Sun Dried Tomatoes

brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)August 20, 2008

I raise tomatoes for sun drying. I do about 1000 to 2000 lbs a year which I sell to the upscale restaurants in Cody Wyoming & Billings Montana. I wanted to pass on my favorites for you considering doing some drying. Any tomato can be used for drying but some varieties are better than others.

I grow 15 mainstay varieties that I have kept as I culled others that did not meet my criteria.

I also try at least 5 new varieties of paste types each year and am lucky if one makes it into my herd. I am looking for specific things:

Meaty with a low moisture content

 Few seeds

 A rich and tangy flavor

 Size-Small tomatoes are just more work for me.

 Not fussy-Take heat and cold and wind. No primadonnas!

 Bloom well and set lots and lots of fruit

 Indeterminate

 Dry to a nice pliable consistency

These are my Top Five

Chinese Giant

Carol Chyko

Cuoro D Toro

Opalka

San Marzano Redorta

I wanted to add that were I to be stranded on a desert Island with only one tomato it would be Russo Sicilian Togeta. This is my ÂgallstarÂh that sets fruit first, ripens the earliest, bears heavy crops in any weather and is producing right up until hard frost. It is not a true paste but rather a stuffing tomato. None-the-less, the flavor of these dried is as good as it gets. It is also wonderful for just eating or slicing and the fruit is extra large.

For those wanting to know my Secret Recipe for drying, here you go:

Wash, stem and slice each tomato into 1/4" thick slices. 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 theexcess 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 m 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.

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lisbet(z7NJ)

THANK YOU, ever so much !!! Was about to ask for help on Drying Tomatoes, but your very generous, sharing nature has answered my questions before I could do so.

I am truly grateful for your very helpful post.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:54AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

brokenbar,

Thanks, really interesting info!

I love Olpalka tomatoes myself for many, many uses.
Though for my own drying purposes I prefer cherry types (the amounts I do are a lot smaller than yours! I do them in the oven and I find half a cherry tom to be just the right size when dried so I never have to chop them!).

Love the idea of soaking in wine. I will have to try that!

The USDA canning recommendations say to keep anything packed in oil in the fridge. It looks like your method has a lot of safeguards against botulism and I, personally, would eat your tomatoes in a heartbeat! (Am considering a trip to Montana just to do so, in fact, they sound so good!) But I know a lot of people like to stick to the official tested "rules" so I thought I would mention it.

Thanks for sharing. Already getting hungry and wishing my toms would start RIPENING faster! SOOO behind this year....

Cheers,

Zabby

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 11:54AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

There was a previous thread discussing dried tomatoes in oil on which brokenbar kindly posted.

While it's generally assumed tomatoes USDA doesn't recommend tomatoes in oil be shelved, there are Extension sources out there that do provide information on the method, so brokenbar is well within approved safety guideliness.

(Just providing this link as backup for the comfort level of some readers.)

Carol

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 2:09PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Gee, thanks, Carol!

I'm very sorry to have spouted misinformation. It sure looked to me like the method described takes a lot of precautions, but I've read the "no oil" warning in so many places in standard canning instructions.

Thanks again, brokenbar, for this. Those sound AMAZING.

Z

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 11:39PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Thank you everyone! I glad you mentioned the oil Zabby because I was wondering the same thing and thank you Carol for clarifying the info.

Jen

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 1:29AM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

I wanted to add that SDT's (sounds like a communicable disease!) in pint jars with oil make GREAT xmas gifts. I spray paint the canning lids with gold sparkle and tie a ribbon around them. I collect SDT recipes all year long and try to give everyone 5 new ones in a little booklet attached to the jar. You MUST put a sticker on the lid telling them to refrigerate. (There are some in my family I would like to "do away with" but poisoning them would be a little harsh...)

Also. for any of you that have the space, this is a great little business. As I use "T" posts (for you without livestock you can buy them at any fencing or feed store) that are 8' tall, so 7' after being pounded in. I am able to grow a whole lot of tomato plants in a realtively small space (T posts 3 feet apart) My sun-dried tomato business paid for a trip & cruise to Rome this year and bought my Xmas gifts for all!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 10:26AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

brokenbar,

I remember your earlier post about the gifts now, of course! All sounds so delicious.

Is your "T" post method for staking tomatoes what is sometimes called "Florida weave," with strings run between the T posts to support the tomato stems?

