How To Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes - In A Dehydrator Method
Early Girl Tomatoes
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
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.
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:
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:
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
Setting the Dehydrator
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.
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.