Simple Homemade “Sun-Dried ” Tomatoes

homemade sun-dried tomatoes

They’re finicky little buggers…

…tomatoes, that is.

It’s near impossible to predict which years will result in bumper crops, and which years will be complete flops… And let me tell you, I’ve definitely had both! (I’m hoping this year’s deep-mulch method will improve my odds!)

My tomatoes usually like to stay green and rock-hard until late September–right up until the first freeze. The plants must get some sort of evil enjoyment from watching me frantically strip the vines on the crisp autumn afternoon before the first frost is predicted. It’s pretty common for me to have boxes upon boxes of green tomatoes sitting in my house as I wait for them to finally ripen.

Because of that, I usually cave and buy boxes of tomatoes from my farmer’s market to satisfy my summer tomato craving, and making simple sun-dried tomatoes is one of my favorite ways to preserve them for later.

I especially like making sun-dried tomatoes when I don’t have enough ‘maters to justify breaking out the canning equipment to make sauce. Some sun-dried tomato tutorials add a lot of extra steps, but I like to keep my method simple and quick.

Two Caveats to This Post

1) I know, I know… I call ‘em “sun-dried” tomatoes, but you don’t really need the sun to dry them. Although I suppose you could stick them in your car on a hot, sunny day if you wanted too. But, the dehydrator is much simpler.

2) I bought these ‘maters from Bountiful Baskets, I didn’t grow them… My tomato plants hardly even have flowers on them yet, so if you were starting to feel bad about not having homegrown tomatoes yet, please don’t. ;)

how to make sun-dried tomatoes

Simple Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes

You Will Need: 

  • Firm tomatoes (I prefer to use paste-type tomatoes for this (like Romas), but really, any tomato will work)
  • Dried basil or oregano (optional)
  • Dehydrator

Instructions:

easy sun-dried tomatoes

Wash the tomatoes, cut off the tops, and slice them into roughly 1/4″ slices (you can totally eyeball this–no need to measure). Some sun-dried tomato tutorials call for you to peel and seed the tomatoes first, but I have’t found that to be necessary.

Place the tomato slices on your dehydrator trays, and sprinkle with dried oregano or basil (if desired).

dried3

Dry the tomatoes at 140-150 degrees for 8-10, or until they are leathery, yet still pliable.

Remove the ‘”sun-dried” tomatoes from the trays and store in an air-tight container. Store in the freezer or fridge to maximize shelf life.

Depending on how much moisture you removed, your tomatoes should last quite a while–especially if you store them in the freezer or fridge.

How to Use Sun-Dried Tomatoes:

Add your sun-dried tomatoes to pastas, stews, casseroles, soups, and whatever else you can think of! I will sometimes even rehydrate mine in a bit of boiling water, and then puree them in the food processor to create various sauces and pestos. They are a special treat in the dead of winter when all the tomatoes at the store a anemic-looking and flavorless…

Prairie Girl likes to eat them plain as an afternoon snack too. :)

how to dry tomatoes

Notes

  • Select the firmest tomatoes you can. The mushy ones take forever to dry!
  • The thicker the slices, the longer the tomatoes will take to dry.
  • Your sun-dried tomatoes will last a looooong time, depending on how much moisture you removed. I’ve had my bags of sun-dried tomatoes last for over a year in my fridge.
  • Don’t have a dehydrator? You can also dry them in your oven at 150 degrees for several hours–or until they are leathery.

