How To Make Sun Dried Tomatoes
You can easily store excess tomatoes for nine to twelve months when you learn how to make sun dried tomatoes. Using a food dehydrator is a quick method of drying tomatoes, but you can also use an oven if you are willing to take the extra time. The drying process is complete once the tomatoes become leathery yet flexible. Dried tomatoes turn a deep red color when the process is complete and should not be dried to the point of becoming brittle.
You will need:
- Roma or paste tomatoes
- Large pot
- Rubber gloves
- Large bowl
- Spices (basil, thyme and/or oregano)
- Food dehydrator
- Metal cooking racks
- Cookie sheet
- Zipper bags
- Select quality canning tomatoes. Choose firm, meaty tomatoes such as Roma or paste tomatoes. Do not use mushy or rotten tomatoes.
- Remove the skins with a hot water bath. This step is optional, but makes a better quality product. Boil a large pot of water and place tomatoes in the water for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove the tomatoes promptly and slide the skins off with your hands. Place the skinless tomatoes in a bowl filled with ice water to stop the cooking process. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the hot water.
- Prepare the tomatoes by cutting off bruises, soft spots and areas that appear tough or hard. Cut the tomatoes into quarter sections or eighth sections if the tomatoes are large. Scoop out seeds with a spoon and discard.
- Dry the tomatoes in a food dehydrator. Place the tomato pieces on dehydrator trays so they are not touching. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and spices such as basil, thyme or oregano. Open the vents on the dehydrator since tomatoes are wet and need to let the moisture escape. Set the dehydrator with a thermostat to 140 degrees.
- Dry the tomatoes in an oven if a food dehydrator is not available. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees or the lowest temperature setting available. Place the tomatoes on a metal cooling rack so the air can circulate around the tomatoes. Place the racks on a cookie sheet and sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and spices such as basil, thyme or oregano. This process is slow and takes ten to twenty hours.
- Cool dried tomatoes and place them in zipper bags to store. Fill the bags three-quarters full, squeeze out excess air and seal the bags. You can store the tomatoes in a freezer for up to twelve months.