Easiest Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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Do you love Sun Dried Tomatoes? Here's the EASIEST way to make them. Great for when your tomato crop comes in or for a bulk purchase at the Farmer's Market :)!

Do you love sun-dried tomatoes as much as I do?

They can just add that special “oomph” to any dish — Pasta, eggs, green salads, hummus, homemade flax crackers.

I love them dripping with olive oil or crispy dry.  I love them flying in the sky…(ahem…just kidding).  Either way, their sweetness and depth of flavor is just exquisite.

But are they expensive — about $20 per pound — Ouch!

I used to purchase these sun-dried lovelies in a large bulk bag (kind of the way that I do everything — bulk, that is :-)) when we lived in the Chicago area.

But once we moved to Oklahoma and then to Michigan, I couldn’t find them anymore.  I went on a pretty thorough hunt — calling stores, searching the internet…No dice.  The company that used to produce the big bulk bags only sells teensy-weensy overpriced tomatoes now.  I just couldn’t find them for a reasonable price anywhere.

But one day it occurred to me.  Sun. Dried. Tomatoes.  “Does it really need to be the sun?  You’ve got a dehydrator, Adrienne.”  There must be a way.

And there is!

And it’s super easy-peasy.

If you’ve been on my blog over the past week, you have seen that we’ve been having quite the tomato extravaganza.

Check out some of the details in my posts on:

First of all, let me tell you there’s a lot of info on sun-dried tomatoes on the web.

There are posts recommending

  • soaking the tomatoes and peeling them
  • removing seeds
  • using only certain kinds of tomatoes
  • making special screens to dry the tomatoes in the sun
  • storing tomatoes in special jars and freezer bags

All of these are a lot of work, but none are necessary for this already-too-busy-mom.

Now, let me say first, that I have been making sun-dried tomatoes with added oil and seasonings for years and I will be sharing my recipe for Seasoned Sun-Dried Tomatoes later this week.  However, I was so overwhelmed with all of these tomatoes that I needed something even faster and so — voila!

I decided to simplify this process as much as I could and make it easier for all of us.  And the results are, well – wonderful!

Notes:

  • Use any type of tomatoes.  Most people dry Roma and Cherry since they’re more meaty.  But my large heirloom tomatoes turned out just great!  Aren’t they beautiful?
  • Don’t use “mushy” tomatoes for drying.  They take forever to dry.
  • Excalibur recommends drying tomatoes at about 155 degrees since there’s a lot of moisture in the tomatoes – this prevents molding.  I’ve done OK at lower temps, but we did lose some tomatoes this summer due to drying at a lower temp.  Thanks to a reader’s question, now I know why :-).
  • When drying tomato “ends”, place the slice on the sheet with the skin side down so it dries well.
  • You can, of course, dry your tomatoes in an oven as well.  However, there are TONS of reasons why the dehydrator is better.

- you can dry foods at a low enough temperature so they still have their enzymes intact
- you can dry MORE foods at once (I can fit about 25 cups of nuts or seeds in my Excalibur Dehydrator
-
who wants an oven on in the middle of the summer?
- the Excalibur Dehydrator is way more efficient than an oven since the fan circulates the warm air
- Need more convincing?

More Dehydrator Posts:

- Saving Money with a Dehydrator
- Which Saves Most – Dehydrating, Canning, or Freezing?
- How and Why to Soak Nuts and Seeds
- Frugal Pantry Storage
-
And read my Excalibur Savings Page to see the great deal that I offer on these great dehydrators!

Well, that’s it!  You’re now ready to make sun-dried tomatoes that taste great and are great for your whole food budget as well!

Do you have a favorite food that you’d like to make for less?

 This post contains affiliate links.  If you click on them and make a purchase, I may be compensated with a small (emphasis on small) commission.
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  1. Thanks so much for sharing this informative post at FAT TUESDAY!! Very detailed!

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/09/fat-tuesday-september-6-2011/

  2. Thank you for adding this wonderful tip to the Frugal Tuesday Tip. You might want to enter my _The City Homesteader_ giveaway: http://juliecache.com/2011/09/05/frugal-tuesday-tip-more-to-give-away/.html

  3. Um. Genius!! I will absolutely try this!!

  4. Can you offer any recommendations re: time and temp for oven drying?

    • Hi Diane,
      For the oven, it depends on your oven. Most have pretty high “low” temps so I would just go for the lowest temp (especially in the summer :-).) I just dry them until they are done. This will depend on the thickness and juiciness of your tomatoes. Sorry that I can’t be more specific.

      Also, the oven will take longer than the dehydrator due to the fan not being there and the fact that you can’t move the tomatoes to the tray only (w/o the non-stick sheets) once they are partially dry.

      Hope that helps!

  5. I remember thinking the same thing when we had Roma tomatoes coming out our ears. We dried them in the oven, and they’ve kept nicely.

