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how to make sun dried tomatoes in a food dehydrator


How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes in a Food Dehydrator


Sun dried tomatoes are a delicious and versatile ingredient that can add a burst of flavor to numerous recipes. While you can purchase ready-made sun dried tomatoes from stores, making them at home using a food dehydrator is a rewarding and cost-effective option. In this article, we will guide you through the process of making sun dried tomatoes in a food dehydrator, providing you with step-by-step instructions and helpful tips.

Selecting and Preparing the Tomatoes

Before you start the drying process, it is crucial to choose ripe and flavorful tomatoes. Look for firm, ripe tomatoes that are evenly colored and free from any blemishes or signs of rot. Good options include Roma, San Marzano, or cherry tomatoes, as they have a higher flesh-to-seed ratio.

After selecting the perfect tomatoes, wash them thoroughly under cold water. Once cleaned, you have the option to peel the tomatoes or leave the skin intact. Peeling can be done by scoring an "X" on the bottom of each tomato and blanching them in boiling water for about 15-30 seconds. Then, transfer the tomatoes to an ice bath and gently peel off the skin.

Slicing and Pre-Treating the Tomatoes

Once the tomatoes are ready, it's time to slice them. For making sun dried tomatoes, it is best to slice them into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Ensure that the slices are relatively thin, about ¼ inch thick, to facilitate the drying process and reduce the drying time.

To pre-treat the tomatoes, you have two options: salt or marination. Salting involves sprinkling the tomato slices with salt and allowing them to sit for about 10-15 minutes. This process helps draw out moisture, intensifying the flavor and aiding the drying process. Alternatively, marinating the tomato slices in an herb-infused oil or vinegar mixture enhances their taste and adds additional flavors.

Drying the Tomatoes in a Food Dehydrator

To dry the tomatoes, a food dehydrator offers a convenient and efficient method. Place the tomato slices onto the trays of the food dehydrator in a single layer, ensuring they do not touch or overlap. This allows for proper air circulation and even drying. Set the dehydrator to a low temperature, around 135-145°F (57-63°C), and let it run for 6-12 hours, depending on the thickness of the slices and desired texture.

During the drying process, periodically check the tomatoes for dryness. They should be slightly pliable, but without any soft or moist spots. If necessary, rotate the trays within the dehydrator to ensure even drying.

Storing and Using Sun Dried Tomatoes

Once the tomatoes are thoroughly dried, remove them from the food dehydrator and let them cool completely. They should have a leathery texture and a concentrated flavor, with most of the moisture removed. Store the dried tomatoes in airtight containers, preferably glass jars, and keep them in a cool, dark place.

For longer shelf life, you can also store the sun dried tomatoes in olive oil or freeze them. If preserving in oil, pack the dried tomatoes tightly in sterilized jars, cover them with olive oil, and ensure they are completely submerged. Stored this way, they can last for several months in the refrigerator. Freezing the dried tomatoes in zip-lock bags or airtight containers is another option, where they can stay good for up to a year.

Enjoying Sun Dried Tomatoes in Various Dishes

Sun dried tomatoes add a burst of flavor to numerous dishes, making them a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Here are some delectable ways to enjoy them:

1. Pasta and Pizza: Add chopped or rehydrated sun dried tomatoes to pasta sauces or sprinkle them on top of pizzas for an extra zing.

2. Salads and Sandwiches: Toss dried tomato slices in salads or layer them in sandwiches for a tangy and savory twist.

3. Dips and Spreads: Blend soaked sun dried tomatoes with garlic, herbs, and olive oil to create a delicious spread or dip for crackers and bread.

4. Stuffed Meats: Incorporate rehydrated sun dried tomatoes into stuffings for meats like chicken or pork to infuse them with rich flavors.

5. Antipasto Platters: Arrange sun dried tomatoes alongside olives, cured meats, and cheeses for an appetizing antipasto platter.


Making sun dried tomatoes in a food dehydrator is a simple and rewarding process that allows you to enjoy their intense flavor year-round. By carefully selecting ripe tomatoes, slicing and pre-treating them, and using a food dehydrator for drying, you can create your own batch of flavorful sun dried tomatoes. Experiment with incorporating them into various dishes, and elevate your culinary creations with this delicious ingredient.


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