So you have a tomato harvest.. Here are a few tips about tomatoes, and instructions how to dehydrate them…
Store Tomatoes at Room Temperature!
This makes a big difference with flavor/texture/juiciness. The refrigerator will prevent your tomatoes from ripening properly and will result in a less tasty tomato.
However, when the tomatoes are fully ripened, you can extend the shelf life by several days if you put them in the fridge.
Also, once you slice into a tomato, you must refrigerate what’s left over.
Use a serrated knife to slice a tomato.
Slice with a serrated knife (a bread knife), because of the skin. A Chef knife will not work as well on a tomato as serrated.
Ripen green tomatoes.
Put a layer of green tomatoes in a paper bag or in a cardboard box with a banana. Check on the banana during the process and replace it before it rots. The banana helps to release ‘ethylene’ which speeds the process. Remove tomatoes that appear molding or a ripe before the others. In room temperature, to ripen green tomatoes may take one to two weeks.
For fresh, crushed tomatoes…
…use a simple box grater. Slice a fresh tomato in half and rub it on a box grater. The skin folds back (protecting your fingers while you grate) and the flesh goes into a waiting bowl, perfectly crushed and ready to use.
When making tomato sauce, use this pan…
Don’t reach for the deep pan, instead use a wide pan. The faster a tomato sauce is cooked, the fresher and brighter its flavor. A wide skillet lets liquids evaporate quickly.
1. Remove stems and rinse the tomatoes.
2. Cut the tomato in half (from the top to bottom). From each half, slice into wedges to sit skin-side-down on dehydrator trays (less stickiness to the trays – trust me…)
Small cherry tomatoes – just slice in half and place skin side down on trays.
Remove every other tray if you need the room for the wedge slices to stand up.
3. Sprinkle tomato slices with salt and/or garlic powder as desired.
4. Dry at 135-degrees-F until shriveled and leathery but still slightly flexible; not sticky or tacky.
Drying time depends on several factors:
Thick or Thin Slices
The thinner the slice of item being dried, the quicker the drying time.
The lower the temperature, the longer the drying time. Recommended temperature varies with food types.
The higher the humidity, the longer the drying time.
The higher the liquid content of the food being dehydrated, the longer the drying time.
Some people like their dehydrated items still a bit soft, while others like it “crunchy or crispy”. If you want it more crunchy-crispy, it will increase the time it takes to dry all the water out…
The product being dehydrated also will dictate how long it takes to dry.
The shelf life of dehydrated tomatoes vary from several months to nearly a year, and is apparently a bit shorter than some other vegetables. Store in Ziploc bags (remove the air) or canning jars, vacuum seal, etc. If kept in this packaging and in the refrigerator it will last longer (up to a year, depending).