  6. Oh, I’ve been wanting to try this forever. I like how you used all different kinds of tomatoes!

  7. Absolutely great post! I’m off to dig out my dehydrator.
    Visiting you from Workshop Wednesday, and subscribing.

  8. Thanks for the tip! I do not have a dehydrator, but my nother in law does! Score.

  9. These look delicious – I might try making them in a low oven novernight
    Thanks for sharing
    Lowri :-)
    http://papervinenz.blogspot.com/

  10. I have the same dehydrator! And I have been wanting to make sun dried tomatoes, so this works out great. Thanks

  11. I think once our tomatoes actually ripen (we’re having a bad produce year :( ) we’ll have too many to know what to do with. This could be a really great solution!

  12. I have a dehydrator but haven’t tried it fir tomatoes yet. What a great idea.

  13. This is a fantastic post! Like you said, they are an ingredient that can make any dish taste good but they are so expensive! I’d love to make them but don’t have a dehydrator. Maybe santa will bring me one this year :)

  14. Well, there you go, tempting me to consider a dehydrator! I’d love to have sundried tomatoes on hand, and I do have plenty of tomatoes. I wonder if roasting them in the oven and then freezing would be a way to use them up and have them on hand for later, in winter?

    • Hi Ann,
      You could certainly dry them in the oven and freeze them. I have kept mine stored in the fridge after drying (I do dry them pretty thoroughly) and have had no issues w/ them at all. Freezing would certainly be a great idea. Let me know if that doesn’t answer your question. If you do decide to “bite the bullet” on the dehydrator, I can help you with what I think is the best deal out there :-).

  15. I saw the post title earlier in the week and had no reason to click on the link; a zillion cherry tomatoes today gave me plenty of reason! I like the idea of slicing and dehydrating rather than trying to PEEL every one of those little babies. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  16. Running a little late…still on thursday’s hop links! Absolutely love this post, will have to try dehydrating my zillion cherry tomatoes perhaps too! Please follow back @ http:www.pargasjunkyard.wordpress.com and/or on facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pargas-Junkyard/259287017434763 Thanks!

  17. Hi. Your blog makes me wish for an excalibur; but I had to go with what I could afford right now without having time to go on ebay, get my hubby to follow plans to make one, etc. So I caved and bought a nesco–not the 1000w, but the 700w, and it’s pretty darn good for the money. I know the Ex. can outdo my little itty bitty by a mile, but, if I can pay off all the things we need to, I’ll have money for the big gun! At least this way, I am drying what I’m getting from my garden, PLUS my beloved flax crackers. so it’s working ok, except for dealing with the whole in the middle of the circle. :-( I did have a little mold problem with drying some tomatoes on the Nesco. I try to keep the temp at 115. should I go lower, or higher to stave off the mold? I just cut the mold away with scissors after they were done.

    Anyway, keep these ideas coming. I love what I’ve seen, so far.

    • Hi Cindy! I think you certainly need a higher temp to deal w/ the mold. However, one thing that would help I know is the fan in the Excalibur. It helps to keep the air circulating so mold is much less likely to occur. It was a big expense for us too. Hopefully if you keep working on saving money w/ some of the tips on the web and on my site you can get there in the not-too-distant future :-). Thanks for the compliment. I am really busy and need to watch how much time I spend on the blog, but I hope to keep sharing a lot!

  18. Hopping by from the Living Well Blog Hop! This recipe looks delicious, I can’t wait to give it a try! I would love for you to follow me back at http://www.EcoCrazyMom.com and feel free to add your link to my Blog Directory at http://ecocrazymom.com/?page_id=409.

  19. Hi Adrienne,
    This is a great tutorial on Sun Dried Tomatoes! Hope you are having a great week end and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  20. Um, so I have NO idea why I have been intimidated by sun dried tomatoes for so long! I am dying to try this- have some ‘maters coming from a friend this week, too. And thanks for sharing this with the Barn Hop this week!

  21. Wow – this looks wonderful! I would love it if you shared this on Makin’ You Crave Monday over at MrsHappyHomemaker.com!!

  22. I’ve dehydrated tomatoes in the past, but haven’t done any this year. I’ll get right to work on remedying that. :) You are right. They are very easy and so tasty. (And so much cheaper to do it yourself!)

  23. We love using our food dehydrator! It’s fun :) Thanks for sharing at Church Supper. Please come back next week.

  24. My dehydrator broke last year and now I want to try these!!

  25. Your tomatoes are gorgeous! I don’t have a dehydrator yet, but I can understand now why they are so popular. Thank you for sharing this excellent (and frugal!) post with The Hearth and Soul hop, Adrienne.

