This is the third post in three years on dehydrating tomatoes, here at Adventures in Local Food. You’d think we’d have run out of things to say about the subject by now. I mean, we’ve told you about drying tomatoes in the window of a car and drying tomatoes in a dehydrator, what could we have left to say?
Well, this year I have gained access to a much fancier food dehydrator. My newest roommate owns this baby, and it is definitely nice to use. As I mentioned last year, I truly believe in the sharing of appliances and equipment, especially things you may only use a few times per year. So, ask around. You may be surprised to find others in your network who have sometime you need (and vice versa).
Meet the Excalibur. The dehydrator I borrowed last year worked quite well, but the Excalibur has a temperature setting and a timer, which saves me from checking the tomatoes constantly.
Dehydrating, however, still feels to me more like an art than a science. I believe the secret is to aim for chewy, but neither moist nor crunchy. For detailed instructions on drying fruits and vegetables, check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
I’ve chosen to dry cherry tomatoes, as their small size is ideal for relatively quick drying. I set the temperature to 52 degrees C and the timer for 12 hours. I find that the littlest ones are dry after 12 hours, so I take them out and let the rest go for an additional 4-12 hours. I generally check at about 4 hour intervals at this stage. When they are done, I place them in an air tight container – I like mason jars – and store on the shelf.
Dried tomatoes are nice on pizza or in salads or to add extra tomato flavour to soups or chili. And now that I have more confidence in my dehydrating abilities, I might just branch out to some other foods. I notice that pears are now in season…
Yours in food,