Tomatoes dried in the sun taste best! Sometimes, however, we do not have such an option, so drying in a food dehydrator is also a good solution at home. If you do not have a food dehydrator, you can also use your oven but remember that the drying process can take many hours.
Although you can actually dry any tomato variety if you cut it thin enough, the best results are obtained by choosing tomato varieties with small fruits, slightly elongated, such as Roma, San Marzano, or any plum-shaped or paste-type tomato with thick walls and few seeds.
Before you will start to dehydrate your tomatoes, remember to not store the fruits in the refrigerator. The tart, acidic taste of the fruits stored that way will be lost and the flavor will become mild and plain. The fruits that you are choosing for drying should be firm and ripe. Getting ready your tomatoes for drying, first, remove the stalks, wash the tomatoes, and drain them of excess water. You can dehydrate your tomatoes with or without skin. If you prefer the second option, please check our tips on how to fast and easy peel your tomatoes.
Cut small fruits into halves or quarters and larger ones – into slices. Remove the seeds along with the jelly around them. Although not everyone does it, and some people prefer to dry whole slices or halves of tomatoes along with the seeds and gel. Place the sliced fruits on a tray in a food dehydrator and sprinkle them lightly with salt and your favorite spices or herbs. It all depends on your preferences and the intended use of the dried tomatoes. Turn the food dehydrator on and set the temperature and time according to the instructions provided by the producer of your device. It should be around 140°F (60°C) and the time is about 10-14 hours.
If you are using the oven, heat it to 140-180°F (60-65°C) and line baking trays with parchment paper, place your tomatoes, and season them. Dry for about 24 hours (or more if needed) with slightly open oven doors. When the tomatoes are dry (are not sticky and easily bend in half and do not break) remove them from the dehydrator. If not, continue to dry them for a few hours more. You can turn the tomatoes upside down. Store dry tomatoes in a paper bag or a jar. You can also pour them with good-quality olive oil, add spices, or if you like a piece of hot chili pepper and garlic, then close the jar and put it in the refrigerator, where they can safely spend even up to three months.
A very convenient and useful way to use dried tomatoes in the kitchen is also to prepare a powdered spice. The tomatoes used for this purpose must be drier and should crumble when you try to break them. Grind the well-dehydrated tomato slices in a mortar or an electric grinder with additives such as dried garlic, dried basil, and oregano. The thickness of the ground powder can vary from flakes and fine pieces to smooth, fine powder. This type of spice can be used for soups, sauces, baked or grilled meats, or stews. It will give more flavor to your dishes and bring them to the next level!
World Tomato Society Website Content Director