Nothing beats the taste of a fresh, juicy tomato. But if your garden is overflowing, you may be scrambling to find ways to use them all up. One of the simplest (and most delicious) ways to preserve tomatoes is with your dehydrator. That’s right – I’m talking about sundried tomatoes. And you can make them right in your own kitchen. No sun required.
Don’t worry, the process is simple and easy. I’ll walk you through the steps.
Choose the Right Tomatoes
The first step is to select the right tomatoes. While any variety will do, firm tomatoes work best. I like to use Romas for this because they’re a paste-type tomato that’s easy to dry.
You don’t need a specific number of tomatoes. Just use however many you want or have on hand.
Gather the Remaining Ingredients
If you prefer plain sundried tomatoes, you can simply slice them up and place them in your dehydrator. I prefer to dry my tomatoes with a little Italian seasoning, or simply dried basil and oregano if you want to keep it simple.
Again, there are no exact measurements here. Just keep your seasonings on hand, and add as much or as little as you need/want.
Prep the Tomatoes
Now it’s time to get the tomatoes ready for drying.
- Wash the tomatoes.
- Remove the tops.
- Slice into 1/4” slices.
You can choose to slice long-ways or horizontally – it’s up to you. Some recipes call for the peeling de-seeding of the tomatoes first, but this is unnecessary. In fact, I prefer to keep the seeds and skin intact for extra flavor and nutrients.
Sprinkle your tomato slices with your preferred seasoning, and place them on your dehydrator trays.
Dry the tomatoes at 125 degrees for 8+ hours, or until they’re all dry and leathery. I prefer to dry at the lowest temperature possible to keep the tomato’s enzymes intact.
Remove the tomatoes from the trays, and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
The great thing about sundried tomatoes is that they last a long time. I’ve have a few batches last almost a year when I stored them in the refrigerator.
How to Use Your Sundried Tomatoes
If you prefer, you can simply store your tomatoes as is, and toss them into your favorite dishes. I love adding my sundried tomatoes to:
- Pasta dishes
- Vegetable sides
Or, eat them as is. They make an excellent snack.
You also have the option of storing your tomatoes in herbs and olive oil. This is a great method if you prefer your tomatoes to be moist. Choose high quality olive oil, and store in the refrigerator. The oil will solidify (this is perfectly normal), but will return to normal when heated.
Sundried tomatoes add a burst of flavor to your dishes, but buying them in the store can be expensive. If you have leftover tomatoes or simply want to give this method a try, you can create your own sundried tomatoes right in your own kitchen using a dehydrator.