Someone Else’s Garden: Dehydrating Tomatoes

With my own tomatoes toast, I was thrilled to get Romas from a friend’s garden. She had more than she could handle and was glad to pass them along. I’d thought about buying Roma tomatoes to dehydrate because sun dried tomatoes are a basic ingredient in many raw vegan recipes. Actually, they are used in scores of cooked recipes, too. If you get sun dried tomatoes with nothing added and organic besides, you can break the bank at the checkout. To get a box full of Romas and take some time plus the cost of electricity to dry them will help maintain my budget this winter. A box of the beautiful red jewels was delivered to me at work:
Roma Tomatoes

I filled the sink with water and washed the dirt off the fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit). Then I sliced the larger ones in four lengthwise slices and the smaller ones in three and put them on dehydrator trays I’d wiped down with a microscopically thin layer of olive oil. That was to keep them from sticking when they were ready to come out of their warm home.

Sliced and on the Dehydrator Tray

Some 24 hours later (more or less) I checked them and rotated the trays. Here’s what they looked like at that stage:

The Next Evening

I don’t have a thermostat on my dehydrator so I can’t accurately set it for a constant temperature. It’s very basic but it works. I got it years ago from VitaMix. It’s no longer manufactured.

Back to the tomatoes. The next evening, I checked them again and they were ready to be packaged.

Two Evenings Later

A little snack-size plastic bag held one tray full of dehydrated tomato slices. I had 13 trays filled so I had 13 snack bags when I finished.

In Snack Bags

Since the little bags aren’t made for keeping foods longterm, I put all of them into a freezer bag labeled with the contents and the year.

In the Freezer Bag

My dehydrator doesn’t dehydrate foods evenly so I put it in the freezer to await the future. The slices that had solid skin on one side were still a little soft and I don’t want mold in my ‘maters. BTW, as I unloaded the trays, I snacked on some of the slices and they were GOOD.

Making your own faux sun dried tomatoes is very easy. It does take time but anything worth doing does. And think how good they’ll be in a marinara sauce this winter!

9 Responses to Someone Else’s Garden: Dehydrating Tomatoes

  1. Lila August 28, 2009 at 7:45 am #

    Tommie, you certainly were blessed with that box of Romas! And you knew just what to do with them. Maybe you don’t need to grow your own.

    • Tommie August 28, 2009 at 8:09 am #

      Yes I was blessed but there’s something about planting and tending and picking and eating and preserving your own! Since mine bit the dust, though, I was doubly glad to get these.

  2. Cassandra August 28, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    That looks great, Tommie!

  3. Carolyn August 28, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    they look so much nicer and more nutritional in the dehydrated state then
    frozen.

    • Tommie August 28, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

      Thanks, y’all! I appreciate the compliments!

  4. Roberta September 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    Thanks. The pictures were so helpful!!!
    I’ve never done this before and it helps to be able to recognize how the stages will look.

    • Tommie September 8, 2009 at 5:50 am #

      Thank YOU, Roberta! I didn’t know if anyone would benefit from the step by step but I couldn’t find anything like that online anywhere so I did it anyway. Now I know…

  5. Victoria December 11, 2009 at 11:16 pm #

    Thanks for the photos! Perfect. I’ve always wanted to dehydrate tomatoes but never did. I usually just end up making lots of fresh salsa! Your post has given me the confidence and eagerness to proceed … in the spring! lol!

    I buy my tomatoes at a local farm stand and they are SOOOO good! I was making raw chili the other night and the tomatoes I had in the basket had a BIG surprise for me when I lifted them. They were all covered in white mold/fungus? and when I cut into the good side, they were turning black. Unfortunately, the farm stand was already closed, so I went to the grocery store and bought tomatoes on vines. YUCK! They had not taste nor scent. Good thing they were going into the chili. Nothing like fresh tomatoes. =P Slurp!!

    • Tommie December 12, 2009 at 7:01 am #

      Glad it helped! I always do better with pictures, too.

      So sorry about your Tomato Surprise (sounds like a recipe but it was a recipe for disaster in your case). The Campari tomatoes are the best for wintertime tomatoes. I just eat them and don’t use them in dishes. My favorite grape tomatoes are Cherry Berries. I do miss the homegrown summertime tomatoes!

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