I am more and more drawn to buying dried ingredients. Other than when local produce is in season, I think I get better quality in the dried fruit I buy online than in the supermarket produce section. Considering quality and water weight, the cost difference is usually negligible. Recently I bought cheese powder, granulated shallots, and sour cream powder. I rarely finish a container of sour cream before it turns moldy - today I put a spoonful of powder into my tomato soup and voila', cream of tomato, no waste. Also, they store in less space and eliminate the need to lug heavier groceries up the stairs. We are often admonished to eat like our ancestors did - well, they did a lot of canning and drying!
I know that regardless of my determination not to, I will inevitably over-buy at this season's farmers' markets. I don't want to buy a dehydrator since my cookware and appliances have already taken over the linen closet and there's no more room, period. I know that thin-sliced tomatoes can be dried on low heat in the oven, on a rack over a cookie sheet, and then be ground into powder. The cool, wet summer in New England thus far precludes air-drying/sun-drying. Is it worth doing likewise with other produce and if so, do you grind, flake or keep in slices? Do you stew to rehydrate, or add the dry into other ingredients as is?