Z
P.S. How appropriate that you visited Rome with your sun-dried tomato business proceeds! ;-)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 10:39AM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

I just tie the tomato plant to the "T" post as it grows (use 1/4 string or bigger as too thin of string will cut plants.) I also tie them snug but not so tight you can't get your hands in to pick fruit near the stake. This really does expose a majority of the ripening tomatoes to the light and makes picking easy for someone like me that can get down on the ground but it's the getting back up that's the pits! My tomatoes ripen about twice as fast as opposed to using those worthless cages or just allowing the plant to sprawl. It also gets a lot of air to the plant leaves which helps prevent mildew and other diseases. In the fall, I use a "handyman" jack and a chain just jack the stakes out of the ground. I store them in the winter in buckets of sand (end that goes in ground)in my barn. Every couple of years I spray paint the ends that go in the ground with Rustoleum paint. I have never had any problems with my plants using the paint. I have a friend that lets her's sit all winter in buckets of used motor oil but I am not crazy about putting even minute amounts of the oil into my soil although she has never had any problems.

An the end of the season, I pick all green tomatoes and lay them out on sheets of plastic in a spare bedroom. They continue to ripen and I get 2 to 3 thousand more tomatoes.
I have gardened my whole life (I have over 150 orchids indoors) Growing tomatoes has been more fun than anything else. I really love test-driving a few new varieties and looking for sun dried tomato recipes. We also grow watermelons, cantaloupes peppers, herbs, garlic, beans, carrots, pumpkins and ornamental corn & gourds for the craft market. My hubby takes care of most of those. The only frustrating thing is the Wyoming weather...you just never know. We had 26 degrees on June 11, never happened in my lifetime. Lost a lot of stuff. We also have to deal with a lot of wind here. I use "Stock Panels" (or called Hog Panels) semi-rigid in 16 foot lengths between two T posts to tie my peppers too. Plants that are heavy with fruit are really vulnerable to wind. I just take the panels down and store them flat each year.

And yes, nice that we are going to Rome in November. I will be on the look out for tomato seeds while I am there!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 11:47AM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

Someone asked about dehydrators. The Omcan works better than my 20 shelf one because it seems to dry faster. My 20 shelver had a sticker that has come off and I can't for the life of me remember the company name. The one below it about 300.00 (Sometimes they have new ones on Ebay.)

I have an OMCAN
Food Dehydrator Model SSFD
A professional dehydrating machine for meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits. Made of stainless steel. Equipped with a rear-mounted fan, heating element (800 W), and a thermostatic control. Comes with ten 16" x 14.5" chrome plated shelves. The thermostat is adjustable to a maximum temperature of 175º F.

Model: SSFD
Power: 800W
Amps: 8W
IInner Dimensions: 15.25" x 16.5" x 13.5"
Electrical: 110V/60/1
Weight: 28.5 lbs.
Dimensions (LWH) : 18.75" x 16.5" x 17.5"

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 1:05PM
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cymraes(8)

Thank you so much for all the info. I am just going to try drying tomatoes for the first time this year. For those of you who dry in the oven, how long do you do it at and what temp? I have tons of cherry tomatoes this year, so that is what I will be starting with.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 2:57PM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

Here is what forum members said over on the Tomato forum
Posted by andrea_san_diego z10 So Cal (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 25, 08 at 16:31
OK Folks here are the unscientific results of the test. I made one batch of sun-dried tomatoes using Brokenbar's method and one batch using a basic sun-drying technique.
Brokenbar's method: Core & slice maters, soak in merlot 24 hours. Sprinkle with basil, sea salt, oregano, parsely, and dry.
Basic sun-drying technique: Core and cut into chunks, sprinkle with sea salt and dry.
Oven dried both batches using my convection oven. The basic sun-drying method took 10 hours in the convection oven. Brokenbar's method of slicing into 1/4 inch slices only took 5 hours to dry and and were evenly cooked.
The basic sun-drying method didn't have much flavor and there were parts underdone and parts overdone.
Brokenbar's method with the wine soak was incredibly good and tasted & smelled like good pizza. The fact that the slices were all the same size helped a great deal in the cooking stage. All were cooked just right at the leathery stage.
So my unscientific test makes Brokenbar's method the best by a huge margin and I highly recommend it.
Posted by
marykh z6B Eastern WA (My Page) on
Mon, Aug 25, 08 at 20:30
I echo Andrea. A first small test batch of two pounds is just finishing up in the dehydrator. They cooked evenly, quickly and the taste is tremendous! I've already added more paste tomatoes to next year's garden plan.
Mary

