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I was reluctant to share this with you. But making sun dried tomatoes in a dehydrator is not so bad. Tomatoes are 93% water, and living in Tennessee and drying tomatoes in the sun is not an option. I found out real quickly our weather is just to humid. It would take forever for them to dry if they didn’t mold first.
I love the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes and I have got a couple favorite recipes that use dehydrated tomatoes. But hey, just eating them like dehydrated tomato chips is great too.
After struggling to dry them outside, I gave up and started using the dehydrator. And honestly, there isn’t a difference in the flavor, so can you dry tomatoes in a dehydrator? You sure can and it is so much easier than the alternative.
And it’s more frugal than paying those ridiculous prices for them at the grocery store.
Best Tomatoes To Use For Dehydrating
No matter if you are drying tomatoes in the sun, drying them in an oven or microwave, or drying them in a dehydrator, any variety of tomato will work. It’s just that some varieties are much juicier than others and will take longer to dry well.
Small fruits work really well for drying. The best tomato varieties for sun drying or dehydrating are Cherry tomatoes or Plum varieties such as Roma, Amish Paste, and San Marzano. They are a lot more meatier, they have fewer seeds, and much less juice.
If you prefer to use another less meatier variety, that is pretty juicy, like Beef Steak, Rutgers, etc. you’ll need to slice them a bit thinner since these are normally juicing tomatoes. You’ll also need to remove the core.
Whatever variety tomatoes you choose, they should be firm and ripe.
Easy Sun Dried Tomatoes In a Dehydrator
How to Prepare Tomatoes for Dehydrating
You’ll need a sharp serrated knife that will slice clean and fast.
1) Wash tomatoes well under cold water. Cut off stem and slice tomatoes to 1/4 inch thick.
2) As you slice them, lay tomatoes out flat, single layer, peeling side down on dehydrator trays.
Don’t panic over the thickness, just eyeball them and slice them as even as possible. This will help them to dry more evenly. The thinner the slices are, the quicker they will dry.
Allow enough space for good airflow to easily circulate around them.
3) Once all the dehydrator trays are full, lightly sprinkle tomatoes slices with salt. I like to use Pink Himalayan Salt. And if you wish, you can also put some “dried herbs” on them such as basil, thyme, and oregano. (DON’T USE FRESH HERBS)
4) Set dehydrator thermostat to 145°F, (65°C). Drying time will depend on the variety of tomato and how thick the slices are. So I can’t really tell you how long it takes to dehydrate them. There is really no cut and dry answer. Average dry time is 6-12 hours though.
Check tomato slices after 6 hours, some may be dry and ready to put in jars, others may not be. These will need to continue drying.
You’ll need to check them every hour or so. As they will dry at various times. I set my cute and simple egg timer and it works wonders to remind me.
What Dehydrated Tomatoes Look and Feel Like
As I mentioned already, drying time will vary. When a tomato is fully dehydrated, it will feel leathery and pliable, and not crunchy, hard or brittle.
It will not have any moisture when you touch it with your fingers. It will feel very much like a dried raisin. The color will be a deep red.
If you happen to “over dry” a few, don’t worry, these can be blended to make tomato powder.
How To Store Dehydrated tomatoes
Remove “sun dried” from dehydrator tray and store in an air tight container. I use wide mouth mason jars and recycled canning lids that “unsealed” without bending when I open the canning jar.
A good way to know if you’ve gotten all the moisture out is to turn the container “up-side-down” (lid down) on the counter for about 3 days. If there’s any moisture left in the tomatoes, it will rise and you’ll see it on the glass jar.
At this point, put them in the refrigerator or freezer. They will last a while in the refrigerator.
If no moisture appears, you’ve done a great job at dehydrating them and they can be labeled and stored on the shelf too. Sun Dried tomatoes shelf life is about 1 year – give or take.
How to Tell if Dried Tomatoes are Bad
How can you tell if sun dried tomatoes done in a dehydrator have gone bad? Here’s some really good indicators:
- Look for mold inside the container on tomatoes
- When you use from it, check for a bad smell first
- If they have changed colors, chances are, they have gone bad
How to Use Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun dried tomatoes can be added to most any favorite recipe. Such as soups, stews, and even casseroles.
They can also be rehydrated with boiling water and use to make tomato paste and ketchup. And of course again, they can be eaten like tomato chips. Can you tell I love eating them?
Having sun dried tomatoes in a dehydrator sure is a tasty treat in the dead of winter too.
More Delicious Ways to Use Tomatoes
- 5 lbs fresh tomatoes
- Pink Himalayan Salt (optional)
- Dried herbs of choice (optional)
- Wash tomatoes under cold running water. Remove stems and slice tomatoes to 1/4 inch thick using a sharp serrated knife.
- As you slice them, lay tomatoes out flat, single layer, with peel side down on dehydrator trays.
- Once all the dehydrator trays are full, lightly sprinkle tomatoes slices with Pink Himalayan Salt. You can sprinkle "dried herbs” on them to if you wish.
- Set dehydrator to 145°F, (65°C). Dry for 6-12 hours.
1. Any type salt will work, Pink Himalayan just taste great
2. If you use herbs, they should be "dried herbs" not fresh
3. Dry time will depend on variety of tomato and thickness of each slice