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rack for oven drying tomatoes?

Posted by marthacr z5 Me (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 28, 08 at 9:17

I want to dry some tomatoes today in the oven, but I don't have a good rack. Is there anything that you have used that could substitute? My cookie racks are the stacking kind and the wire is far apart. Can I use cookie sheets sprayed with olive oil?

Thanks,
Martha


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

You use a piece of window screen (the teflon black kind) across the oven racks. If you are drying at higher than 150 use metal screen. A small roll of either is pretty cheap.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

It needs holes in it for air circulation. A cookie sheet with oil on it will just fry the tomatoes.

The metal screens work great or you can make one out of multiple layers of foil folded together with holes poked in it. Or you can buy one of the perforated cooking sheets they make for cooking small items on the grill. They also make pizza pans full of holes for baking pizza that will work.

Dave


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

Before I bought my Excalibur dehydrator, I always used a stainless steel rack. It's made up of long rods about 1/4 inch apart, is a bit smaller than the oven size, and has small legs on it.

I think my stove came with it for using in the bun warmer part below. It has been a nice addition to my kitchen hardware, especially for use to cool recently baked sour dough breads, or cakes, etc.

Because it is stainless, I don't worry about the metal factor contact with food (tomatoes, fruits, etc.). I learned this especially when drying lemon salt awhile back - when I used a piepan - ugh. I now prefer a Pyrex baking dish for that.

Avoid aluminums for acid cooking anyway.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

Do you use the cherry toms that have split on the plant? Seems they would still be good to dry.
Martha


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

No, it isn't recommended. If they have split then bacteria has easy direct access to the inside of the fruit. On large tomatoes you can usually cut away sufficient meat to insure some safety but that doesn't work with cherry varieties.

Dave


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

Ovens will not go low enough in temperature. Its also going to need air movement which would require having the door open and a fan blowing inside for about 1-2 days or more. Its obvioulsy not going to do a good job in dehydrating in an open oven. A device made for this is much easier to deal with. I have two Ronco round units I bought years ago, and they still work great. Keep in mind that the quicker you dry things, the more flavor they will have. Suggest that you do not use any oils, as they can get rancid in no time and will still adhere to the dried toms. Nesco dehydrators and other brands are great for drying things. Many here have dried not only tomatoes, but peppers, fruits, jerky, and many other things.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

I agree that oven dryng is the least desirable method. I have electric so only goes down to 200 which is much to high, especially with no fan. Maybe someone else on here has used oven drying and can give advice? For next year you need to get a small inexpensive dehydrator. Sometimes, if you put a "wanted" ad in the local mini paper, you will get a lot of resposne. That's how I got my used commercial dehdrator.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes? almost done

I used the aluminum foil with holes poked in it. I have a convection oven, so the fan is already there. It took about 6 hrs which is what I expected. Next year I will either use a small dehydrator or make a rack to do it in the sun in my hot greenhouse.
Thanks everyine,
Martha


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

If you do have it outside, be sure its kept away from bugs and has a nice fan blowing the air around. I have a big 20 inch floor fan in my greenhouse, that is now on to dry out my recently harvested onions. I made a 2x4 foot wood frame with 1/4 inch screening. Its only used to cure garlic and other root crops, so the dirt will rub right off.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

Yes...gnats in particular love sun-dried tomatoes. I think it is because they are sweet. I always have a cloud of them around my solar dehydrator. This year, I committed gnat-o-cide by hanging a mosquito light near there. Wiped them out pretty fast.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

Gnats are also trapped in horizontal yellow sticky traps. I use these small 4x6 inch cards indoors if I see a single fungus gnat. Outside, I have applied beneficial nematodes to all my garden soil area, and these last a lifetime in reducing the gnat and their maggot damages.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

ksrogers: my new Thermador oven has a setting for drying foods. I haven't used it since I already have a big dehydrator.

I've had real bad luck trying to dry fruits/vegetables outdoors. I'm not fond of dried fruit with a coating of dried gnats.


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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

Last year (before dehydrator) I sun-dried some tomatoes on a black slab (used for cabinet tops), that my son sometimes used for woodworking.

I placed a tent screen over them, and kept the bugs away with a small clamp-on fan, to blow above it. This little beauty is also used for keeping gnats away from seedlings under my grow lights, and air circulation to prevent damping off.

This year tho - the drying weather came late for tomatoes, and I agree, I appreciated having the indoor dehydrator, especially for harvesting and drying small amounts from my small garden.

Whenever possible, however, I used a makeshift outdoor dryer, that I made - butterflying two window screens together, and attaching it outside my kitchen window, then clamping the small fan to the window sill to distract bugs. This worked fine when the sun was there - but not too efficient on foggy days. Some onions and nuts dried successfully there over time.

Bejay



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RE: rack for oven drying tomatoes?

VT. Country store now sells dried cantaloupe. They dip in sugar, water, ascorbic acid, and then dry it. Those inexpensive yellow sticky traps work great. They remain sticky. As I mentioned, I don't like seeing any gnats in my newly started seedings in spring, so the traps are a nice way to monitor the activity too. Within a minute or two, they can catch several, which tells me the plants need a Bt treatment to kill of the damaging maggots they produce.

I have a small toaster oven that bakes by convection too, its got a dehydrate setting, but it seems to get just beyond 'ouch' point, which to me is over 160 degrees. One year, I dried about 2 bushels of sweet green and red peppers. It did take a week or more, as both units were fully loaded, and had to run two batches through. These are done in the Ronco unit, which has no fan, but has a low temp ring heater at the bottom. It never gets any hotter there above 150 degrees, and uses simple air movement through the bottom below the heater. Only issue is I must rotate the round trays about 1-2 times per day, then rotate/restack the top trays back to the bottom area.


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