Posted by winchesterva 7 (My Page) on
Tue, Aug 26, 08 at 6:48
I had a pile of roma's I didn't know what to do with until I read this post. I didn't follow completely, omitted the wine soak and oven dried. At first I also skipped the vinegar dip, the tomatoes were ok. I decided to go ahead and dip in vinegar and put in oil, WOW, what a difference, they are great. I am going to try the wine soak on my next bunch. Now I wish I had planted more! Thank you very much for this info, as I was unsure what to do with my Roma's because I don't find them very good to just each as is!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 11:43AM
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careyj(7 Southern Maryland)

I used this receipe last night and they were great. Need to slice them bigger next time but will definitly do some more!

Thank you so much for the receipe.

Carey

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 10:09PM
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MLcom(z6NJ)

Ok so what nice Merlot wine are you using here? Thinking it has to be in the gallon size. Take it also white vinegar and a wonderful olive oil to go with.

ML

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:55AM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

I buy whatever Merlot is the cheapest! I use a gallon and then I save it for the next batch. I DO NOT save wine for more than 7 days and I store it in the frig.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:39AM
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daisy735(4-5 MI.)

Brokenbar; How generous of you to share your recipe for the delicious dried tomatoes! I have only an inexpensive "toy" dehydrator bought for $39. from Target that I am playing with because I had too many tomatoes. Your recipe came out SO tasty that now I'm thinking we too, will plant more pasta type tomatoes next year!These are wonderful!
It took 18 hrs for my batch to dry to leather stage. My machine is only 125 watts. Don't laugh; this old dog loved learning a new trick. Thanks Brokenbar!--daisy in MI.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 1:43PM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

Daisy, I am so happy you like them! 18 hrs...you are a more patient person than me! Everyone who makes these is "in demand" with neighbors and family. My neighbors have taken to "just dropping by" at this time of the year because they know EXACTLY what I am doing! My hubby says you can smell the tomatoes out on the road so they just "follow their noses". I grow very few "regular" tomatoes. My hubby takes care of the rest of the garden so he puts in whatever he wants in the way of freshing eating.
I hope you enjoy them Daisy! If you just do a Google search for sun-dried tomato recipes, about a gazillion come up. You might have to think about an "upgrade" to a faster dehydrator!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 3:04PM
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daisy735(4-5 MI.)

HA. Not patient; I pass by and check how they look and smell every 5 mins. well, not quite...(yum) The heat equal to a lightbulb takes forever-thankgoodness I can see thru the plastic dome. I would love to "upgrade" to a better dehydrator but can't justify the expense unless I do a gazillion more tomatoes-who knows; by winter maybe I will have! - who knew tomatoes could be fun?
By the way I've tried other recipes-this one just right!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 7:45PM
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kckmartin(5 South central MT)

I did two batches:

1) Mortgage Lifter and Cherokee Purples soaked in a Cabernet-Shiraz
2) Dr. Wyches' and Kelloggs (both yellow/orange heirlooms) soaked in a Sauvignon Blanc

Both taste excellent, but I think 1/4" thickness is too thin for heirlooms. They have such a high water content that they dry to paper thinness in about 12 hours. Perhaps next time I will try slicing 1/2" thick.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 2:18PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Thank you thank you!
I was searching for my sun dried mater recipe and could not locate it.
I thought I soaked them in red wine vinegar. Long time since I have commercially processed.
Liking that SS dehydrator, I have had a Excalibur for years and was going to buy the SS racks for it.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2008 at 3:12PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hi, Brokenbar, I've read through this post, and printed out your instructions for the Sun Dried Tomatoes, and have a couple of questions.

I know that paste type tomatoes are best because of their low water content, but I am wondering about cherry tomatoes. We are getting close to our first frost date here, and I will have a ton of cherry tomatoes that I will need to do something with, and was thinking of using your recipe with them. If I cut them in half and use them in the dehydrator, should put them cut side down or skin side down? If you don't think they would work at all, please feel free to suggest something else I could do with them, since there is no way I will be able to eat them all before they spoil. I have Black Cherry, Sungold, and Supersweet 100's if that helps any.

Thank you so much for sharing your methods, and recipes with us!

