Fast and Easy DIY Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Easy recipe and tips for making the best sun dried tomatoes you have ever eaten.
Easy recipe and tips for making the best sun dried tomatoes you have ever eaten. | Source

Sun Dried Tomato Recipe & Techniques

The following is a super easy technique for making the most delicious sun-dried tomatoes. If you don't have a dehydrator there are some alternate methods I'll share at the end. We only use the dehydrator for the convenience, because it's simply easier than setting up outside and actually sun drying.

Sun Drying or Dehydrating Tomatoes

This is a great way to preserve tomatoes. You can dry and then freeze them, store them in olive oil, or place them in any airtight container. They never really last long enough around here to test just how long they will keep, but I have heard up to six months when stored properly. They take a long time to prepare, but don't let that deter you from trying them – they are definitely worth the wait!

Sun Dried tomatoes can be eaten as a healthy snack (delicious) or used later in pasta sauces. You can also rehydrate them in dressing or olive oil and add them to salads. There are numerous possibilities and they are SO delicious. This is my favorite method of preservation because it really locks in that intense aroma and flavor. We can only eat so many tomatoes as they ripen, so drying them keeps them handy for later.

Preparing our tomatoes for drying

Preparing our tomatoes and placing them in the dehydrator.
Preparing our tomatoes and placing them in the dehydrator. | Source

Food dehydrators are an excellent investment. You can make dozens of healthy snacks from jerky, to fruit chips and of course - "sun dried" tomatoes without the hassle of actual sun drying. Dehydrators easily pay for themselves over time due to the amount you save on prepackaged snacks. They also prevent waste and ensure that the foods you consume are cleaner and preservative and chemical free.

Recipe and Directions Dehydrated Tomatoes

Prep time: 5 Minutes Cooking Time: Varies by method 3 to 8+ hours

Sauce: (enough for at least a dozen tomatoes we use romas and larger varieties)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing (any variety you like)

1 – 2 Tablespoons finely chopped Basil

1 Tsp finely chopped Oregano

Fresh or Minced Garlic – you decide!

Sea salt and pepper (to taste)

Mix all of these ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl and let it chill in the fridge for a few hours to blend the flavors. I will leave the amount of garlic, salt, and pepper to the individual as some people love garlic and others don't like it. My advice is don't get too carried away because the flavors of your blend intensify as your tomatoes dry .

In the meantime, go to your garden and harvest tomatoes. This should be enough to cover about a dozen or more Roma tomatoes and fill a large dehydrator.

Slice your tomatoes in ¼ inch thick slices. You don't want the slices too thick or it takes too long to dry them and they don't dry as evenly. Thick slices may remain "spongy" in spots which is not pleasant. *I highly recommend the use of a mandolin to get uniform slices that dry evenly. Another good kitchen investment.*

Dip the slices in the mixture and coat thoroughly, shake off excess. Place on dehydrator trays with ½ inch space between tomatoes. You don't want them to touch or it slows drying time and causes the tomatoes to stick together.

For dehydrators with a heat setting – use the lowest setting. For those with dehydrators without a specific heat setting; you will have to carefully watch your tomatoes and rotate them periodically.

Every hour or so you will want to turn your tomato slices and rotate your trays, placing the top tray on the bottom and stacking in reverse order. This is very important if your dehydrator dries vertically rather than horizontally. This re-stacking and turning helps your tomatoes dry evenly.

As your tomatoes dry all that yummy goodness from the dressing and herbs soaks deep into the tomatoes giving them amazing flavor!

Alternate Methods

Use the Oven

You can also dehydrate tomatoes in the oven. For this, you need to place a cooling rack on top of a large cookie sheet, then place your tomatoes slices on the rack. Your tomatoes need a place to drip and they also need to breathing room so that the heat and air can move all the way around them. You can't bake them in a low oven directly on a sheet and get good results. Your oven should be turned on at a very low setting 200 degrees or so. Turn the tomatoes periodically. Spray the rack with a bit of non-stick cooking spray prior to cooking.

Drying Outdoors

A great way to do this is old window screens – carefully and thoroughly cleaned and sanitized beforehand of course! Place the screens on sawhorses so that the screens are off the ground and air can get your tomatoes on all sides. Be sure you place this in an area where the sun is shining directly for several hours; the south side of your home is usually the best.

This is the most authentic way to sun dry a tomato, of course it is also the least convenient. It can take up to two days and you will have to bring in your tomatoes at night. You'll also have to watch them carefully because they are outside with the bugs, birds etc. For this reason, we rarely dry outside, although it is fun to try at least once and let the kids participate in it.

Other Things to Consider

Be creative – try a batch like this and then do a different batch with a different blend of herbs or spices. Summer savory is a great choice, sage, rosemary, garlic and pepper. There are endless possibilities and it's hard to mess these up.

If you give them to others they will want more! It's a great gift idea and people really appreciate them. Package them in a jar of olive oil or in a pretty airtight glass jar on their own. They look and taste amazing.

Have you ever had sun dried tomatoes?

  • Yes, store bought they were good, but too expensive
  • Yes, I've made them before and they are very good
  • I haven't tried this yet, but I want to!
  • I have tried them and don't care for them at all.
See results without voting

© 2011 Christin Sander

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Comments 12 comments

ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 17 months ago from Midwest Author

Yes, they taste amazing. Ours never last long because everyone eats them quickly. They really absorb the flavors of whatever spices you brush on them - so garlic and basil is good, italian dressing, many different things.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 17 months ago from Home Sweet Home

i have never thought about sun dried tomatoes, taste good?


A.CreativeThinker 5 years ago

Hi ChristinS

Dried tomatoes are very delicious. It's nice to be able to make them any time of the year. I remember when my mom

used to sun dry them, the old fashioned way, outside and then make them into a salad. Yummy! Great hub. Thanks for sharing. :)

Regards,

A.CreativeThinker


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Alladream - dehydrators are a wonderful investment and can be used to make a variety of healthy snacks. Definitely a worthwhile purchase. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

Tebo - yes it is a great way to use up a lot of tomatoes. I know we had a very good year, they are slowing down now a bit, but we had a lot of tomatoes to use this year.


tebo 5 years ago

Great information. Sun dried tomatoes are delicious. A great way to use excess tomatoes. Will bookmark.


Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 5 years ago from Oakland, California

I find dried tomatoes to be so good. Will look into getting one of those dehydrators


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Thanks everyone for the lovely comments. I hope you all will enjoy them if you try them.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

This sounds easy enough for me to do! I'll have to do them in the oven thought because I don't have a dehydrator and like you said, the possibilities of bugs (i.e., FLIES!) and birds getting to them isn't appealing. Thanks for sharing.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

Thanks much for this info on dehydrating tomatoes. This I can do! :)

Voted up and bookmarked.


ktrapp profile image

ktrapp 5 years ago from Illinois

A couple of years ago we were in a small town in California near some wineries, Santa Ynez, I believe, and I had the best sandwich ever which had the most flavorful sun-dried tomatoes on it. I never thought about doing this myself, but you have inspired me to not only grow more tomatoes in pots next year but to try making my own sun-dried tomatoes. Thanks.


mlauret 5 years ago

Great read Christin. This sounds delicious! I don't have a dehydrator but we're going to try it in the oven.


Binaya.Ghimire 5 years ago

I know this recipe because for long time my mother has made this, only with a slight variation, so good to read here.

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