After my husband and I decided to take up vegetable gardening on a regular basis, we knew we would need to get inventive with our harvest so nothing would go to waste, and so we could enjoy it throughout the year. Last year, aside from all of our usual pickles, jams, and baked goods, I used a food dehydrator for the very first time, and it was a huge success! I was able to dehydrate all sorts of things, like peppers, assorted fruits, and homegrown tomatoes, and it all turned out really well.
Out of all the foods we were able to dehydrate, the tomatoes were my favorite. They became chewy and intensely flavored, making them a great snack to take to work and munch on throughout the day. You can also grind them with a little water to make your own paste, or rehydrate and sprinkle them over your pizzas and pastas for added texture and color. And because I enjoyed our dehydrated tomatoes so much last year, I’ve decided to prepare more jars this year to give to our friends and family as a little harvest gift.
To make your own dehydrated tomatoes:
1. De-stem your tomatoes and rinse under water to remove dirt and debris.
2. Slice your tomatoes ¼-inch thick. Try to make your slices as uniform as possible. If you’re using small tomatoes, slice them in half and place them on your rack with the sliced side facing upward.
3. Place sliced tomatoes on the dehydrator tray with plenty of room between each slice.
4. Sprinkle with salt (optional).
5. Set the temperature to around 135 degrees F, and dehydrate for 15-20 hours (check them after 10 hours, and every few hours after).
Alternately, you can oven dry your tomatoes if you don’t own a food dehydrator.
To store your dehydrated tomatoes, allow them to cool completely before packing into jars. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4-6 months, or in the freezer (in freezer bags) for up to a year.
For more information on dehydrating fruits and vegetables, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation website. To decorate my jars, I used black and red tags and labels in the style Rococo.