Dehydrating Tomatoes

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After purchasing a food dehydrator this summer, I have come to know it as my best friend for extending my garden crops.  I have dehydrated many vegetables from my garden, and I have already frozen them for future use in soups, stews and other recipes.  

Compared to the dehydrators we once owned, the new dehydrators come equipped with thermometers and motors.  The extra bonus?  You don’t have to keep moving the trays around. 

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Dehydrating Tomatoes

Ingredients

firm, ripe paste tomatoes (Roma tomatoes)

Equipment

plastic storage freezer containers, vacuum packaging and home canning jars–your choice

Instructions

  1. Wash tomatoes.
  2. Dip in boiling water for 30 seconds, then dip in ice or cold water.  Remove skins.
  3. Cut tomatoes in slices that are 1/4-inch thick.  Place on racks, leaving space between each tomato.
  4. Dry (until crisp) at 145 degrees for approximately 8 hours or more. 
  5. Place tomatoes in a freezer bag and freeze for 48 hours.  This will “pasteurize” the tomatoes and kill any larvae (eggs).
  6. After pasteurizing, store in sealed bags or jars.  Store where you have the room–in a cool, dark place (freezer or shelf).
  7. Shake bags or jars several times per week to distribute moisture.

If you don’t mind tomato skins, you can omit Step #2.

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Use dehydrated tomatoes as:

  • a low-calorie substitute for chips when dipped in ranch or honey mustard dressing
  • sun-dried tomatoes mixed with dried basil, oregano and garlic, then boiled in oil and simmered for five minutes.  Store in refrigerator.  Do not can.
  • tomato spice when mixed with thyme, allspice, peppercorn, etc.
  • bits or powder
  • part of a recipe, when softened with a little water before use  

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7 comments

  1. The Belmont Rooster · August 28, 2013

    Great post! Some day I am going to buy a dehydrator.

    • Arlene Poma · August 29, 2013

      Your garden is awesome! I hope you do get a dehydrator. Mine is a small model with 5 trays. About $70. It’s a workhorse, and has already paid for itself.

  2. marlenebertrand · August 28, 2013

    Your tomatoes look so scrumptious. I like dried tomatoes, but I don’t have a dehydrator. I need to get one. Oh, and I like the extra tip about pasteurizing the tomatoes. I had no idea pasteurizing was a necessary step.

    • Arlene Poma · August 29, 2013

      Marlene, I can’t take credit for those tomatoes. Those came from the farmers market–a last minute deal. Unfortunately, I planted my Roma tomatoes way too late, so I’ll have to depend on the farmers. Bugs are everywhere. You will find them in dehydrated food if you skip the pasteurizing, so the two days in the freezer are worth it.

  3. Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) · September 17, 2013

    Oo, nice! This makes me want to buy a dehydrator, too, since my oven temperature doesn’t get down that low…

    • Arlene Poma · September 17, 2013

      Allison, I used to roast my favorite cherry tomatoes in my oven. This year, I burned them. I like my dehydrator because I don’t feel this need to keep checking on the drying process. Just like everything else, you can get as fancy as you want when you buy a dehydrator. Mine was the smallest and the cheapest at about $70. But it has a fan, a thermometer and five trays. I must say it’s one of my most wisest purchases because it continues to pay for itself.

      • Allison (Spontaneous Tomato) · September 17, 2013

        Thanks! I will definitely consider it for next summer. I do love making slow-(oven-)roasted cherry tomatoes, too… 🙂

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