How To Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes - In A Dehydrator Method

Early Girl Tomatoes

13 Early Girl Tomatoes.  This is about half of what I harvested and about all that will fit onto the dehydrator trays.
13 Early Girl Tomatoes. This is about half of what I harvested and about all that will fit onto the dehydrator trays.

Sun Dried Tomatoes-Dehydrator Method

August 16, 2011

Sun Dried Tomatoes Using The Dehydrator Method:

There is a certain awe-inspiring romance when something is made from sun-dried tomatoes. The actual process of drying tomatoes in the sun takes up to three days. I am kind of fussy about food. I do not want something I may eat to be left outside for three days. There are a lot of airborne particles such as pollen, etc that can get all over things that are left to dry naturally. For this reason alone, I use a dehydrator to dry foods. If there is a reason that can be found where electricity could not be used, then I might consent to air drying food.

Food dehydrators can be used for preserving a great many different types of foods, ranging from apples to zucchini. People can make homemade jerky using a dehydrator and their selection of fish, beef, venison, chicken, etc. The dehydrator I have, I purchased for $2.00 at a thrift-store some six years ago. This makes dehydrating food an even more economical method of preserving food, than buying equipment at full price.

Last evening I found an overabundance of tomatoes in the garden. The Early-Girls tomatoes have really kicked production into high gear. So today, I am going to dehydrate them so that I can preserve them for use during the winter. This is a really easy process, and I would encourage others to try it.

Tomato-washed and cored

This is what step 1 should look like when finished.
This is what step 1 should look like when finished.

Step 1

Step one:

The first step in making sun-dried tomatoes is to wash and core them. Wash them under cold water and using the paring knife remove the stem core and bottom blossom mark.

To skin or not to skin:

Some people like to remove the skin from the tomatoes before they dehydrate them. Personally I like to leave the skin on. The skin is a good form of fiber. If you would like to remove the skins then gently score the skin with a sharp knife and drop the tomato into boiling water for a few minutes. Remover from the water bath and run under cold water. The skin should remove quiet easily.

Step 2:

Step Two:

Slice them into ¼ inch thick rounds. Use a good sharp serrated knife if you leave the skins on. Slicing tomatoes can be difficult.

Sliced Tomato Rounds:

1/4 inch thick rounds.  This is what Step 2 should look like.
1/4 inch thick rounds. This is what Step 2 should look like.

Step 3:

Step 3:

Coat one side of the tomato rounds with oil or cooking spray. This will help them not to stick when they are dried. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on the dehydrator racks. Leave about 1 inch of space between the tomato rounds. This will allow a good amount of air to circulate and dry the fruit evenly.

Load The Dehydrator Rack:

Make sure to leave space between the rounds. This is to insure that they dehydrate evenly.
Make sure to leave space between the rounds. This is to insure that they dehydrate evenly.

Step 4:

Step 4:

Once the dehydrator rack is full, salt the tomato rounds lightly with table salt, sea salt, or a specialty salt of your own choice. TIP: You can also add pepper, garlic powder, garlic salt, or other seasonings. You can add fresh herbs such as basil or oregano or use dried herbs if you'd like.

With Salt, Black Pepper, and Garlic Powder

Seasoned and ready to be dehydrated.
Seasoned and ready to be dehydrated.

Setting the Dehydrator

Step 5:

Once the racks are full and loaded on to the base of the dehydrator, set the temperature to 135-140°F. If your dehydrator does not have a temperature gauge then just make sure you check the tomato rounds about ever hour. You can re-order the trays to make sure that the rounds closest to the heater do not get burned. Tomatoes are done when they are flexible but not sticky or tacky. They should also feel firm to the touch.

Finished Product

13 medium sized tomatoes reduced to a quart sized freezer bag.
13 medium sized tomatoes reduced to a quart sized freezer bag.

Conclusion and Specifications:

The dehydrating process takes between 6-12 hours depending on the dehydrator being used. Today's project took exactly six hours and produced a quart freezer bag of dehydrated tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes have many uses in the kitchen. They go well with pasta, in salads, in stuffing, and soups. They can also be eaten as snacks. Make a vegetable medley out of dehydrated vegetables.

The process for making these sun-dried tomatoes is so easy, that I hope other people try this out. I freeze them in quart freezer bags when done. I have used Early Girl tomatoes in this demonstration but the same technique works well with cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, heirlooms, etc. Smaller tomatoes such as cherry or plum varieties should just be cut in half. Large tomatoes such as Beefsteak and Early-Girls should be cut into quarter inch rounds. Prep time is about 15-20 minutes. Dehydrating times range from 6 hours to 12 hours.

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Comments 10 comments

J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

This is a great guide with original pictures! I want to try this! Voting Up and Sharing.

JSMatthew~


lee custodio profile image

lee custodio 5 years ago

useful hub, thanks or sharing


bloggering profile image

bloggering 5 years ago from Southern California

Excellent hub! I've been wanting to try the dehydrating thing, but it seems a little intimidating. Any suggestions for dehydrators?


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Dehydrating is really simple, and a great way to preserve food. I am sometimes a little leery of canning, but freezing I have down to a science. I use my dehydrator and then freeze whatever I dehydrate. Any of the dehydrators on the market are good. Choose one with a temperature dial because they are more versatile.


ubanichijioke profile image

ubanichijioke 5 years ago from Lagos

Wow! Such an easy method. You re awesome for sharing this wonderful information. Be blessed


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Thank you urbanichijoke!


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

It looks like we even have the same dehydrator. You can never have too many sun dried tomatoes. You make the process clear and simple. voted up, UI shared and Pin


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Good instructions and great photos. I love using sun dried tomatoes in recipes. They are kind of expensive in stores, so I imagine the dehydrator pays for itself eventually!


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 2 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Thank you Patsy... $4 at the local thrift store. I have three now!!!


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 2 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Hello Rebecca! Yes, the dehydrator pays for itself in about a week in my house. I use it for everything from making trail mix, kale chips, and to dehydrate tomatoes... you can even make jerky. I use it to dry herbs like basil and oregano too. This time of year it gets a work out with tomatoes and zucchini. They freeze well once dehydrated and then are easy to use this winter in soup.

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