I look forward to harvesting tomatoes from my garden each summer. I am hoping to have a large crop this year.
My little ones eat this fruit the same way you would eat an apple. Personally, I love the cherry variety. I am hoping the friendly neighborhood deer doesn’t like them as much as I do.
I use my homegrown (and store bought) tomatoes in salads and sauces. I will freeze or can my sauce to be used at a later date.
When I have a surplus, I also like to use my dehydrator to make sun-dried tomatoes to be enjoyed for months to come. I know the name says “sun” dried, but using the dehydrator is a lot quicker and simpler.
You can also rehydrate them in a little bit of boiling water and puree them to make different types of sauce, when the tomatoes at the market are looking a bit decrepit during the winter months.
This dried variety is also yummy straight from the container.
For drying purposes I prefer to use Romas, which is the type I usually buy from the market during the year. Select the firmest tomatoes that you can find. Mushy ones will not work as well.
- Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems.
- Cut into ¼-inch slices or in half – remember, thicker slices will take longer to dry out.
- Place the slices on the dehydrator trays. At this point, you can sprinkle them with oregano or basil, if you like.
- Turn on the dehydrator and dry out the tomatoes at 150°F for about 10 hours maximum, until they take on a leathery texture. Total drying time depends on the liquid content of the tomatoes, so check them every hour or so after the first 4 hours.
- Place your dried tomatoes in an air-tight container, and store in the refrigerator or freezer in order to extend the shelf life. They should last for 6 months to a year with the proper storage.
If you do not own a dehydrator, you can also dry your tomatoes out in a 150°F oven following the same preparation instructions.
Simply place the slices on baking sheets for a few hours, or until they take on a leathery appearance.
For more drying tips, check out Foodal’s Ultimate Guide to Dehydrating Your Garden’s Bounty.
About Jennifer Swartvagher
Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.