Chili Pepper Madness

November 24, 2015

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator

Make your own "sun dried" tomatoes at home with a dehydrator and enjoy them any time of year in so many recipes.

Right next to our gorgeous chili peppers we grew in the garden this year, we also grew a SLEW of just-as-gorgeous tomatoes. We grow them every year, but this year we picked up some fabulous heirloom tomato plants during a visit to Asheville, NC, and gave them a try. Talk about flavor. Heirlooms are BY FAR my favorite types of tomatoes, and luckily there is a large variety to choose from. Weirdly, they produced quite late in our season, so we had to pick a number of green tomatoes off the plants just before frost struck us. We had a large batch, but let them sit on the kitchen counter with apples to help them ripen. And ripen they did! Neat trick, the apples. If you bury an apple in your tomato bowl, it will speed along the process. And you want to cut the tomatoes off the plant so you are not severing the stem from the tomato. This helps them last longer which is needed for the ripening process.

So, the question remains. What to do with all these tomatoes? We've made plenty of sauces and froze a lot, but another way to consider preserving your outstanding tomato harvest is to make sun dried tomatoes at home. But wait? It isn't very sunny! And it's cold outside! How can we do this? You do this, my friends, with a dehydrator. I've posted information on how to dehydrate chili peppers, and the same principal works for tomatoes. The process is simple. First, you need a dehydrator.

Here is a link to the one I own - It's an affiliate link, FYI: Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A. I LOVE this dehydrator. AND! You need some tomatoes, olive oil, and a few other ingredients. The recipe is listed below, but here are some photos to help you out.

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes (in a Dehydrator)

First things first. Clean and dry your tomatoes, then slice them into fairly thin slices, about a quarter inch thick or less. Some recipes call for coring them out, even peeling them, blanching them first, but we don't think so. We're making it easy, and to be honest, the resulting tomatoes come out great this way. Try it. You'll see.

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator:

Lay out your tomatoes like so. Give them room to dry. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a bit of salt, pepper, dried basil and/or dried oregano. Cover, and turn on the dehydrator. You'll want a temperature of 140 degrees, the same for dehydrating chili peppers.

A difference here, though, is that you don't necessarily want your tomatoes to dry out completely. You want them to be somewhat pliable, so keep your dehydrating time at about 6-8 hours. You'll need to check on them to make sure they are dried out enough, but not TOO dry. Ours were done at the 6 hour mark, but again, be sure to keep an eye on them after about 6 hours or so. If you flip them half way through it will help prevent them from sticking to the dehydrator  tray. Plus it allows you to season the other side if you'd like more seasoning.

Once dried, remove them and layer them in a jar with garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, rosemary sprigs, and a bit more salt, pepper, dried basil and dried oregano. Like so.

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator

Once you've got your tomatoes nicely layered, cover them in olive oil. You can press down on the tomatoes and contents of the jar to compress them, making room for more tomatoes. Just be sure the ingredients are all submerged in oil. Just like this...

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator

Doesn't it look delicious? Oh yes! Cover tightly with a lid and refrigerate. They should last 4-6 weeks this way. Perfect for so many recipes!

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator - Recipe Steps

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head garlic, cloves removed and peeled
  • Basil leaves - 10-12 should do
  • 2 cups olive oil - as needed

Recipe Directions

  1. Clean and dry the tomatoes. Slice them into fairly thin slices, about a quarter inch thick or less.
  2. Lay out your tomatoes on dehydrator racks. Do not overlap.

  3. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a bit of salt, pepper, dried basil and/or dried oregano. Cover, and turn on the dehydrator at 140 degrees.

  4. Dry for 6-8 hours, but check them after 6 hours to ensure they do not over dry. You want them to be slightly pliable. Flip them once about half way through the process.
  5. Remove the tomatoes

     and layer them in a jar with garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, rosemary sprigs, and a bit more salt, pepper, dried basil and dried oregano.

  6. Cover them in oil and store in the refrigerator in tightly capped jars. Should last 4-6 weeks.

Here is a link to the one I own - It's an affiliate link, FYI: Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A

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How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator - Recipe

Don't Stop Here! How About Some More Chili Pepper Recipes and Info?

9 comments

  • Comment Link Kirsten September 11, 2017 posted by Kirsten

    Can you freeze them?

    REPLY: Kirsten, yes, you can, though you really don't need to. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Heather August 13, 2017 posted by Heather

    Right now I only have dehydrated tomatoes which are dry and crisp. Have you tried it before when they are fully dehydrated and if so, did it work at all? Thanks

    REPLY: Heather, yes. If using a dehydrator, check on the periodically and stop the process when they are dried to your liking. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Vicki Davis July 06, 2017 posted by Vicki Davis

    What size jars did you use?

    REPLY: Vicki, I've done this with quart jars and smaller 8 ounce jars, though you can easily go larger. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Amy May 26, 2017 posted by Amy

    Is there a way to make this without having to put them in the refrigerator?

    REPLY: Amy, not that I know of. I prefer to keep them in the fridge as oils can eventually spoil. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link David Garrison February 20, 2017 posted by David Garrison

    WOW, can not wait to try this. Will also try the Pressure canner method to have them year round. And with as much garlic as I have planted, I cam make a lot.

  • Comment Link Dennis Hullinger February 19, 2017 posted by Dennis Hullinger

    I have dried tomatoes successfully, but not with the seasonings you've used. I've not had problems with sticking because I use the webbing, that came with my trays, over the trays. I just remove the webbing and flex and the tomatoes come off easily. I do have a hard time not having some of the tomatoes turn, black, but soaking them in a solution of water and citric acid helps. Any ideas to keep them from turning black would be appreciated.

  • Comment Link Joanie February 12, 2017 posted by Joanie

    My dehydrator only has off/on, no temperature settings-your recipe calls for 140 degrees-how do I know if that is what my dehydrator dries at?

    REPLY: Joanie, I'm not sure. Every dehydrator I've owned has a temperature setting, which is pretty important to set based on the type of food you are dehydrating. Hmmm. --- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link Peter January 30, 2017 posted by Peter

    Did you really ever do it this way? When you place them in the dehydrator as shown, the slices stick and you need to scrape them off the rack. Done that...

    I tried applying some oil on the racks which turned out a little better.

    Still, the best way is to cut them in half and place skin side down on the racks. Some people may want to scoop out the seeds before.

    REPLY: Peter, yes, it works for me without issue, though yes, the tomatoes can stick a bit. You can always try to flip them part way through or dry them a bit longer. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  • Comment Link P bailey January 01, 2017 posted by P bailey

    Could these be preserved longer by canning

    REPLY: P, since they are tomatoes, you would need to investigate using a pressure canner. -- Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

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Mike Hultquist of Chili Pepper Madness

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Hi, Everyone! It is nice to meet you. Welcome to Chili Pepper Madness, the food blog run by Mike and Patty Hultquist, a couple of spicy food lovers. Chili Pepper Madness is a special tribute to all things chili peppers, including chili pepper recipes... LEARN MORE ABOUT US

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