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!
Do It Yourself – Easiest Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Salt (optional. I recommend Real Salt)
Olive oil (optional. Just drizzle some on top if you like.)
1. Slice tomatoes into uniform thickness (so they dry at about the same rate). If you will be using the olive oil and salt, place tomatoes in a bowl, drizzle and sprinkle and toss lightly.
2. Place on dehydrator trays (using non-stick sheets) or on a cookie sheet if using your oven. Once they are partially dry (i.e. not “goopy” anymore, remove the non-stick sheets and dry directly on the rack for quicker drying.
3. Dry until no moisture remains, but tomatoes are still flexible. (Don’t worry – if they get stiff and dry, they still taste great!)
4. Store in an airtight container, in the fridge or freezer for long term. I use the same small 4 x 2 x 8 2 mil bags from Country Life that I’ve written about before. And I seal them with these handy-dandy “I can’t deal with twist ties” Twixit Clips.
- 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?