Home dried tomatoes

pennypond USDA 10 Sunset 21 CAMay 14, 2012

I had very limited experience in sun dried tomatoes - never bought them in stores, and barely knew how to use them. But the little dehydrator opened up my world. It makes dried tomatoes that are full of flavor and so appreciated in winter. I like mine peeled and seeded before drying. But packing in oil seems to be so heavy, I guess I'll try to vacuum seal and freeze them this year. Do you cut it up before packing?

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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Totally up to you if you cut them up first. If it were me, I'd leave them whole (or halved, depending on how you dried them) and decide later!

If they are dried properly, you don't need to freeze them. They are shelf stable. Just put them in a glass jar or other food safe container that will keep bugs and dust out. Store in a cool, dark, dry place.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 2:00PM
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I soak them overnight in merlot wine, drain them, air dry for a bit, then dehydrate them on 145F. They will be stiff and not bend easily when they are done. Wait until they are cool before sealing in airtight containers or vacuum bags, store in pantry. The wine can be reused if you keep it in the refrig, well marked of course since it will taste terrible, and use up within a week or two (it will mold).

Chop up and use the dried tomatoes (rehydrated in warm water)in pasta, salads, and egg dishes. Sometimes they are the star but most times they are an extra little bit a vitamins and tiny accent to the dish.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:24AM
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sewcrazynurse(MI zone 5)

why do you soak them in the wine?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:41PM
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The wine soak is a new one on me, too. Why Merlot? I just wash, slice and dry. Our favorite for drying is little Stupice, because each fruit makes three neat slices. This year I plan to dry Amish Paste.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 8:01AM
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I got this recipe / technique here and have reposted it before. It is the only way to do Dried Tomatoes, they are far superior to anything you can get in the market. I am doubling my Roma tomato planting this year so I have more to dry.


Wash, stem and slice each tomato into 1/4" thick slices. If using Roma-type Tomatoes, slice in half longitudinally and scoop out seeds. Place in a very large bowl or clean bucket and cover with cheap red wine. I use Merlot but if you prefer something else, knock yourself out. I have a friend that swears by cheap Chianti! Soak tomato slices 24 hours in the wine. Drain well. Lay tomatoes just touching on dehydrator shelves or on screen in your sun-drying apparatus. Sprinkle each slice with a mixture containing equal parts of dried basil-oregano-parsley and then sprinkle each slice with Kosher Salt. You may choose to forego the salt if you wish but tomatoes will take longer to dry. Dry tomatoes until they are firm and leatherlike with no moisture pockets, but NOT brittle. (If you get them too dry, soak them in lemon juice for a few minutes.) To store, place in vacuum bags or ziplock bags and freeze.
IMPORTANT!!! If you will be storing sun-dried tomatoes in Olive oil you !!!MUST!!! dip each slice in vinegar before adding to oil.
To pack in oil:
Dip each tomato into a small dish of white wine vinegar. Shake off the excess vinegar and pack them in olive oil adding 1/4 cup red wine. For tomatoes in oil I am selling, I put the tomatoes into the oil two weeks ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Make sure they are completely immersed in the oil. When the jar is full, cap it tightly. I use my vacuum sealer to seal the canning lids on. Store at *cool* room temperature for at least a month before using. They may be stored in the refrigerator, but the oil will solidify at refrigerator temperatures (it quickly reliquifies at room temperature however). As tomatoes are removed from the jar, add more olive oil as necessary to keep the remaining tomatoes covered. I have stored oil-packed tomatoes in my root cellar for over a year. . I have tried a number of methods to pack the tomatoes in oil, but the vinegar treatment is the difference between a good dried tomato and a great one. It is also important from a food safety standpoint, as it acidifies the oil and discourages growth of bacteria and mold. Soaking in the wine also acidifies them.
****** WARNING ********
Do *NOT* add fresh garlic cloves or fresh herbs of any kind to oil-packed dried tomatoes, UNLESS you store them in the refrigerator and plan on using them within 7 days. Garlic is a low-acid food which, when placed in oil, creates a low-acid anaerobic environment just
perfect growth medium for botulinum bacteria if the mixture is not refrigerated. Be safe and add your garlic to the dried tomatoes as part of the recipe for them *after* they come out of the oil.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:24PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The wine acidifies the tomatoes (remember tomatoes are right on the border of low-acid) and makes them safe for storage in oil.

If you're drying your tomatoes and storing them fully dried or partially drying them and storing them in the freezer, the wine is unnecessary.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 5:28PM
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We're shifting over to more and more dried tomatoes vs canned stuff -

only comment I would add is that using salt and herbs before drying the tomatoes will lose a lot of the herb flavor - as well as resulting in a saltier product. Better to add the spices just before consumption.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 11:57AM
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David52, agreed, but since the technique I posted is for an oil-packed dried tomato product, the salt and herbs are part of the product. I also do some that I simply slice in half and dry until leathery, store in zip top bags in the freezer for when I simply want to boost / add tomato flavor w/o adding salt or herbs.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 5:01PM
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