You can make dehydrated tomatoes in a food dehydrator or oven to closely mimic the intense tomato flavor of sun-dried tomatoes. Simply rinse the tomatoes, then slice them into thin pieces before dehydrating them for 6-8 hours at 140°F. Enjoy dried tomatoes in soups, stews, pasta sauce, and more!
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How to Dehydrate Tomatoes With a Food Dehydrator
Dehydrating tomatoes with a food dehydrator is the best way to dry them because it takes less time than sun-drying and is more consistent than oven-drying.
Here’s how to dry tomatoes using a food dehydrator:
- Remove the stems and wash your summer tomatoes under cool running water. Use paper towels to dry off the excess water on the tomatoes.
- Cut plum tomatoes in half and large tomatoes into quarter-sized pieces.
- Use a spoon to remove the seeds, if preferred. Leave the pulp in place.
- Make 1-inch-long shallow slits along the length of the tomato pieces on the skin side using a sharp knife.
- Turn the tomatoes to have the cut sides facing up and sprinkle lightly with salt to help reduce the moisture.
- Set the dehydrator to 140°F.
- Place the cut tomatoes in single layers on dehydrator trays, with the skin side against the bottom of the trays.
- Dry the pieces for 6-8 hours while occasionally turning them for even drying.
- Check the tomatoes after six hours and every hour afterward if they aren’t dry. Take out a few pieces and cool them to room temperature. You’ll know the tomatoes are fully dry when their red color turns deeper, and they are still pliable but not crispy when you feel them. They should have no moisture when you squeeze them.
- Once dry, allow them to cool to room temperature and condition them before long-term storage for 7 to 10 days. Shake the jars frequently and ensure there is no condensation on the jars.
- You will need to dehydrate them again if they stick to each other or moisture forms on the glass jars. If no moisture forms, place them in a cool, dry place for long-term storage.
How to Dehydrate Tomatoes in an Oven
The second best way to dehydrate tomatoes is to dry them in an oven. This is the fastest way to make dehydrated tomatoes, but you will need to monitor them closely during the drying process.
Follow the steps below to dry tomatoes in an oven:
- Prep the tomatoes by cleaning and de-stemming them, then cut them into halves or quarter pieces depending on the type of tomatoes you’re drying.
- Place the cut pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Place the skin side against the paper.
- Dry the tomatoes at the lowest temperature for 4-5 hours while turning and checking on them every hour to avoid over-drying them. If you use a standard oven, use a wooden spoon to prop the oven door partially open to let moisture escape.
- When dried, let the tomatoes cool to room temperature. Pack them in airtight containers for conditioning before long-term storage.
How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Tomatoes?
Dehydrating tomatoes in a food dehydrator takes 6-8 hours and 4-5 hours in an oven.
Your total time should include a prep time of 10-20 minutes. The drying time depends on the size of the tomato pieces, their moisture content, and the prevailing humidity in the drying room.
What is the Difference between Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Dehydrated Tomatoes?
Sun-dried tomatoes are a type of dehydrated tomatoes. They are tomatoes that have been cut and exposed to the sun to dry for several days.
Most people call dehydrated tomatoes sun-dried tomatoes, regardless of how they dry them. The one major difference is that sun-dried tomatoes have a more concentrated tomato flavor than oven-dried and dehydrator-dried tomatoes.
Are Dehydrated Tomatoes Healthy?
Dehydrated tomatoes are as healthy as fresh tomatoes, although some vitamins may be lost in negligible amounts during drying and storage.
Dried tomatoes have many health benefits:
- They are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. They are a good source of vitamin K, manganese, copper, niacin, calcium, and potassium.
- The lycopene in dried tomatoes is a powerful antioxidant that may help lower the risk of esophageal and pancreatic cancer. It may also protect you from sun exposure.
- Vitamin C helps boost the immune system.
- The insoluble fiber in sun-dried tomatoes helps with digestive problems like constipation.
Do You Need to Add Anything to Dehydrated Tomatoes Before Eating Them?
You do not need to add anything to dried tomatoes to eat them. You can eat them as they are or add them to your favorite recipes.
You can rehydrate tomatoes by covering them with boiling water or hot vegetable broth and letting them steep for 30-60 minutes.
Another option is to dry sliced tomatoes until they get crispy and then process them in a grinder to make tomato powder. Add water to your tomato powder to turn it into a healthy, ready-to-use tomato paste.
Best Tomatoes to Use for Dehydrating Tomatoes
The best tomato varieties for drying include cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, Italian tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes.
These varieties make good candidates because they are relatively small-sized and result in an intense sun-dried tomato flavor even when dried in an oven or dehydrator. Ensure you only use ripe tomatoes for the best flavor.
Storage and Shelf Life of Dehydrated Tomatoes
The best way to store dehydrated tomatoes is to keep them in airtight containers inside a freezer or refrigerator for up to a year.
When stored in canning jars at room temperature, dried tomatoes can keep for up to six months.
It’s also possible to store dehydrated tomatoes in sunflower or olive oil. Place them in a sealable jar and pour oil over them until fully covered. When stored in plain oil, the tomatoes keep for 7-14 days.
You can extend the shelf-life of dried tomatoes in oil by dipping them in lemon or lime juice before placing them in the oil. The added acidity will prohibit bacterial growth.
Why is it Important to Store Dehydrated Tomatoes in a Cool and Dark Place?
It’s best to store dehydrated tomatoes in a cool and dark place because exposing them to warmth and light may cause them to rehydrate and rot.
Warmth causes moisture buildup, which increases the ambient humidity and rehydrates the tomatoes. Exposure to light also causes the vitamins in dried tomatoes to break down.