Bonnie

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 3:12PM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

Hey Bonnie...cherry's are fine, just more work. I try to cut them and leave just a small area conecting the two halves together. You need to put the cut side up so that the herbs and salt sticks to the tomato and they dry faster too. You will need to keep and eye on them because they dry pretty fast. Also, make sure there are no pockets of moisture. A friend of mine dry tons of cherries and she puts them on the rack on top of a towel and kind of smashes them down with a plate to get rid of some of the moisture and to make them more even in thickness. Don't worry about taking the seeds out of cherry's (you would be taking seeds out right up until Christmas!)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:42PM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

KCKmartin...If you are not using paste varieties a half inch is probably better. How we're they in the Shiraz? I was thinking of trying that on a batch. I tried a Chenin Blanc and it was just kind of blah compared to the Merlot. I also want to try a Chianti. A friend of mine does all of hers in that and swears by it. I go shopping for wine bargains as I go through so much of it. Found a couple of places on line where I can order bulk and get free shipping.

I usually get three five gallon buckets of soaked tomatoes on one batch of wine and then I have to throw it out (actually...funny story. I give it to my neighbor who gives it to her pigs and they really love it and they get drunk! She says after they slurp it up, they go sleep for about 5 hours!)

You all are going to be really popular with your family and friends! If you do a google search for sun-dried tomato recipes, there are a million.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:50PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

quick question,
Do you set the dehydrator at 125 or 145 degrees? I have 2 different directions.
Approx how many hours for the roma plum type do you think?
Wanted to put a timer on the dehydrator
Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 10:33PM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

Busylizzie, It's hard for me to say not knowing what brand and/or how efficient a dehydrator you have. Mine is a commercial one and I dry at 165 degrees and it takes about 6 hours. I run mine at night using a timer that I set for 5 hours so that I do not over dry them. If I get up in the middle of the night and they need more, I turn it back on.
I would use the higher temp and Romas, if cut 1/4" should dry fairly fast.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:00PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Mine is an Excalibur 5 trays. Looks like I can get a gallon at a time per batch in the dehydrator. The directins on the dehyrator says 125 for veggies, but the Putting Food By book says to dry the sun dried ones like apricots. I will set at 165 cause the first gallon of maters took around 8 hours.
I forgot to ask also, you said for oiled mater to use 1/4 cup red wine. I plan on making a gallon of sun dried maters, let them age for a month, so how much per gallon? Then I plan to pack them in 4 or 6 oz glass jars for gift giving I wasn't sure about how much red wine for the final containering. I noticed I lost some pulp on the lower sliced romas in the crock in the red wine, next batch I might use a 2 in ss hotel pan for soaking, not sure if it was because they were super ripe.

Once again, thanks for all your inforamtion! It was funny last night at the fair I was talking to one of the directors wives as we we talking about dehydrated foods, she says she now loves dried corn and her daughter in law loves sun dried tomatoes to take to the Yacht Club.
I laughed and said the dried corn is over being judged for thefair, and I have a batch of sun dried maters in the dehydrator and they should be home by the time I get home, so I will make you a basket of the processed foods and bring it up.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:59PM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

I would add a cup fo wine to the gallon. Also, if you have problems with the pulp, etc. you could cut the slices 1/2 inch thick. Really ripe tomatoes do this sometimes and soaking in the wine makes them a little more juicy.

Are you going to use new oil when you pack them in the little jars? If so, probably 2 tablespoons should be plenty...the 1/4 cup was per quart. People just love them. The chefs who buy from me are now using sun dried tomato recipes more frequently because they are such a hit.
Also, they are a great source of highly concentrated Lycopine and those that are packed in Olive Oil are more easily absorbed by the body.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 8:08AM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

Yup going to repack with new oil, easier to pack in the gallon glass jar, then transfer, as I sold my last walk in cooler last year.
Figured the pulp loss might be due to ripeness. I had to pick and let ripen for the fair entries.
I repacked one jar this morning and dropped it off for my brother, who still holds cooking classes for a revue. I was pleased how they plumped up in the oil for 48 hours.
Lucky me for the romas this year, neighbor is all done canning and I get what is leftover, so far I picked 10 gallons of romas and lots more are green or ripening.
I have enough to play with and make more tomatoe products for the winter combined with mine.
The Excalibur I have the home unit, cannot justify spending 6, 000 for their commercial ones. I have had this for almost 20 years, runs like a champ, put a digital thermometer on it and no heat reduction. I don't have the internal timer, so I hooked up a timer to the plug. Just this year one of the poly screens cracked, so I have to order some. Not bad for 20 years and 3.00 for replacement part!
Ah yes, Lycopene, I read alot about this when my boss was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Since that I now process my tomatoe sauces differently. I first puree the fresh tomatoes in the food processor, then food mill out the seeds. I get higher yields and higher Lycopene content with those skins and seeds being pureed. From a 5 gallon bucket last night I think I had less than a quart of waste for the pigs to eat.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 4:39PM
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brokenbar(Mexico 23 00 N, 102 00 W)