  26. Looks like I will have to pick up a food dehydrator…

    • Hi Vivienne.
      Yes, we finally buckled down and bought one about 2 years ago If you haven’t seen the Excalibur Savings on my site you might want to check them out. I’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have. I can say for sure that though they are pricey up front, it has been worth every penny.
      ~Adrienne

  27. Great tutorial! I am hoping my tomatoes ripen in large enough quantitites before our first freeeze for me to do this. Thank you for sharing your posts with the Hearth and Soul Hop; I find them inspiring!

  28. I totally need to try this with some of my tomatoes! I’ve done tomato pies and tomato jam, but haven’t dehydrated any yet.

  29. That is super easy. I will try this. I always buy them in jars with olive oil.

    Thank you so much for sharing it at Foodie Wednesday. I hope you can join us again today with another great recipe.

  30. Thank you for sharing! My husband and I love sun dried tomatoes and I told him I wanted a dehydrator for christmas. I know exactly what the first thing I will make if I get it!

  31. Thanks for sharing these tips on the Living Well Blog Hop!

  32. I was impressed with your sun-dried tomatoes so am dehydrating some romas today. You didn’t mention what temp you dry them at, nor about how long they take … could you give me a suggestion? The Excalibur book says tomatoes at 155 degrees. Is that because there is so much liquid/moisture that such a high temp is recommended? Do you use a lower temp? Thanks for the great suggestion — I had NOT attempted doing tomatoes before because I didn’t want to peel them. Also, do you season them with the Real Salt and olive oil when they are dried and ready to package up?

    • Hi Pat. I dried them at about 125. I didn’t write the temp b/c I know some people like to dry @ low temps to keep foods raw. I spoke w/ Excalibur and they said it is because of the high moisture. I mainly did not have a problem drying them at the lower temp, but we did lose 1-2 trays this summer due to mold. Good to know! I will add this to my post. I season them with the oil and salt prior to drying. I’ll add that to the post as well. Thanks!

  33. Thank you for the quick response, Adrienne. I’ll go right now and lower my temp on the dehydrator, and pull out my tomatoes and get them ‘marinated’ in the salt/oil and get them back to drying again. I just recently was directed to your blog and love what I’m finding there.

  34. I love this idea! I’ve wondered about tomatoes on the dehydrator, I am definitely going to try it now!

    Thanks for linking up with Friday Food on MomTrends.com!

    ~Shannon (Food Channel Editor @ MomTrends)

  35. I just found your blog and can’t wait to read the past posts, I am now following you! Please stop by and visit me!
    Michelle at Simple Pleasures

  36. That’s simple enough, now how do I use dried tomatoes?!?

  37. I think I’m going to have to follow you. My husband LOVES sun dried tomatoes, but we lived without them for a year because of the expense. I’m going to email him this post, and then go read your seasoned dried tomato recipe…

    • Welcome. I hope to see you around again!! I never buy sun dried tomatoes anymore either. I think I only did it once when I could get a 1 lb bag of itsy bitsy ones – and the company doesn’t make them anymore. :)

  38. I have a huge jar of sun dried tomatoes, and have no idea what to use them for. Is there some place with recipes or ideas?

  39. Yum. Now I need a dehydrator!!!!

  40. like you, i’ve had to turn to making things i want because of lack of buying options. that being said, once i figured out how to do things for myself, they not only tasted better and exactly how i wanted them to, but i saved money, became more self-sufficient, and actually fell in love with preserving food.

    i’m so jealous of your beautiful dried heirlooms! gimme gimme! haha

    p.s. it’s The Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop today and i adore your post. it’s exactly what we’re looking for! you’re welcome to stop by and link up if you like! we’d love to have you!

  41. Great post! I can’t wait to try this!! Found you at The Thrifty Home blogparty!!

    http://www.aleahhelton.blogspot.com

  42. Hi I just saw your post and am starting to dehydrate my tomatoes and was wondering, why do you use the olive oil before dehydrating? My tomatoes dehydrate in less than a day when I don’t add anything to them. I was surprised to hear people get mold on them while dehydrating also, is this common?

    • The olive oil is frequently used when drying tomatoes. It makes a very nice final result. But it isn’t needed. It is common to get mold when drying tomatoes if you don’t dry them at a high enough temp. Ick – happened to me on a few trays but won’t happen again (I hope!).

  43. I love sun-dried tomatoes. Thanks for sharing this.
    Sue

  44. Hi, Adrienne,
    I want to do these again this year! I like all the extra info you give and the encouragement to use heirlooms, too. Would you consider contributing your great posts on the ‘EOA’ link-up. Your posts are the kind I would love to offer my readers! Thanks ahead of time :)

    • Hi Jacqueline. I have tried to make it a point to link up but sometimes miss it. Sorry -I had a guest from Australia come in today and got really overwhelmed. Thanks!!!

  45. What a great way to have delicious sun dried tomatoes without the high price tag!

  46. I really want to do this but I don’t have a dehydrator…how could i do it?I came over from NapTime creations link up, I’m excited to see more of your creations.