Sun-Dried Tomatoes are just that kind of “special.” 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!
- 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
Below are some Heirloom Tomatoes we got — lovely!
Tomatoes after drying….
Bagged up and ready to store
What You Will Need
You will need the following things to make this recipe:
Salt (optional. I recommend Real Salt)
Olive Oil (optional)
Twixit Clips (I love these clips for sealing my tomatoes in bags)
Recipe Note for Sun Dried Tomatoes
- If you are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, this recipe is an “E” as long as you do not drizzle olive oil on top. Otherwise, it is a crossover.
Easiest Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- salt (optional)
- olive oil (optional. Just drizzle some on top if you like)
- See below for photos. 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.
- 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.
- Dry until no moisture remains, but tomatoes are still flexible. (Don't worry - if they get stiff and dry, they still taste great!)
- 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.
More Dehydrator Posts:
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?