Nothing beats a good pasta sauce, especially made from the freshly picked and vine ripened tomatoes from your garden or local farmers market. I love to make my own from scratch. Not only does it make great use of produce from a wonderfully productive garden, but when you make your own you know exactly what all of the ingredients are. That way you can control for any food allergies, make things precisely to your taste, or just know that all of the ingredients are truly natural.
However, making your own pasta sauce does require some time and work, and it is not something I always have time for or have all the fresh ingredients to. There is always the canning option which takes equipment and a whole afternoon to do the job. But there is a quicker and easier way….
Dehydrated Pasta Sauce
Dehydrated pasta sauce saves time, it saves money, and it saves space. One very large pot will easily dehydrate into a single quart sized mason jar!
All you have to do is pour the finished pasta sauce onto a dehydrator drying sheet, dry till it is brittle, then powder in a blender and store in a bag, mason jar or vacuum sealed bag. Voila!!
When you are ready to use the pasta sauce, you only need a few minutes to reconstitute with water and heat to the desired temperature. Even after nearly a year of storing my pasta sauce powder in a mason jar, it still tastes fresh!
There are a few ground rules to follow though for ensuring your dehydrated pasta sauce stores well and does not spoil or become rancid. Ready? Let’s do this.
- Select a pasta sauce recipe that does not contain meat, dairy products and cheese, or eggs. I found a wonderful recipe here.
- Meat needs to undergo a specific curing process in order to be safe, and this method does not provide that. The dairy products and cheese add fat to the sauce, which can go rancid and reduce the shelf life of the dehydrated pasta sauce. If you love these ingredients in your sauce, don't worry! You can always add them when you reconstitute and use the sauce.
- Also, minimize the amount of oil used, or eliminate entirely. A little olive oil added to the recipe won't cause spoilage. However oils go rancid over time, and it is best to minimize the amount used in your sauce recipe.
- Spread Thinly: Spread the sauce thinly on dehydrator trays covered with parchment paper or the fruit-roll sheets that came with your dehydrator. Do not use wax paper. Pour about eight fluid ounces onto each Excalibur Dehydrator (found here) tray and spread uniformly to the edges.
- Dehydrate at 135° for 6 - 8 hours. Dehydrating times may vary depending on dehydrator model and humidity. After about five hours, the sauce should be dry enough to peel and flip it over for the duration on the drying time. Flipping isn't required, it just may take a little longer to dry. You'll know its ready when it's dry and not sticky.
- Blend the sauce into a powder.
- Vacuum seal or store in a sealed bag or mason jar.
- Now reconstitute, and serve! Not only can you bring back your pasta sauce to it's pre-dehydrated glory, you can also play around with additions to make slightly different sauces. Want more of a cream based sauce? Add some cream or coconut milk instead of water. When reconstituting you can also add any cheeses you would like. You can also add some extra garlic or other spices if preferred, mushrooms, meat, anything you would like really.
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Are there any sauces or recipes that you have dehydrated and used?
Photography by Jennifer Leung Johnson