Sundried tomatoes are wonderful for any number of recipes. Packed full of tomato flavor, these tomatoes are minus all the water content of fresh tomatoes that can ruin many dishes. Put these on pizza, mix them in breads, and add them to sandwiches. Dehydration concentrates the flavors, and makes these rich and flavorful when added to dozens of different recipes. Sun dried tomatoes are expensive in the stores, that is why growing your own tomatoes and making them in a dehydrator is the best and most affordable way to keep them on hand.
- 20 pounds of Roma or paste tomatoes
- 2 cups of olive oil (optional)
- Fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, and thyme (optional)
Be sure to choose meaty tomatoes that do not have a lot of water content. They should also have a high sugar content, such as paste tomatoes. If you do not have paste tomatoes, look for tomatoes that have more meat than juice and seeds.
Wash tomatoes thoroughly and let dry.
If you have chosen paste tomatoes cut them in half length-wise and set them in the dehydrator, skin side down. The tomato forms a little bowl in which the juices sit as the tomato dries. This keeps the juice of the tomatoes in, and makes for a much more flavorful sun dried tomato. Otherwise, slice tomatoes approximately 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick, and remove seeds and excess juice.
Place all tomatoes on the trays of the dehydrator, leaving plenty of room between them for air circulation. Do not overlap or let tomatoes touch each other. Dehydrate tomatoes at 115 degrees F, until tomatoes are dry but still flexible. You want moisture gone, but you do not want tomatoes to be brittle. This will take approximately 12-24 hours, depending on the thickness of the tomatoes and the humidity.
There are two ways to store sun dried tomatoes. You can store them in vacuum seal bags, which are air tight. For long term storage, freeze the sun dried tomatoes after vacuum sealing. The other popular way to store sun dried tomatoes is in a mason jar with olive oil. Pack dried tomatoes tightly in jar, adding fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, or thyme. Fill the jar with olive oil, seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.