When I finished canning the tomatoes from that huge load of tomatoes from the U-Pick farm, I still had quite a few tomatoes leftover. I had too many for us to eat in a timely manner but not enough to make it worth my while to pull out all the canning supplies. This happens often.
Sometimes I’ll freeze the excess, but I have limited freezer space so I really have to pick and choose what and how much I freeze. Honestly, I’d rather fill my freezer with homemade lasagnas, homemade pizza crusts and other meals that make our lives a little easier when we’re busy. So, how do I preserve that extra produce so it doesn’t go to waste? Dehydrate it!
To dehydrate tomatoes, simply slice the tomatoes into ¼-inch slices. Spread the slices in a single layer on a mesh screen set into the tray of the dehydrator. The slices can touch, just don’t overlap.You can remove the seeds if you'd like. The seeds can impart a slight tang to the dehydrated chip.
If your dehydrator has a temperature gauge, dry the tomatoes at about 140°F. If you have the kind of dehydrator that just turns off and on, then don’t worry about the temperature and just turn it on. Tomatoes take anywhere from 8 to 12 hours to dry.
As always with dehydrating, you can use your oven or air dry your tomatoes on screen outside. I’m not too keen though on running my oven for 8 hours straight, and I’ve not been very successful at air drying anything. I blame the humidity here in Florida. My lack of success might be due to my own failings, but I’m going blame the humidity.
Anyway, I dried my tomatoes to crispy rather than leathery consistency and stored them in a half-gallon-sized canning jar. I tasted one first, of course. Wow! Talk about intense flavor! Now I understand why some people dip the tomato slices in garlic powder or garlic salt before drying and eat the dried tomatoes like potato chips!
So, how am I going to use them, you ask? Ok, you might not have actually asked, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Have you ever had white pizza with spinach, garlic, and dried tomatoes? Yum!! To use on the pizza, reconstitute the tomatoes a bit in hot water first.
Out of diced tomatoes for your chili? Break a few chips into pieces and set in a cup of hot water for ten minutes before adding water and all to the pot.
The chips will also pulverize into a powder very well that can be added to soups and sauces or mixed with water as a broth substitute.
Thank you for stopping by! I filled my dehydrator twice which filled two half-gallon jars. Hopefully, that will be enough to last until the next harvest.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,