Dehydrating Tomatoes 101:

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Sert it and ferggert it.

That’s set and it forget it, MOM. She’s like, WHAT WENT WRONG AT CHILDBIRTH?

So, do you guys have a dehydrator? I’m only 1,025% obsessed with mine. Get this, we found ours about a hundred years ago at a thrift store! It was like $.06 with no dead rats in it. SOLD.

What you see in this basket is a complete joke compared to what’s going on in the garden now. I can’t keep up. And today is only the FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, haaayelp.

 

So, we dehydrate. Just like my hair.

The process is so simple you’re going to slap your knee and exclaim, “SAY!” all Mayberry-like.

1) De-stem the stems.

2) Photograph them. (I’m just kidding.)

3) Rinse your tomatoes.

4) Photograph it. (You don’t have to.)

5) Slice them in half.

6) Layer cut side up on the dehydration trays.

7) Photograph it. (Not really)

8 ) Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. (We did ours over the sink to avoid messes that I would complain about for hours)

9) Turn the dehydrator on.

10) Photograph it. (I’m just kidding again.)

11) Live your life to the fullest over the next 24-36 hours.

 

Wrinkle City! Just like my clothes.

Three vitally important things to remember:

1) They don’t need to be so brittle that they snap in half. You still want them a little flexible and chewy.

2) If you want to pack them in oil and garlic, that’s fine! I just get worried about botulism and chicken pox.

3) Don’t buy clothes that you have to iron if ironing makes you want to saw your hands off.

OH BUT WAIT. It doesn’t stop here! Are you asking yourself, “but Beeeeev what do I doooo with theeeeesssseeee?” Guess what, pigeons. I have a few posts coming up showcasing the JOYS, FUN and PLEASURE of using dehydrated tomatoes in your meals.

P.S. I have the oven version for drying yer ‘maters at the bottom of this here post. See, there’s a place for everyone on www.bevcooks.com!

Now, what to do with the remaining 496 pounds of tomatoes on my counter.

Dehydrating Tomatoes 101:

What it took to roughly fill a 12-oz mason jar:

* dehydrator
* 4-6 cups mixed tomatoes (I had cherry and roma on hand), halved or sliced
* coarse salt

Seriously, you simply arrange the sliced tomato halves cut side up on each dehydrator tray. Lightly salt the tomatoes. Aaron held the racks over the sink while I did the sprinkling, to catch any salt though the cracks. And then he threw a ton over his shoulder because he thinks THAT’S THE RULE.

Now, mine has a basic on/off switch, no settings, so I turned it on and left it alone for  24 hours. Check on them. The larger slices will probably need another 6-12 hours. They should be slightly flexible and not so brittle they’ll break. Just nice and dried.

Store in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge or freezer or 6-9 months! You can of course add oil to it, but I get nervous about funky stuff appearing in it, so I keep mine as is.

If you’re going the oven route, simply preheat your oven to 200, or the lowest setting. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on a cake rack. Season with salt and bake for roughly 6-12 hours. You should be good to go!

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80 Responses to Dehydrating Tomatoes 101:

  1. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 20, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    They’re so purrrrtttyyyy!!!

  2. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel June 20, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    I’d make these… suck the life right out of em ;)

  3. Vita @ Juicer Depot June 20, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Did you dehydrate those zucchini too and what other veggies do you also dehydrate?

    • Bev Weidner June 20, 2012 at 9:14 am #

      I’ve not done the zucchini just yet, THIS year. But I sure plan on it, plus a lot of fruit that I’ll post about!

      • KDdidit September 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

        I have dried zucchini. It can be done in about 10-12 hours. They are crisp, light, and taste a bit nut-like. I like to take them with me as a snack with I go hiking in the mountains. They are light weight and have nutrients.

  4. GingerMae June 20, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    I just found out (after a year of using it) that my oven has a dehydrater function – happy day! – since the ole drying herbs on a cookie sheet on the counter trick didn’t really work last year. So your post is great timing for me… except summer doesn’t really start here in Seattle until the last day of summer.

    • Christina June 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      What kind of oven? we’re oven shopping.

      • Bev Weidner June 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

        Oven is totally up to you! I have a bosch and I dig it. Good luck on your oven search!

  5. Heather June 20, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    i neeeeeeeeeeeeeed a dehydrator…this just solidifies that neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed…

  6. kale June 20, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Why is the concept of dried up and shriveled so appealing here??? But it is. It SO is.