I do the same, puree first then food mill. So much less waste. They really do "Plump" up pretty fast in the oil.
I use sun drieds in a lot of stuff to spiff it up a bit. They add real zing to soups and pasta. My son makes this great stuffed shells (ricotta,sundrieds, minced fresh spinach, minced garlic and minced black olive) which he serves with a cream-colored tomato sauce from those Cream paste tomatoes? He also sprinkles on fresh basil and finely chopped sun drieds on top of the sauce. What ever woman gets him has it made as he is a fabulous cook and loves to cook. He does Thanksgiving so I don't have to!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 5:33PM
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MLcom(z6NJ)

This is a great way to save those extra tomatoes anyone try them with Sun Golds this year?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 3:46PM
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pgriff

Thanks so much, Brokenbar for the recipe, and to all the other posters for your comments. I bought an Excalibur last year and dried quite a bit of my veggies from my garden. They turned out great, but unfortunately my tomatoes got that virus and didn't do well, so I didn't get to try drying them. This year I planted Roma's and this week finally got enough ripe to try to dry them using brokenbar's recipe. I think they are turning out well, but I'm concerned I may not be drying them long enough, since they are still a little sticky, when I'm vacuum packing and putting them in the freezer. I didn't want to leave them too long so they turn out brittle. So I was wondering, should I leave them in the dehydrator a little while longer so they're not sticky?
Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2010 at 9:48AM
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maxthedog

well, I just tried this method on my cheapo dehydrator. I was finally able to harvest about 30 roma tomatoes and cut them into wedges and soaked them overnight.

I did use salt, but put it in together with the mixture of herbs.

They turned out very nice. I am glad I ran across this recipe. The dried herbs add a nice flavor to it and you can sure taste the wine flavor too, which makes a nice touch.

The sun sugars I dehydrated turned out like candy!

Thanks for the recipe. !!!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 11:14PM
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uaskigyrl(7)

I have to say that I used your method to make some sun dried tomatoes. I only made enough for 1 olive oil packed pint (since it was my 1st time doing it and I didn't want to mess up!). OH EM GEE!!!! So flippin' good. I have to remind myself to save them for winter, although I did just buy a flat of tomatoes so I can make more! Soooo excited!

Thank you so very much!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 1:37AM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

I have tomatoes in the dehydrator as I type. Does anyone ever use the soaking wine as the wine in the jars with the oil. Since I started with a 750 ml bottle but ended up with about 5 cups of liquid from the tomatoes I'm assuming that has some tomato juice in it and I should use fresh wine.

I don't have a second batch of tomatoes to do but a bunch of wine. Does anyone ever cook with the leftover soaking wine? I'm thinking beef burgundy. I will probably end up freezing it until I'm ready to use it.

What temp do you folks use? I have them in at 125 but after reading this I wonder if I should increase it.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 6:24PM
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skeip

I have been doing this method for the past few years and absolutley love it, as does everyone I give some to. I use the wine for soaking twice and then dump it. I did save and refrigerate the used wine for a few days until I had enough ripe tomatoes for the second batch.

I never thought to use the soaking wine in the finished product, or for anything else. Somehow, it doesn't seem right, and I always use fresh wine. I also dry mine at 135f.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 2:24PM
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MiaOKC

When the tomatoes are soaking before dehydrating them, is this done on the counter or does it need to be marinated in the fridge? Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 4:01PM
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realyrosey(7b)

I realize this is an old post, but I definitely need help from an expert.

I'm pretty new to the dehydrating thing but as far as dry storage, have it down pretty pat. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that tomatoes to be stored in oil shouldn't be dried to the brittle stage and have a pint jar full of crisply dried tomatoes submerged in EVOO. Short of removing and using them for sauce, is it possible to fix this by straining the oil out and starting over by soaking them in wine and then re-submerging them in oil?

