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24 November 2015

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 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 days this way in the refrigerator, or several months in the freezer. Perfect for so many recipes!

4.5 from 2 votes
How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator
How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator - Recipe Steps
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 10 mins
 
Make your own "sun dried" tomatoes at home with a dehydrator and enjoy them any time of year in so many recipes.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dehydrator, tomatoes
Servings: 10
Calories: 55 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pounds fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Basil leaves - 10-12 should do
  • 2 cups olive oil - as needed
Instructions
  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 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 days.
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes - with a Dehydrator - Recipe Steps
Amount Per Serving
Calories 55 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Sodium 4mg0%
Potassium 215mg6%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Vitamin A 755IU15%
Vitamin C 12.5mg15%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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 | ChiliPepperMadness.com

 

20 comments

  1. Just wondering if these would last longer with dried herbs as the fresh will have some moisture which could cause the oil to go rancid more quickly? Also for those mentioning canning these – can you pressure can these in oil? I’ve never used a pressure canner, so I’m quite curious.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Ann, you can definitely use dried herbs. And yes, I believe you should be able to pressure can this recipe. I would check with the instructions on your pressure canner.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Terry, I have not. I typically keep them in a sealable jar in the fridge.

  2. Lisa Rearick

    4 stars
    When using heirlooms, there is usually enough acid in the tomatoes to water bath can. To be sure, add a little fruit fresh (Vit C or ascorbic acid) to your seasoning blend.

  3. I wish I could leave a picture. I made this per directions, even sanitized my jars. After a day or two in the fridge, the olive oil got murky, almost like micro bubbles. Is this normal? I’m apprehensive to try them. I wonder if it’s because you say to refrigerate.?.. Which leads me to my next inquiry. Why refrigerate??? I have garlic infused olive oils in tall pouring jars, they are never refrigerated and last indefinitely as far as I know. I use them up within a few months so I don’t know, but I imagine they sit on shelves for a while, especially the ones I buy since they are at a overstock shop.

    REPLY: Patch, the tomatoes can affect the color of the oil, and the oil will harden a bit with the colder temperatures of refrigeration. I feel it is wise to refrigerate oils that have solids in them to avoid any chance of spoilage. — Mike from Chili Pepper Madness.

  4. Can you freeze them?

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Dennis, I’ve never had them turn black before. Strange! I wonder if there is a temperature issue of some sort.

  10. 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.

    1. If you still have your owners manual check in the owners manual and find out what temperature yours is set up my dehydrator only has an on off switch is well and it’s set at160° If I remember correctly

    2. get one of the electronic oven meat thermometers. which has a needle on the end of a 3′ or so oven-proof electric cord. Turn it on and you can read the temperature of almost anything you care to measure. Drill a hole thru the underside of your dehydrator trays –just slightly larger than the needle of your thermometer, and measure the temperature for each tray. By knowing the temperature of each level of trays, you can decide what you can and cannot dry in your dehydrator;

  11. 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.

  12. 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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