How to: Tomato Leather

We have been blessed this summer with an ample supply of tomatoes. Our freezer is full of tomato sauce, puree, marinara sauce, and slow roasted tomatoes. I’ve also dried lots of these red jewels and Dave’s made ketchup. So I thought I’d try making leather again. I made some several years ago but it didn’t turn out well and I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

But this year I have a couple ideas and since we have an abundance of tomatoes, I decided to make the leather. I used about 9 pounds of tomatoes to make five sheets of leather.

Finished Tomato Leathers

Finished Tomato Leathers

I made them three different ways.

The first recipe called for adding apple sauce. Ewe! That sounds terrible but thought I’d go ahead and try it anyway. Since we’ve not made our own apple sauce yet this year, I purchased some organic at the store.

Tomatoes and applesauce

Tomatoes and applesauce

To get started we need to puree the tomatoes. I just threw the tomatoes in the Vitamix, skins and all.

Tomatoes in the Vitamix

Tomatoes in the Vitamix

Blend them until it’s tomato juice. In the Vitamix it doesn’t take long at all.

Blended Tomatoes

Blended Tomatoes

Pour into sauce pan.

Pouring tomatoes into sauce pan

Pouring tomatoes into sauce pan

Now cook until you have reduced the amount of liquid by half. That took me about two hours. This will make it thick and just right for drying.

Tomato puree ready for the dryer

Tomato puree ready for the dryer

If using apple sauce, mix 1 cup of tomato puree with 1 cup of apple sauce. This will make one sheet of tomato leather.

Mixing apple sauce with tomato puree

Mixing apple sauce with tomato puree

Once it is mixed up, the leather sheets need to be sprayed with cooking spray.

Spraying the sheets with cooking spray

Spraying the sheets with cooking spray

Then we’re ready to pour the tomato/apple mixture.

Pouring tomato mixture onto sheets

Pouring tomato mixture onto sheets

I then spread out the mixture on the sheet trying to get it to be level for even drying.

Spreading the tomato mixture

Spreading the tomato mixture

My dehydrator has a setting for leather (135 degrees). Check your dehydrator for temperatures.

Then after about 20 hours you will have tomato leather.

Finished tomato leather

Finished tomato leather

I cut it up into fourths and store in a ziploc bag in the pantry. I mentioned at the beginning that I made them three different ways. The first was the one with the applesauce. The second recipe used two cups of tomato puree and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch. This mixture needed to cook on the stove until it was thickened and then poured on the sheet. The last was just pouring the puree on the sheets with no additives.  And here are the results.

Finished Tomato Leathers

Finished Tomato Leathers

In the above picture are my three different recipes. Starting at the top clockwise we have the tomato puree, the tomato and cornstarch, and the tomato and applesauce.

First of all I have to say that the tomato/applesauce leather dried as a leather. It also was good and you can’t really taste the applesauce. The tomato with cornstarch added was very brittle. The plain tomato puree was not quite as leathery as the tomato/applesauce blend, but it was close.

I have made this before and it didn’t turn out well. It was because I didn’t cook the tomatoes down. Cooking them down made the puree thick with less water so it dried firmer. When I do this again, I will just make it with the puree.

Now to use this tomato leather. I can just imagine this winter having a BLT with this leather instead of those icky store tomatoes. Well, to tell you the truth we rarely buy tomatoes out of season so it will be nice to have the tomato taste on the sandwich.  Also, it can be broken up and added to salads or just eaten like apple or blackberry fruit leather. We’ll see how much of it we use this winter. If it’s at all like the dried tomatoes, I probably should make some more before the tomatoes are gone.

 

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