    • Dianne January 26, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

      Cant wait to try this. Have been buying sundried tomoatos for a while and adding them to lots of recepies. Now I can make my own! Many thanks

  7. Eloise June 20, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I just bought a dehydrator a couple of months ago. I’ve done strawberries and fruit leather. Can’t wait to get started in earnest with tomatoes, herbs and other garden goodies! Thanks for your wisdom!

  8. Katie June 20, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    Oh happy day!!! I’m on a garage sale/craig’s list HUNT for a dehydrator.

  9. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet June 20, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    I will have to go the oven route, but still… Must.try. Can’t wait to see whatcha goin’ to do with these…

  10. angie June 20, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Too bad you don’t live closer…I’d trade my children for some home grown tomatoes right about now!! Seriously..we’ve been too busy to get anything planted this year…SIGH!!! Guess i’ll just drool over yours!

  11. Averie @ Averie Cooks June 20, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I love dehyd tomatoes AND I have a dehyd AND I havent turned it on….in like….10 months :)

  12. Denise @ Creative Kitchen June 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Another reason to get a dehydrator! These look so good!!

  13. Cassie June 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    Definitely need a dehydrator. Gorgeous shots!

  14. DessertForTwo June 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    I just loooove reading your posts. They play in my head and they sound just like you do in real life! I’m so glad I met you, otherwise, I’d be leaving a comment that said “yeah, somethin’ did go amuck in childbirth. Get yo’ head checked.’ BUT, because I know ya & love ya, I laugh and choke on my edamame during lunch.

    I’m officially in the market for a dehydrator. Must be cheap, dead rats ok. Wait, it can be expensive & free of dead rats. That’s more like it.

  15. Katy @ HaveYouHurd June 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    There are about 37 things in this post that make me laugh. A lot. Oh and the tomatoes look hella tasty too :) Can’t wait to see what you do with them there maters.

  16. Tracey E. June 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Love it! :)

  17. Jen @ Savory Simple June 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Nice! I just recently bought a dehydrator and I have a ton of cherry tomatoes growing in the garden!

  18. Michelle June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    beautiful! and I don’t own an iron so most of my clothes get worn very wrinkly.

  19. nicole b. June 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    These are so cute! Like little raisins. Only, you know, more like ‘maters. xo.

  20. anju June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    loved ittttttt!

  21. Julia {The Roasted Root} June 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    The thought of dehydrating or sun drying tomatoes has been rolling around in my brain for far too long. MUST. DO. IT! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  22. Chuck June 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    I’ve been looking at a dehydrator and keep wondering if i would really use it. We have our heirloom tomato festival coming soon and I bet this would be a great thing to do. I’ll have to go look around the thrift store and see if i can pick one up like you did lol. I bookmarked for reference. Thanks

  23. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids June 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    So, seriously, could you really not cook until 7 years ago…and now you are a brilliant chef, have your own garden, and know how dehydrate vegetables. You are truly amazing.

  24. Ashley June 21, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    I’m keeping my eyes sharp for a cheap dehydrator – those tomatoes are gorgeous.

  25. kelley June 21, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    My mom used to dehydrate the shit out of stuff when I was growing up….apples, apricots, peaches, you name it. I wonder if she still has it…………..

  26. Megan @ Country Cleaver June 21, 2012 at 8:57 am #

    I think I should have registered for a dehydrator for my wedding…

    • kristin sullivan July 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      lol meee tooo!!

  27. Riley June 21, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    So pretty! Have you tried dehydrating anything else? I would love some suggestions!

    • Paula Owens July 18, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      I have 2 new dehydrators. My old one was purchased at a yard sale, used and old. I used it for years until the trays got so brittle they broke on me. I just bought 2 new ones to take to South America with me when I retire next month. I make beef, turkey and chicken jerky with it for my husband, daughter and my dogs and cat. The jerky for my husband and daughter is marinated before dehydrating and the jerky for my dog and cat treats is plain meat. Everybody LOVES it and saves me so much money from buying the store bought stuff that you aren’t sure what is really in it. If you get a dehydrator, you should try it if you like jerky meats. I use one for meats and the other for fruits and vegetables.

  28. S.Lynn June 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    I do these every year with Roma’s and sprinkle on Italian or Pasta seasoning before turning on the dehydrator. Mmmmmm. And the smell is just incredible.

  29. brandi June 22, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    i seriously need a dehydrator for tomatoes and figs.

    i do the oven-slow-roasted for our romas and then pack in oil in the fridge OR freeze them. they are INSANE on pizzas. and grilled cheese. and…a spoon.

    • Linda July 28, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Brandi, Where do you get your fresh figs??

