Dry Your Tomato Harvest to Enjoy Gourmet Dried Tomatoes
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I love dried tomatoes, but I don’t like the high price at the market so I figured out how to make gourmet dried tomatoes at home using my oven. If you have a bumper crop of tomatoes in your garden, you can make your own dried tomatoes and enjoy delicious gourmet eating all winter long.
Dried organic tomatoes are tasty additions to fresh pasta, sauces, sandwiches, salads, stir fry dishes or to make pesto. You can can also enjoy dried tomatoes as a chewy, tangy-sweet and tasty healthful snack.
Easy Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Step by step recipe for making your own gourmet dried tomatoes at home
The basic recipe for making your own dried tomatoes is easy. The most difficult part of the entire process is having patience.
It can take up to 12 hours to dry each batch of tomatoes in a regular oven, but the wait is worth every minute of oven-watching.
If you have a food dehydrator you may save time and if you have a multi-rack model you might be able to dry just as many tomatoes in one batch as you can dry in your oven. If the weather is hot a dehydrator won’t heat up the house as much as the oven will.
What You Need to Dry Tomatoes – Tomatoes and An Oven
Fresh tomatoes from the garden are almost everyone’s favorite summer produce. Dried tomatoes are, for me, even better than fresh. Their concentrated tomato goodness makes waiting for next season’s fresh crop easier during the long winter months.
You can make dried tomatoes in a commercial dehydrator or you can dry them in your oven or in the sun.
I make organic dried tomatoes at home using my oven and ordinary kitchen equipment.
- 48 Firm, Ripe Plum Tomatoes, washed
- Cooling racks (I use cake/cookie racks) with narrow tines that won’t let tomatoes slip through
- Sea salt, or Kosher salt
- 12 hours of your time – good food takes time
Note: Larger, juicier tomatoes may require more than 12 hours to dry. If so, simply extend the cooking time until your tomatoes are dried to leathery consistency. Properly dried tomatoes should be slightly moist, not papery.
The Best Tomatoes For Drying Are Firm Ripe Plum Tomatoes
I Dry Roma Tomatoes and Cherry Tomatoes in My Oven. Plum tomatoes have very little watery juice, so they are the best choice for making dried tomatoes (The San Marzano variety is a favorite). Plum tomatoes (sometimes called paste tomatoes) have thick fleshy skins and and plenty of sweet pulp with small seeds.
I don’t remove the seeds from my tomatoes before drying although some recipes recommend this. I like to preserve every delicious bit of nutrition from my home grown tomatoes when I make dried tomatoes.
A whole oven’s worth of dried tomatoes takes about four dozen medium to large ripe plum tomatoes. You can dry fewer tomatoes of course, but I like to maximize my oven energy for every batch.
How to Dry Tomatoes in Your Home Oven
- Wash, dry and sort tomatoes by size.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange oven racks to allow air flow top and bottom. I use 4 cooling racks, 2 on each oven rack.
- Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and arrange skin side down on the cooling racks side by side, not touching. I arrange mine crosswise to the wires on the cooling racks so they won’t slip through between the wires as they dry and shrink.
- Sprinkle lightly with gourmet sea salt or Kosher salt.
- Arrange tomato-filled racks on oven racks, and start timing.
- After 2 hours, start checking tomatoes for dryness. Remove tomatoes as they dry.
- Cool on paper plates or towels, then transfer to storage containers.
Tomato Drying Tips
Don’t dry tomatoes until they turn crisp, and don’t expect them to turn brown.
Tomatoes should be flexible, leathery-dry and not wet when they’re done drying.
How Long to Dry the Tomatoes
How to tell when the tomatoes are “done”? Drying tomatoes takes time, but you don’t need to stand over the stove or keep close watch for hours. They’ll dry slowly and won’t even need to be checked for dryness for a couple hours after you begin a batch.
I like to dry tomatoes on a not-too-hot late summer or early fall day when I am home all day long. It can take up to 12 hours to dry a larger, juicier tomato. Smaller, meatier tomatoes may dry in as few as 9 hours.
Tomatoes should be flexible, leathery-dry and not wet when they’re done drying. They’ll be supple but won’t feel “squishy” to the touch.
Tomatoes shrink in size and get slightly darker as they dry, much like the way grapes do when they become raisins; the pulp will feel firm but flexible when they’re done.
Storing Oven Dried Tomatoes
Dried Tomatoes Will Keep Fresh for Months. Store dried, cooled tomatoes in plastic bags, clean jars or other air-tight containers.
I store dry tomatoes in the refrigerator or freezer in plastic bags to ensure longer shelf life, prevent spoilage and to preserve color. I’ve read recently you should NOT store dried tomatoes in oil for more than a week or so even if refrigerated. I recommend freezing or refrigerating home-dried vegetables.
So there you have it, another helpful article from Stuffed Pepper. If you want to add your ideas, please comment below!