My love affair with dehydrating (funny, right?) began with my purchase of my dehydrator. I call it the Cadillac of dehydrators; it comes with all the bells and whistles… nine large trays, temperature adjust, even a timer. I love it. This dehydrator is a staple in our kitchen. I’m so glad we had room for the monster. Or let’s just say, it’s so important to my kitchen that I made room for it.
Armed with my new dehydrator, and my Dehydrator Bible in hand, I embarked on a journey through the world of dehydrating, which I previously knew very little about. I learned that, while there are rules, they seem to be few. It is a wonderfully simple process anyone old enough to use a knife could handle.
…Although, don’t ask my hubby about my less-than-optimal knife skills; the scar is still trying to fade. 🙂
Anywho, possibly my favorite veggie (or, well, fruit, if you want to get technical) to dehydrate would be the tasty tomato. Except I don’t actually eat dried tomatoes. I’ll show you what I do with them a little later. But for now, let’s get started.
How to Dehydrate Tomatoes
You Will Need:
- Tomatoes ~ Roma are preferred, but any should work. Try not to use overripe tomatoes, however.
- Sharp knife ~ do you know how hard it is to cut a tomato with a dull knife? Might as well make tomato soup.
- Cutting board ~ self-explanatory
- Dehydrator ~ please know that you do not need the most fancy one out there to get decent dehydrated goods. Any dehydrator will do. I only recommend the higher quality ones if you are wanting to do some serious dehydrating as it is cost-prohibitive.
- Vinegar or veggie wash (learn to make your own here) ~ optional, for washing the tomatoes
Wash Them ‘Maters
One of the few rules of dehydrating pertains to cleanliness. Read: wash your hands. Wash them well. Dry them with a clean towel.
And wash your produce. I love to spray mine with a homemade fruit wash I came up with, but today I actually just soaked them in a big bowl of water with about a cup of vinegar thrown in. I left them to soak and let the acidity of the vinegar water clean those beautiful red babies.
Wedge Those ‘Maters
Using a sharp knife, or a special knife just for cutting tomatoes, chop the tomato in half from top (the place where the stem used to be) to bottom. Take each half and slice off wedges. Tip: don’t make them too narrow.
Set the ‘Maters
Arrange the tomatoes, skin-side down, onto the dehydrator tray. They are supposed to dry faster this way. This is why you don’t want to make them too narrow; they’ll fall over. Also, they are a great deal easier to remove if you let them dry skin-side-down, rather than having to carefully extract gobs of stuck-on tomatoes from the plastic mesh they dried on. Trust me. 🙂
With my dehydrator, I have better success if I remove every other tray, leaving more room for the height of the tomatoes.
Dry Those ‘Maters
Dehydrate those bad boys at 135-140 degrees, if you have the temperature setting. If not, just let them dehydrate until they are done.
It is very difficult to give an exact time period for them to dry, tomatoes come in different sizes, are different levels of “juicy”, the humidity of the kitchen can vary greatly, and so on. Better to just say dry them until they’re hard and you can break one in two after it’s cooled. Personally, I set the dehydrator to 140 and let them dry overnight. It won’t hurt them to go a little long.
There you have it. Tip: To easily remove the tomatoes from the mesh, pick it up and gently fold it into a wedge. The tomatoes should pop off. Slide them into a bowl or whatever you want to put them in.
That was so easy, come on, admit it. It was so easy, you know you’re ready for the next part.
Click on over to learn how it’s done.
Pin: How to Dehydrate Tomatoes
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