I know this is the busy season for all, but would so appreciate a reply. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 6:35AM
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NilaJones(7b)

Wow, thanks for bumping this amazing thread!

I am not a food scientist, but I would guess that there is no safety concern with the crispy-dried tomatoes, unless you think their shape may have trapped tiny air pockets under the oil. I think the less-dry version is more for taste, texture, and weight (if they are sold by weight).

But someone more knowledgeable than I should answer ;).

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:20PM
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NilaJones(7b)

Wow, thanks for bumping this amazing thread!

I am not a food scientist, but I would guess that there is no safety concern with the crispy-dried tomatoes, unless you think their shape may have trapped tiny air pockets under the oil. I think the less-dry version is more for taste, texture, and weight (if they are sold by weight).

But someone more knowledgeable than I should answer ;).

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:21PM
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NilaJones(7b)

Posting is being weird today. Error messages and stuff. Sorry for the double post!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:22PM
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NilaJones(7b)

Posting is being weird today. Error messages and stuff. Sorry for the double post!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:30PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

If you are concerned about food safety, drier is more safe than moist so there are no issues in that regard. It just means texture in cooking may be a bit different.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:57PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

If you are concerned about food safety, drier is more safe than moist so there are no issues in that regard. It just means texture in cooking may be a bit different.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:58PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

If you are concerned about food safety, drier is more safe than moist so there are no issues in that regard. It just means texture in cooking may be a bit different.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 1:59PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Jeez, three posts. Sorry folks.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 2:00PM
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realyrosey(7b)

Thank you both for your responses. I'm not so worried about the safety factor. The problem is that the tomatoes are dried to a crunch and I've since found out that because they are that dry, they won't absorb the oil. I should have only dried them to the leathery stage. I'm wondering now, since I saw wine used in one recipe, if I could strain off the oil, then mix them with the wine to slightly rehydrate them, then repack them in the jar with the oil?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 4:44PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

You certainly can try it. The flavor will probably be more wine-y but otherwise there shouldn't be a problem.

Carol

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 4:48PM
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realyrosey(7b)

Thank you both for your responses. I'm not so worried about the safety factor. The problem is that the tomatoes are dried to a crunch and I've since found out that because they are that dry, they won't absorb the oil. I should have only dried them to the leathery stage. I'm wondering now, since I saw wine used in one recipe, if I could strain off the oil, then mix them with the wine to slightly rehydrate them, then repack them in the jar with the oil?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 4:50PM
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NilaJones(7b)

> I'm not so worried about the safety factor. The problem is that the tomatoes are dried to a crunch and I've since found out that because they are that dry, they won't absorb the oil.

What do you mean you found out? You heard it somewhere, or you tried them? If you tried them, how long had they been in the oil?

I'm asking because it doesn't make sense to me -- I would think that, if anything, more dry would mean more absorption. But I bet it takes a few months, either way.

>I should have only dried them to the leathery stage. I'm wondering now, since I saw wine used in one recipe, if I could strain off the oil, then mix them with the wine to slightly rehydrate them, then repack them in the jar with the oil?

If it were me, I would fish out, like, 3 slices and try the wine thing on them, see if it's worth the nbother :). They might absorb the wine, or their oil coating might prevent that. But the result can't be anything but delicious either way, right?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 5:20PM
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realyrosey(7b)

Thanks Nila. That's a great idea. I think I'll do just that. I'll be sure to post the results. Thanks so much for your input. :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 12:28AM
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NilaJones(7b)

Hey, I'm just thrilled this thread was revived! I never would have thought to do a presoak in wine :).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 12:45AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Not to complicate the issue here but it important to note that these instructions are very specific on how to do and do safely.

The wine soak acidifies the tomatoes and that is what makes them safe to store in the oil after drying. So oil storage of plain dried tomatoes isn't nearly as safe or even recommended.

After-the-fact acidification of the dried tomatoes and then back into oil storage would be safer than no wine at all but still not as safe as time has allowed some bacteria to develop.

So all in all it is best to stick with the directions as written rather than trying to modify.

Dave

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 12:17PM
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nana-to-7

Do the tomatoes packed in oil need to be sealed after they've been soaked in wine and dipped in vinegar? It sounds like they can be stored on a shelf but I want to be sure. If they need to be sealed would a water bath work?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 9:43PM
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