The Complete Guide To Dehydrating Tomatoes: How To Dehydrate, Store, & Use In Recipes!
Regular store-bought tomatoes are an insult to the palette if you ask me. No more than a red ball of water and seeds. The taste of disappointment.
But, locally grown seasonal tomatoes? Well, now we’re basically talking about two completely different fruits.
Growing up in the South, many summer breakfasts were made up of hot biscuits my grandmother would make from scratch, served with nothing else except a thick slice of a juicy fresh tomato, with a little salt and pepper sprinkled on top. If we really wanted to kick things up a notch, we’d pour hot country gravy over it all.
(I’m not salivating, you are!)
Though we aren’t on our homestead yet, growing plenty of fresh tomatoes, it’s okay because we’re surrounded by local organic farms who have plenty of bounty to go around. So today at the farm stand I stocked up and the dehydrator is now going full throttle to help us carry this fresh tomato taste into winter.
I figured I’d walk you all through the process of how I go about dehydrating, storing, and using. Let me warn you - these things taste like actual CANDY and could be habit-forming. Tomato candy? Not very appealing you say? Think again, my friend.
How To Dehydrate Tomatoes
You’re going to take those nice juicy fresh local grown tomatoes (not store-bought Safeway tomatoes!), wash those babies real good, then slice them into slices no thicker than 1/2 inch, preferably thinner if you can manage it.
Now, lay them out on your dehydrator trays (this is the dehydrator I use), allowing a little space between each one for good air flow and even drying.
Now, set your dehydrator to 140 degrees for 10-12 hours.
Ta-da! That’s it. The dehydrator will do all of the work for you. You don’t even have to check on them, but you can if it’ll make you feel like you’re contributing more to the process. So go ahead and look in there every few hours, I get it.
Most people just dehydrate for 6-8 hours, but I like to really zap the moisture from those bad boys. Because botulism likes moisture and we’re trying not to die, right? I dehydrate mine for about 12 hours.
Storing Dehydrated Tomatoes
A lot of people store dehydrated tomatoes in oil, which I love the idea of, but which also scares me a little because again… botulism.
So! I just pack mine into a clean wide-mouth Mason jar and store them in the fridge.
I don’t even leave them out in the pantry at room temperature, even though I’m SURE it would be just fine. I have a tinge of health anxiety, so refrigerator it is! I figure since botulism likes moisture and warmer temps - I’ll just go ahead and eliminate all potential. Tomato preservation, self-preservation… same thing.
How To Use Dehydrated Tomatoes In Recipes
Now we get to the important part - how to eat the tomato candy.
My husband and I mostly eat them straight, like you would a potato chip. I know that isn’t what you want to read, so I’ll give you more creative ideas, too:
Dipped in guacamole is good
You can chop them up and add to pasta sauces
Add to deviled egg filling
Grind them up with a blender and use as a tomato powder spice
And here is a list of recipes that incorporate dehydrated tomatoes
I’ve got the dehydrator out in full force right now, so stay tuned for more Tales From The Dehydrator. Hooked you with that one, didn’t I?
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