It has been really good year for tomatoes here on the farm. I wrote earlier on how to make ketchup. Today I am going to show you just how easy it is to dry tomatoes. Why would you want to dehydrate your tomatoes? Well, there are many reasons:
- They taste awesome for one thing. The tomato flavor concentrates and a tomato chip is an awesome snack.
- It’s a method of preservation that lasts quite a while as long as they are kept in a cool, dry place.
- They are easy to rehydrate and they add an amazing punch of tomato flavor to soups, stews, eggs or whatever you choose to add them to
I’m sure there are other reasons that I just can’t think of at the moment but when I have enough tomatoes I love saving them this way. It’s probably the easiest method – other than just tossing the tomatoes in a zip bag and putting them in the freezer. It does take a little bit of time and you must, of course have a dehydrator.
I have a video at the bottom if you prefer to just cut to the chase as it were. But for those that prefer step by step instructions I’ll break them down here. I am not doing a printable recipe card as this isn’t really a recipe but if anyone does want one, just let me know and I’ll add one.
Cutting the Tomatoes
I gather the tomatoes I am going to cut and give them a good wash. I then set them on the table and make myself comfortable. It is a bit time consuming but I do find the slicing of the tomatoes to be a bit zen.
First I use my strawberry huller to take out the core. Then I slice a bit off of the bottom.
You need a very sharp knife to cut the tomatoes. If you have a dull knife it will just end up making mush. I cut the tomatoes about 1/4″ thick and I do try my best to get them all the same thickness but I am human and I have issues with my hands.
I have tried using a mandoline for this but it has just never worked well. One was a cheap plastic mandoline and one was my professional, stainless mandoline. No matter how I tried I ended up with mush. So I get the hubby to sharpen my knife and I sit and slice them.
As I slice each tomato I put it into a large bowl until it is full. This saves a lot of walking back and forth. I also save as much of the juice as I can. I strain it into a jar for use in vinaigrettes, marinades or for the hubby to just drink.
I have a large, stainless dehydrator. The hubby gave it to me for a Christmas present. I like it because I can fit a lot of product in it with one run. It’s also very easy to clean. All of the racks come out; I just put them in the tub and let them soak. After all of the dried matter comes off I give them a rinse, dry them off and it gets stored in the basement. I’ve used it to dry mushrooms, apples, pears, apricots and more.
I pull the racks out of the dehydrator – maybe four at a time – and I spray each one as I use it with cooking spray. They the tomatoes get placed on the racks.
This is repeated until all of the racks are filled. Then the dehydrator gets closed and set. For tomatoes I set it on high and let it run for 12 hours.
When the time is up the tomatoes are checked to see if they are done. If they are dry like chips they are! I store mine in clean, dry quart mason jars.
I drop whole and mostly whole tomatoes into one jar and pieces into another. If I encounter a dried tomato that is stuck to the rack and won’t come off without breaking or that has dried in an “outline” – the video shows an example – I crush it up into the crumble jar. These crumbles are ideal for adding to eggs or salads. They are also tasty on deviled eggs.
Are You Ready to Dehydrate Tomatoes?
Even if you don’t grow your own tomatoes you can get some at the farmer’s market and dry some for the winter. It’s a great way to enjoy tomatoes all year long. The taste of these tomatoes is just amazing; the flavor is so concentrated it’s like a burst of pure tomato in one small chip. They really do make great snacks. I love having them on hand and use them in recipes like Pasta with Calamari and Dried Tomatoes and Polenta Cakes with Roasted Vegetables and Dried Tomatoes.
As promised above here is video of the process:
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