Minerals: Tomato powder is also packed minerals including magnesium and iron. From a 100 g serving, you get 44 percent of your daily magnesium and 25 percent of your iron. Magnesium is important for blood pressure and bone health. Iron is needed to make hemoglobin and to help your muscle function.
- Fiber: Tomato powder also has a lot of fiber. A 100 g serving gives you 66 percent of the fiber you need to take in each day. Fiber makes bowel movements more regular and can help to protect gastrointestinal health as well as help with weight loss efforts.
- Lycopene: Lycopene is a carotenoid found in tomatoes that is important for protecting you from free radical damage and that can help your body to recover from that damage. It is effective for prostate, skin, and bone health.
Having tomato powder as a regular part of your diet can help to treat or prevent conditions like:
- Cancer: Lycopene and fiber are both effective for preventing different types of cancer. Studies have shown that lycopene can help to reduce the risk of several cancers including prostate and breast cancers. The fiber in tomato powder can help to prevent colorectal cancer.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is characterized by bone low bone density and some of the minerals in tomato powder can help to prevent or slow it.
- Anemia: The iron found in tomato powder can help with iron-deficiency by restoring red blood cells to normal levels.
Common uses of tomato powder
You can reconstitute tomato powder with water to get a very good approximation of tomato paste. Use it to make pizza sauce, pasta sauce, or in any other application that would call for tomato paste or sauce. Use it in your pasta recipe to give the noodles a red hue.