How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes with a Dehydrator

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes with a Dehydrator

Sun dried tomatoes add a delicious flavor to a number recipes and can also be used as a delicious snack or as part of a salad or sandwich. Making sun dried tomatoes yourself, using a dehydrator, could not be simpler and they taste so much fresher and sweeter than the varieties you can buy in store.

Whether mixed with olive oil, or using dried herbs or fresh herbs, a sun dried tomato takes on an intense tomato flavor. Here, we discuss how to make sun dried tomatoes with a dehydrator, so that you can enjoy this delicious food using your favorite recipes.


What are the benefits of homemade sun dried tomatoes?

Sun dried tomatoes are essentially tomatoes that have lost 80-90% of their original weight through the removal of water using a food dehydrator. Although the water is removed, the tomatoes retain their sweetness and more importantly the nutrients, vitamin C and health benefits.

Dehydrated tomatoes are also a great way of ensuring that your source of fresh tomatoes do not go to waste. It's also significantly cheaper to make them from fresh than to use store bought varieties.

Drying tomatoes can also make them much more versatile. Sun dried tomatoes can be used in a number of recipes but also as a fantastic flavor additive.


What types of tomato can be dehydrated?

There is no set standard for the type of tomato you can use for the drying process. As with many recipes, the fresher tomatoes produce the best results as they are generally the plumpest and juiciest. Cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes are great varieties as they are naturally sweet and produce an intense sweet flavor when dried but it's worth experimenting with other different types to see which suits your pallet.

Obviously you should bear in mind that smaller tomatoes will dry much more quickly than larger varieties. On this theme, you should try and use similar sized tomatoes in your drying batch to ensure that they dry at a similar rate.


A recipe to make sun dried tomatoes

Although there are a number of variations on flavor, including adding garlic or chilli, here is a very basic recipe with a short prep time to get you started. For this recipe, you will need:

  • 2-3 pounds roma tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • Sea Salt and pepper to taste

  • Basil leaves - 10-12

  • 2 cups olive oil

  • Glass jars

dried tomatoes on a cutting board


How to prepare tomatoes for dehydrating

Using a sharp knife, slice the tomatoes into slices around 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, ensuring that they are as uniform as possible. Scoop the seeds out to help reduce the drying time. Place the tomatoes on the dehydrator trays, with the cut side up and skin side down, ensuring that there is space between each tomato to effectively remove the moisture.


A step by step guide to dehydrating tomatoes

Although you can dehydrate tomatoes in the sun or use a very low temperature oven, the best and most consistent method is using a dehydrator. Here is a step by step method:

  • Slice your tomatoes as above.

  • Sprinkle the tomato slices with a bit of salt, pepper, and the dried herbs. Cover, and set the temperature of the dehydrator to 140 degrees.

  • Set the time for 6-8 hours, but ensure to keep an eye on them to ensure they do not over dry. Turn them once during the process. Check after around 6 hours to see how they are progressing.

  • Remove the tomatoes from the dehydrator tray and layer them in a glass jar with fresh basil leaves, rosemary sprigs, and a bit more salt, pepper, dried basil and dried oregano.

  • Cover them in olive oil (and infuse with garlic or chilli if desired) and store in the fridge in tightly capped jars.


How do I know when my tomatoes are ready?

Your tomatoes will be done when they are very dry but still pliable.  When you squeeze them between your fingers they should be still pliable but not brittle.  Regular checking of your tomatoes towards the end of the drying period will ensure that they don't go too far.  If the tomatoes are dried for too many hours, they’ll become tough.  However if they’re not dried long enough they will quickly degrade.


How do I store sun dried tomatoes and how long do they last?

The best way to enjoy your dehydrated tomatoes at their freshest is to keep them in an airtight jar in the fridge. In this way, they can last for between 1 and 2 weeks. For a longer shelf life, you can place them in a freezer, where they will last for 3-4 months.

To rehydrate the dry tomatoes, pour boiling water over them and let them soak for at least 15 minutes. Reconstituted tomatoes can also last around 2 weeks in the fridge and longer in the freezer.

dried tomatoes in a jar


What's the best dehydrator to buy for sun dried tomatoes?

When looking to dry your tomatoes at home, there are a number of dehydrators on the market, suitable for tomatoes.

At the budget end of the market, the L’Equip FilterPro Digital Food Dehydrator offers the convenience of a digital program, enabling you to set specific times and temperatures and then leave the dehydrator to perform its magic.

Alternatively, you could look at the Samson Silent SB-1010-SS Stainless Steel Digital Dehydrator, which offers a significant capacity and powerful performance. The glass door also allows you to see what is happening with your tomatoes, which is beneficial to ensure that too much moisture is not removed.

At the high end of the domestic models is the Tribest Sedona Express SD-6280, SD-6780 Digital Food Dehydrator. It offers the digital convenience as well as 11 dehydrator trays to make large batches of your tomatoes. Its high temperature capability could also reduce the hours of dehydration time.

If you want to make sun dried tomatoes at home, or even as part of a small commercial venture, then Extreme Wellness Supply has a range of suitable home and portable dehydrators, perfect to dehydrate tomatoes at home or in a commercial kitchen.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Reading tip: How to make apple chips in a dehydrator

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.