Dried Red Tomatoes

KeyLimePie

Leafing Out
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Points
22
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
Not to be confused with Fried Green Tomatoes...

I didn't want to bother with cooking & canning the extra tomatoes from this year's garden, so I got myself a food dehydrator from FreeCycle and am going to try and dry them instead.

In South Florida our tomato season ends with the hot weather around May-June, depending on the variety.

Has anyone here dried tomatoes in a food dehydrator before? Any tips to try, mistakes to avoid? What's the best way to store them after drying? How do you use them afterwards?

I appreciate your imput. Thank you.
 

miss_thenorth

Chillin' In The Garden
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
91
Reaction score
0
Points
29
Location
SW Ont, Canada
I have dehydrated tomatoes many times, and successfully. I cut them into small pieces--cherry tomatoes I would halve, and regular tomatoes, I would cut into eighths. Arrange them on the dehydrator racks and go until they feel like leather. There should be no liquid left in them. I couldn't tell you how long it takes.

To store them, i just put them in ziploc bags. If they are dehydrated properly, they should keep this way for a while. if they are NOT dried properly, mould will grow on them.

If you have ever bought sundried tomatoes, you would use these the same way. I have added to pasta primavera, added in salads, put in bbqued potatoes, etc. You could add as is or you could soak in olive oil.
Once you dehydrate tomatoes, you will wonder how you got along not doing it before, and you will find many different things to add them to.

Have fun!
 

flinthillbillie

Leafing Out
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
21
Location
Flint Hill, Virginia
A friend of mine who was moving gave me her dehydrator (sans instructions) last year and I used it for tomatoes. I found cherry tomatoes did well cut in half. Other larger tomatoes needed to be cut into uniform thicknesses to dry properly. Seemed the dehydrator didn't warm uniformly throughout so I found it helped to turn some of them and swap around the trays. They tend to stick to the trays and the turning helped prevent that too.
As for keeping them, I bagged up each batch and stuck them all together in a larger ziploc bag and then stuck them in the freezer - just to be sure they don't go bad on me.
I don't have much experience using them, but have added them to soups and just the other day crushed some up into my bread machine dough. Very tasty!
Good luck!
 

flinthillbillie

Leafing Out
Joined
Mar 10, 2008
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Points
21
Location
Flint Hill, Virginia
I don't think they use an outlandish amount of electricity, but they do produce heat so there's some usage. It's probably comparable to burning a lightbulb. (We got one of those thingies last year that you plug into your appliances and it tells you how many kwhs they use in a period of time, but we never got around to putting it on the dehydrator.)
I'd like to try solar dehydrating, but it's pretty humid here in Virginia. I'm not sure it's feasible.
 

FarmerDenise

Garden Ornament
Joined
Dec 30, 2007
Messages
110
Reaction score
0
Points
84
Location
northern california
We use our dehydrators so much, we have 5 of them. Thanks to second hand stores, we get them for around $5.
Last year was the first time we dried tomatoes. We had grown paste tomatoes and one that was supposed to be good for drying. They all turned out real good and we started eating them straight. They are delicious. The ones that were especially for drying were the sweetest and took the shortest amount of time to dry. We store them in canning jars. Besides eating them plain, we've used them in soups, salads and on pizza. We'll definitely dry tomatoes again.
 

OCMG

Chillin' In The Garden
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
69
Reaction score
0
Points
29
Home dried tomatoes are the best! I do it in the oven if I have allot, but the Popeil dehydrater is great I use it for apples and other fruit as well, the only problem is that the fruit gets eaten before I can put it away.

I never noticed any rise in my electric bill they run on very little elec.





 

S0rcy

Chillin' In The Garden
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Messages
62
Reaction score
0
Points
33
Location
Willamette Valley Oregon
Summertime is my tomato drying time. I have large screens (screen doors) which I bought new from a home improvement store. I lay out all the sliced tomatoes on the screens, make sure there is an empty screen on top, and after clamping all the screens together (7 to 8 screens), they go out onto the porch. A very light spray of vinegar on top keeps insects from thinking "yum, good place to lay eggs" and they sit there for two or three days. I wind up with 10 to 20 pounds of dried tomatoes. I have also added chopped basil to some of the layers and salt to some layers, they all taste very good! Paste tomatoes have the heartiest flavor I have found and keep that flavor longest. Makes for great sales too! The time consuming process is cutting allllllll those tomatoes...

Make nice even slices and bag them just as they begin to "curl." They do ok with vacuum packing (I have had good results with my foodsaver) but I prefer them loose bagged. They do well frozen after being dried too. Chopped after being dried they can be added to rice pilaf portions to wait until it's time to cook them later. Lovely flavor!
 

KeyLimePie

Leafing Out
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
13
Reaction score
0
Points
22
Location
West Palm Beach, Florida
All right, I am drying tomatoes for the first time in my KMart Home Essentials brand electric dehydrator. Yesterday afternoon I filled its 5 trays with beautiful vine-ripe cherry tomatoes, halved, and some larger tomatoes, sliced into 1/2" half circles.

The instructions included with this appliance are not very thorough, so please indulge me with these dumb questions.

This morning, after about 12-14 hours of drying, the slices on the two top trays were still very juicy and coated with white fuzz. What is that and why did it appear?

I am such a tightwad that I continued to let them dry, in case it was something only temporary. I just hate to waste good food and was hoping for a cure, all right?

Throughout the day I have been picking off & bagging the dried pieces that didn't get the white fuzz, and moving the remaining pieces to lower trays. I finally gave up & scraped those fuzzy pieces into the compost bin, they are mostly damp still.

Next time, should I slice the tomatoes thinner? Use less ripe toms? Use less trays at once, and/or fill them less? Spray with vinegar?

How do you dry toms in the oven? How long, what temp, on what material? What about the screen door method, do you place them out in the sun or somewhere under cover outdoors?

I thank you again for your imput & advice!!
 
Top