      Linda

  30. Jeanine June 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    I just laughed so hard at this :).

    I’ve been holding out not getting a dehydrator because I have a hundred other kitchen gagets, but this has me thinking harder about it… I buy so many packages of dried sun dried tomatoes… this would probably save me so much money in the end.

  31. The Healthy Apple June 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm #

    I LOVE tomatoes; but I’ve never dehydrated them. I think you just inspired me to do so! Thanks Bev; loved meeting you at BlogHer Food this month.
    Enjoy your summer!

  32. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious June 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Okay I need to dehydrate ASAP! How fun! I didn’t even know that it was so… doable! And btw, every time I hear the word “dehydrate” I think of Eddie, Chandler’s crazy temporary roommate.

    • Bev Weidner June 23, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      YES. TOTALLY. I think of Eddie too! Ew.

  33. LouAnne July 1, 2012 at 1:18 am #

    Thanks for the instructions. I love dried tomatoes on veggie pizza with pesto instead of the tomatoe sauce and lots of garlic ‘n loads of mozarella cheese.

    LouAnne in Alabama

  34. Helena July 1, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    I have been dehydrating for years. Started out “Sun Drying”, then my hubby made me a huge one and I used it for 25 years. It was completely worn out. So about 15 years ago I picked up the one I am using now. Let me tell you….You can dehydrate anything almost. Beef, chicken, wild game and fish jerky…all fruits, and all veggies. It is fun and you can make it a challenge. I love getting cabbage/carrots, and etc. to dehydrate..to add to the grandchildren’s top roman. They love it and they are getting something good. Try it you will it. We tried applesauce and jello to jaz up the color.

  35. j3nn July 1, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    I just realize how much I like snacking on dehydrated tomatoes a few months ago. I can’t wait to pick them from the garden and dehydrate them! Yum.

  36. Diane July 1, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    I dehydrate almost everything (in addition to canning and freezing, depending on what I will use the veggies for). Corn, green beans, onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms are especially good in soups in the winter! Tomatoes are good for snacking (I use a variety of sprinkles, including season salt with my own dried hot pepper flakes for a bit of punch, and lemon salt) YUMMY!!!!

  37. LIs July 1, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Could you share recipes that use dehydrated tomatoes?

  38. Erica July 1, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    If they’re dehydrated, you ought to be able to keep your tomatoes (and other foods) in the cupboard, not the fridge or freezer.

    Dehydration is one of my favorite methods of preservation, as I live in an area so dry that I don’t really even need a dehydrator. I’ve done zucchini, bananas, berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries–you name it!), tomatoes, corn, apples, carrots, peas, onions–all sorts of good stuff! My sweetie loves the bananas–so much more flavorful than the store-bought ones.

  39. khetaamenti July 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Can you dehydrate cucumbers? I have loads of them and I am too busy to make pickles…

    • tkdbb July 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

      After dehydrating cherry tomatoes are they safe to store in the pantry, or do they have to be frozen?

  40. lanny July 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    These look great. Just posted the photo along with your website URL on my Facebook page.

  41. helen July 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    I am taking a break for a bit and smiled at today’s post! Hope you don’t mind my adding my info. I oven dry my tomatoes. I have way too many for the dehydrator and many years ago I started doing it in the oven at about 275 degrees. We live on a farm in Kansas USA. Today it is about 104 and we are in a severe drought. I am on my 3rd batch of drying this year. I line 4 large sheet pans with parchment paper and slice Roma tomatoes length wise and cram the trays very tightly. Some tomatoes are smaller so I try to keep like sizes on the same tray. I don’t add oil or salt. When they are fairly tightened up, I let the trays cool a bit and then loosen each tomato, then put the tray in the freezer for about half an hour before bagging. This keeps them loose in the bag. We freeze them to keep them fresh. They taste wonderful chopped a bit and tossed with some basil (which I freeze fresh in a bag) and put in some scrambled eggs. Also, great with some pasta.

  42. helen July 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    I am taking a break for a bit and was smiled at today’s post! Hope you don’t mind my adding my info. I oven dry my tomatoes. I have way too many for the dehydrator and many years ago I started doing it in the oven at about 275 degrees. We live on a farm in Kansas USA. Today it is about 104 and we are in a severe drought. I am on my 3rd batch of drying this year. I line 4 large sheet pans with parchment paper and slice Roma tomatoes length wise and cram the trays very tightly. Some tomatoes are smaller so I try to keep like sizes on the same tray. I don’t add oil or salt. When they are fairly tightened up, I let the trays cool a bit and then loosen each tomato, then put the tray in the freezer for about half an hour before bagging. This keeps them loose in the bag. We freeze them to keep them fresh. They taste wonderful chopped a bit and tossed with some basil (which I freeze fresh in a bag) and put in some scrambled eggs. Also, great with some pasta.

