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how to dehydrate tomatoes with a food dehydrator


Dehydrating Tomatoes with a Food Dehydrator: A Comprehensive Guide


Dehydrated tomatoes are a delicious and versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. They have a concentrated flavor and a chewy texture, making them a wonderful addition to soups, salads, sandwiches, and more. If you're interested in preserving your tomatoes or simply want to experiment with new flavors, using a food dehydrator is a convenient and efficient method. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to dehydrate tomatoes with a food dehydrator, ensuring you achieve the perfect results every time.

I. Preparing the Tomatoes

Before you begin the dehydrating process, it's important to properly prepare your tomatoes to ensure even drying and optimal taste. Follow these steps:

1. Selecting the right tomatoes:

Choose ripe, firm, and flavorful tomatoes for the best results. Roma or plum tomatoes are highly recommended due to their lower water content and meatier flesh, making them ideal for dehydration.

2. Washing the tomatoes:

Thoroughly wash your tomatoes under cool running water to remove any dirt or debris. Gently pat them dry with a clean towel.

II. Slicing the Tomatoes

To achieve consistent results, it's essential to slice the tomatoes uniformly. Follow these guidelines:

1. Choosing the thickness:

Decide on the thickness of the slices based on your preference. Generally, slices between ¼ to ½ an inch work well for dehydrating tomatoes.

2. Cutting technique:

Using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, slice the tomatoes evenly. Uniform slices are crucial as they will ensure even drying, reducing the risk of some pieces becoming overly dry while others remain moist.

III. Pre-treating the Tomatoes

Pre-treating the tomatoes before dehydration helps enhance their flavor and ensures a longer shelf life. Consider the following options:

1. Blanching:

Blanching involves briefly immersing the sliced tomatoes in boiling water, followed by an ice bath. This process helps in retaining the tomatoes' vibrant color, reducing any enzymatic activity, and preserving flavor.

2. Sprinkling with salt:

Sprinkling salt over the tomato slices and letting them sit for 15-30 minutes helps draw out excess moisture, making the drying process more efficient. It also adds a subtle seasoning to the final product.

IV. Loading the Dehydrator

Now that your tomatoes are ready, it's time to load them into the food dehydrator properly. Follow these steps:

1. Dehydrator tray arrangement:

Place the tomato slices on the trays, making sure they do not overlap. This allows proper airflow and ensures that each slice dries evenly. Avoid overcrowding the trays, as it can result in longer drying times and inconsistent results.

2. Bottom to top arrangement:

Load the trays starting from the bottom, progressing to the top. This arrangement ensures that the tomatoes on the lower trays do not receive excessive heat from those above, maintaining a consistent drying temperature.

V. Dehydrating Process

With the dehydrator loaded, it's time to start the drying process. Follow these instructions:

1. Setting the temperature:

Different types of dehydrators have varying temperature settings. Check the manufacturer's instructions and set the dehydrator to a temperature between 125-135°F (52-57°C) for optimal results when drying tomatoes.

2. Drying duration:

Depending on the thickness of the tomato slices, the drying times may vary. On average, tomatoes take anywhere between 8-12 hours to dehydrate fully. It's important to periodically check on the tomatoes' progress and adjust the drying time accordingly.

VI. Testing for Doneness

Properly dehydrated tomatoes should have a leathery texture and be bendable without breaking. Perform the following test to ensure they are adequately dehydrated:

1. Cooling period:

After the suggested drying time, turn off the dehydrator and allow the tomatoes to cool completely. This cooling period helps them firm up further.

2. Bend test:

Take a cooled tomato slice, attempt to bend it gently. If it bends easily without breaking or feeling excessively moist, it's an indication that the dehydration process is complete.

VII. Storing Dehydrated Tomatoes

Once you've confirmed the doneness of your dehydrated tomatoes, it's time to store them for future use. Follow these guidelines:

1. Cooling and conditioning:

Allow the tomatoes to cool completely. Then, place the slices in an airtight container or airtight bags. Leave them for a few days at room temperature, shaking the container occasionally. This helps equalize the moisture content throughout the slices for longer storage life.

2. Storage containers:

Choose glass jars or airtight plastic containers for storing your dehydrated tomatoes. Ensure they are clean and completely dry before transferring the slices. Store them in a cool, dark place away from moisture and sunlight.


Dehydrating tomatoes with a food dehydrator is an easy and practical way to extend their shelf life while intensifying their flavor. With these step-by-step instructions, you now have the knowledge to create your own dehydrated tomatoes that can be enjoyed in an array of dishes throughout the year. So, get your food dehydrator ready, and embark on this exciting journey of preserving the irresistible taste of summer's finest tomatoes!


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