8.04.2010

How to Dehydrate and Oven Dry Tomatoes

If you're like me and you have limited space, without air conditioning, and you want still want to put up food,  consider dehydrating.  Tomatoes are prolific right now in the Midwest so take advantage of the wealth.  Eight cups of fresh tomatoes are equal to two cups of dehydrated tomatoes. 


Now you can accomplish the drying one of two ways. Dehydrate your tomatoes in the oven or in a food dehydrator.  The oven is faster, but will heat up your house.  The dehydrator, well first you have to have one.  They are great for other things, but if you are just drying tomatoes, it probably isn't worth the cost.  However, if you are dehydrating cherries, herbs, or other garden goodies it may be worth your while because it takes twice the time of an oven, but your house stays cool. I use an older version of the one pictured on the left.

How to dry tomatoes?  The first step is the same for both the oven and the dehydrator. 

Prepare the tomatoes.  The limiting factor is how many tomato halves fit on your cookie sheets or dehydrator rack. Start by washing the tomatoes and removing any stems. Then cut them in half.   Now keep reading for the oven directions or skip ahead to the dehydrator. 

Oven Dry Tomatoes

Place the Tomato Halves on a Cookie Sheet
Toss the tomatoes with a teaspoon of olive oil so they don't stick to the pan. Then arrange them with the cut side up on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. It doesn't matter if the sheet has sides or not. The tomatoes can touch. They will shrink as they dehydrate.

Dehydrate the Tomatoes in the Oven
Put the rack in the middle of the oven to allow for circulation.  Place the tomatoes in the oven on low heat, between 200 - 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on how big and juicy your tomatoes are and how dry you want them, it will take 2-4 hours.

Dehydrate Tomatoes
 
Place the Tomato Halves on the Dehydrator Tray
Arrange the tomatoes with the cut side up on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. Make sure there is plenty of room between the tomatoes so the air can circulate. 

Dehydrate the Tomatoes in the Dehydrator
Put the tomatoes on the dehydrator.  Use the vegetable setting, on mine it is 130-142 degrees F. Make sure to follow the directions that came with your dehydrator.  Depending on how big and juicy your tomatoes are and how dry you want them, it will take 6-10 hours.

Store Dried Tomatoes

Once the tomatoes are dried you can store them in a Tupperware in the refrigerator. They will keep this way for a month. You can also freeze them for up to a year. Or my favorite option, pack them in olive oil.  The next post gives the details on how to make Olive Oil Packed Dried Tomatoes with Basil

It's tomato time here on my blog. This month I'll be looking at different ways to preserve and eat tomatoes. Check out my first post where there are lots of inspiring comments for how to enjoy tomatoes.  I am also adding links to the tomato posts as they are published so you will be able to find them together.  Check it out here:  Tomato Recipes and Ideas

Now the question: What will you do with your dehydrated tomatoes?

This post was featured in Simple Lives Thursday.

***Miranda's method for dehydrating tomatoes in her hatch-back car.  Check it out.

35 comments:

  1. I find my dried tomatoes last much longer in the fridge than you've specified. Ages, in fact.

    And youdidn't even mention using your car! How dare you.
    Come readers - flock to my blog to see how YOUR little hatchback car TOO could be a dehydrating machine!
    ;) facetious tee hee on my part.

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  2. Hey Foy, nice post! I'll send it to my Mom. I planted a bunch of organic tomato vines for her, so she might find this useful...

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  3. And doesn't the house smell wonderful when the tomatoes are drying? I love that. I store ours in the freezer often. I toss them in sauce all winter, and they make delightful bursts of flavor on winter pizza.

    Love your blog!

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  4. I love drying my black plum tomatoes to throw into stews or on pizzas all winter. It's such a great way to preserve them without the BPA! Thanks for linking up to Simple Lives Thursday.

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  5. Here's a question, is buying a dehydrator really worth it? Do they come out better? I find when I oven dry sometimes things just don't come out as I intended, but my oven isn't the greatest.

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  6. Wonderful post! Very informative. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Want to do it but too lazy! But love the post :)

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  8. I tried dehydrating tomatoes once, but it was a disaster. I'm going to try again using your method. Thanks for the info.

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  9. I love this idea of drying my own tomatoes. Might give it a try soon!

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  10. I love the idea of making my own dried tomatoes, I bet they're delicious, thanks for sharing!

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  11. Thanks for the idea! Thanks so much for this post!

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  12. Any ideas on how I can sun dry them? I do have the benifit of lots of sun in the Caribbean even if it's the rainy season.

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  13. I've used the oven a couple of time with good results. I love being able to use something that I grew in the middle of the winter!

