How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes (in the Sun, Oven or Dehydrator)
Cheaper than store-bought and taste WAY better, learn how to make sun-dried tomatoes in the sun, the oven, or the dehydrator! (See blog post for instructions on drying in the sun and packing in oil.)
Course: condiment, Ingredient, Snack
Author: Kimberly Killebrew
3pounds ripe tomatoes (quantity is just a guideline, use more or less as desired), washed and cut in half if medium-sized and quartered if large. Cut out the little core/stem parts. Note: Try to keep the sizes uniform so they dry more or less at the same rate.
olive oil for packing(optional, see blog post above for instructions)
**For sun-drying and/or packing the tomatoes in olive oil, see blog post for instructions**Preheat the oven to 160 degrees F (a little higher is fine if your oven doesn't go that low). If using a dehydrator set the temperature between 140 and 160 degrees F. On a rack or parchment-lined baking sheet (do not use foil, it can react), arrange the tomatoes cut side up and sprinkle very lightly with sea salt. If desired, add some dried herbs or spices.Turn the tomatoes over around the halfway point so they can continue drying on the other side. For larger tomatoes press down on them gently with a spatula to flatten a little and release some of the liquid.NOTE: Even if your tomatoes are of uniform size they will still dry at somewhat different rates so keep an eye on them and remove the ones that are done while leaving the others to continue drying.If you have an extra large load of tomatoes in your oven, you can crack the oven door open an inch or two to allow for better circulation and prevent them from steaming. NOTE: Drying the tomatoes will take several hours, how many will depend on the size and water content of your tomatoes. The tomatoes are done when they are very dry but still pliable. If dried too long they will be tough and leathery or brittle, if not dried long enough they will become moldy quickly. When you press them between your fingers they should be pliable but not remotely squishy or moist.
To store: Place the fully-cooled dried tomatoes in an airtight bag or container and store them in the refrigerator where they will keep for a few months (depending on how much moisture is left in the tomatoes) or in the freezer where they will keep even longer. If storing them in the fridge do not keep them in the crisper drawer, they need to be kept dry, in as moisture-free of an environment as possible. Check the tomatoes frequently for any signs of mold and discard the tomatoes if you see any.
How to Reconstitute Dried Tomatoes: Soak them in warm water for about 30 minutes or until soft and pliable. Remove them from the water, pat them dry with paper towels and use them as your recipe directs. And if you're making soup or stew be sure to save and use that tomato soaking water! Alternatively, you can also soak the dried tomatoes in wine or broth.
To Pack the Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil: *See blog post above for instructions.
Makes roughly 2 1/4 cups dried tomatoes depending on the water content of the tomatoes and how long they were dried.