  43. Judy Q S September 10, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    I have tomato plants that are so thick I can’t get through them to harvest all of the tomatoes. I am so glad I found a way to dehydrate them. Canning them with a pressure canner is way more than I can wrap myself around this year. I have been making my dogs’ chicken jerky ever since the Chinese dog chicken jerky started killing dogs. It is so easy and I Love my dehydrator. I am going to start on my tomatoes right now!!
    Is there a way to dehydrate them so they don’t have to be kept in the freezer?

  44. Debbie October 2, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Do you have to use salt, i dehydrated tomatoes with no salt and put in mason jars.

    • Bev Weidner October 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      I think it’s personal preference! We salt them for a little flavor, but it’s not too necessary.

  45. Tiffany Crews January 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    I do that with the store bought Roma tomatoes. I sprinkle a little salt and Italian seasoning. Makes wonderful sun dried tomatoes for recipes :) I cut the Roma maters in quarters. Works wonderfully.

  46. Neverensz January 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    I started drying tomatoes last summer in the same dehydrator as in your photo. I had planned on grinding them up and using them for seasoning but they became an addictive snack. I also dried zucchini chips last year. I stored them in mason jars. I have not salted anything I’ve dried but I’ll try that this summer. I plan on drying tomatoes, zucchini and onions and maybe garlic and grinding them in the food processor to make a seasoning powder. I am shopping for an oven and maybe a warming drawer. I have heard that you can dehydrate in a warming drawer, does anyone have experience with that?

  47. Holly January 27, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Wow, I have the same dehydrator you do. Its an ooooold one my grandmother gave me. I didnt think anyone else had one like it. lol. I dehydrate tomatoes and then crush them in a coffee grinder for using as tomato paste. I store the tomato powder in a glass jar and then when I need paste, I just add a little bit of water to it.

    • Carol Cannon January 30, 2013 at 11:50 am #

      AWESOME!!!!! Now I have to try that tooo….. Thanks for the fab tip. {:0)

  48. Carol Cannon January 30, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    I am so excited that I’m jumping up and down…. I’m a 62 year old grandmother of 11 that just got a really nice new dehydrator and have NO IDEA how to use it. The produce market down the street has beautiful tomatoes right now for 79 cents a pound. I’m headed out right now to get me 10 to 12 pounds to start dehydrating. Thanks for the awesome tips and whimsical attitude …. You are a jewel… {:0)

  49. Mike the Gardener April 17, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    Awesome! I recently bought a dehydrator and so looking forward to doing this!

  50. clarissa April 17, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Going to steal my dad’s dehydrator from his barn..No seriously. It is older, and he has used it maybe once…Now here is my concern leaving the thing running all that time. why? I am paranoid of fires. I know my fridge is running, my dehumidifer is running, my 100 other things are plugged in and running, my furnace in the winter… blah blah blah..I almost have myself talked into this…

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  53. Gaye @CalmHealthySexy July 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    I Googled “dehydrate tomatoes” and ended up here – so glad I did! Look forward to getting to know you.

  54. Tracy July 17, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    i didnt go through all of the comments, so the answer may have been posted all ready, but how long do the tomatoes last once they are dehydrated?

  55. Babs July 31, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Can you dry different items at the same time …… say, tomatoes and bananas? Or will the bananas taste like tomatoes?

  56. chellie September 7, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    I’m doing these today! I love your humor! I probably will take pictures, because as a fellow food blogger/photographer, that’s what we do! I don’t iron either. haha!
    Thanks for a great post and making me laugh today!! :-)

  57. Grace T September 20, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Bought my dehydrator 6 months ago and love it. I dehydrate most everything.
    Ground hamburger comes out great and can be used in chili, pasta sauce,
    tacos and soups it is awesome. When dry put in jars and place in cupboard.
    My dehydrator is in use almost constantly. It is easy and affordable. The mixed
    fruit comes out just great.

    I advise everyone to get one!

  58. David April 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    Well great…JUST great. Here I go on Amazon and buy a dehydrator for the inevitable over-abundance of produce from my garden that i can not can or give away quick enough, and I find that I am again going to be sucked into ANOTHER fun and addictive gardening and preserving adventure. It’s not enough that I can’t wait to dig in the soil, I raise chickens, I can produce and grow as much as I can myself, but now I am going to dehydrate stuff too. Good grief! :)

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