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  14. I love dried tomatoes packed in olive oil. We oven-dry our tomatoes and lemon wheels right now, but are about to purchase a dehydrator to help preserve color and add more consistency to the end result. Thanks for the tips!

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  15. This is so cool.... I never thought of drying tomatoes myself! I wonder if I could dry cherry or grape tomatoes for raisin sized results? I may just have to give it a shot!

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  16. Foy, this is wonderful! I love the information on drying tomatoes here. I've never dried them before but am actually wanting to pack them in olive oil this year....so, I can't wait for your update on that. I do have a question. If you dehydrate them, won't they stay at room temperature? Thanks for linking this up to Simple Lives Thursday!

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  17. I have a bunch of tomatoes I want to dry before they go bad so this is perfect. Thanks so much for passing it along.

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  18. You've just inspired me with a new homemade gift idea - dried tomatoes packed in oil. :)

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  19. I've done both - oven drying and dehydrating. The oven takes a lot less time and you have more control on how dry you want them. Sometimes I just want them until they are juicy yet drier so I can make a roasted tomato sauce and sometimes I want them really dry, yet pliable, for dried tomatoes. By the time it is September I should have a ton of tomatoes ready to dry. Right now I have buds and flowers and a few green Juliet tomatoes. We'll see what happens. If the weather continues to be like it has been, then I will have a good harvest. If we get too much rain then everything will rot on the vine.

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  20. This topic brings a tear to my eye.

    My dad was quite a gardener and he passed away the week before labor day. He loved to make things grow and was forever proud and generous with the product of his efforts.

    Plenty of his vegetables were still in the garden when he died and we decided that we would dry some of his tomatoes in order to make that last crop last longer.

    We first used the oven but then we borrowed a food dehydrator.

    10 years later, I still have some of his tomatoes in a ziplock bag. I haven't cooked with them in years, but I still have a token of all the wonderful thing my father grew.

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  21. This was just added to my list of items to preserve from this years harvests.

    Thank You

    Jason

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  22. We just put in our fall tomatoes so hopefully there will be some left over to dry. If they go as fast as the summer crop, that might be hard. Regardless, thanks for the post. This and the oil packing process you also describe sounds preferable to stewing them for canning.

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  23. I'm definitely giving oven drying a try soon! Thank you for this post.

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  24. This is really interesting and a good idea for keeping some of the tomatoes I have lovingly grown for a little longer! Thank you.

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  25. This is so simple but my mom much like the sun dried tomatoes. My mom always cook it with barley and scallions. It really taste good. I hope that my mom would try the dehydrated tomatoes. Thanks for posting it.

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  26. What will I do with my dehydrated tomatoes? Nothing! I had planned to dehydrate several pans of them this summer, but my tomatoes did not do well this time around. Weather problems. I'm so disappointed! But if I can get a good buy on some organic tomatoes, I'll still do it.

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  27. Just the recipe I was looking for! Thanks so much for these tips. I oven dried some last night and will store some in the fridge in oil. Can you freeze them in olive oil? What happens to the oil when frozen? Is it better to freeze them in small batches so you don't have to defrost the whole thing?

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  28. Sounds amazing. I wonder why I never thought of dehydrating stuff in my oven!

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  29. Love the first photo. I tried dehydrating tomatoes a while back & I think I did something wrong (in that they didn't dry out thoroughly) because after I packed them in oil and re-visited a few weeks later: they had grown fuzzy green stuff :-O

    I'm going to try again, your way!

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  30. Bought a dehydrator for our son, but it looks like with our overabundance of tomatoes, we may be using it befor him.... Thanks for this information.

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  31. Yum! I want to make some now ;)

    Stopping by from Seven Alive. Love for you to stop by and return the follow when you can ;)
    Julie @ Naptime Review
    www.thenaptimereview.com

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  32. Found you via Snacktime Saturday. We use propane for our oven, which is expensive, so dehydrating is my method of choice. One of my favorite ways to dehydrate tomatoes is by marinating them first -- then, rehydrated in a cream sauce, they make an amazing sauce for pasta! Hope you don't object to a link -- http://yankee-kitchen-ninja.blogspot.com/2010/09/preserving-tomatoes.html

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  33. Oh how sad am I that I cannot grow tomatoes in my garden (no sun...I have tried)...but passing this on to my friend who grows them like crazy. Great tips!

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  34. Hello, new follower here! I would love to have you link up with my Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/09/clever-chicks-blog-hop-2-featured-post.html

    I hope to see you there!
    Cheers!
    Kathy
    The Chicken Chick

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