Simple Homemade “Sun-Dried ” Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • Firm tomatoes (I prefer to use paste-type tomatoes for this (like Romas), but really, any tomato will work)
  • Dried basil or oregano (optional)
  • Dehydrator (or an oven, or even a hot car)
  • Instructions:

Instructions

  1. Firm tomatoes (I prefer to use paste-type tomatoes for this (like Romas), but really, any tomato will work)
  2. Dried basil or oregano (optional)
  3. Dehydrator (or an oven, or even a hot car)
  4. Instructions:
  5. Wash the tomatoes, cut off the tops, and slice them into roughly 1/4" slices (you can totally eyeball this--no need to measure). Some sun-dried tomato tutorials call for you to peel and seed the tomatoes first, but I have't found that to be necessary.
  6. Place the tomato slices on your dehydrator trays, and sprinkle with dried oregano or basil (if desired).
  7. Dry the tomatoes at 140-150 degrees for 6-8 hours, or until they are leathery and dry.
  8. Remove the '"sun-dried" tomatoes from the trays and store in an air-tight container. Store in the freezer or fridge to maximize shelf life.
http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/06/homemade-sun-dried-tomatoes.html

how to dehydrate tomatoes

 

 

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Comments

  1. I was totally feeling bad about not having tomatoes yet! So glad to hear yours are bought. :) We had 22 great looking tomato plants, lost them all to a sudden frost. Grr. We had to start all over and we are just hoping that maybe we will get some tomatoes this year. If we do, I shall try this!

  2. . sue strickland says:

    why do my tomatoes stick to the trays I think I do everything correct just wash slice and place them on trays but when I start to remove them they are stuck and have to scrape off. help please

  3. Good Morning…You’re making me DROOL so early this morning !!!!
    I LOVE sun dried tomatoes and/or roasted tomatoes.
    The only thing I do differently is I slice mine from top to bottom.
    They may take a bit longer to dry but they are meatier.
    When Roasting, I toss with oregano, basil, garlic powder and a small amount of olive oil. Put on a cooling rack set on a cookie sheet and Roast at 350F till a bit charred. I eat them like candy ! And in salads, on pastas etc.
    Thx for a Wonderful view of what’s to come out of our gardens.

  4. In my ignorance, I thought sun dried tomatoes required placing the tomatoes in the sun, where it would take days to ripen them and they’d be exposed to every curious critter and insect of the outdoors (ick!) I just got my dehydrator and am so excited I can make wonderful “sundried” tomatoes in the confines of my home! My tomatoes aren’t even flowering yet so I may have to trek off to the local farmers market. Thanks for the great post! I look forward to trying this!

  5. I love to make “sun-dried” tomatoes in my dehydrator. Last year, we had an excess of cherry tomatoes and I sliced them in half to dehydrate. It was so simple! They were delicious! I hadn’t thought of adding basil directly to them though. Love that idea! Thanks!

  6. We like to sun dry small grape or cherry tomatoes so we don’t have to do any slicing, and they’re perfect little dimes to put on salads.

  7. Can’t wait to try this! It may be October before we had tomatoes though as we got a really late start. Bountiful Baskets — I miss them since we moved to the farm in Kansas. Those baskets were full of deliciousness!

  8. Helen Corey says:

    We solved our green tomato saving before the frost hits problem. We just pulled up the tomato plant, roots and all and hung the plants upside down on our attached garage where the temp usually stays above freezing. We were eating “vine ripened tomatoes” well into December.

    • Helen Corey says:

      That should read “in our attached garage” and not “on our attached garage”. Excuse my fat fingers.

    • Jacque Miller says:

      That is such a great idea Helen. I will def try that this year. Thanks for the tip.

  9. I had the same problem last year of not having my tomatoes ripen. I read (somewhere that I, of course, do not remember) that it comes of being too generous with watering . I lightened up on the watering, and the tomatoes started turning red within the week!

  10. Miss Sami says:

    My Goodness! Gorgeous picture of the bard rock below! Looks like my Princess Fianna whom I’m taken to calling Fifi. She & I are having our afternoon snack now hiding from the rest of the heifers…. I mean hens. Looking at the picture of your basket of eggs I’d say we have a lot of the same heritage girls. Anyhoo, I’m wondering after this wonderful post about preserving the sun dried (yes, call them sun dried if the sun is out when you put them in the dehydrator!) tomatoes would preserve well in olive oil. Potentially also since you mentioned putting them into sauce, pressure canning a few jars w/ them in there for the winter mths. Plus what about a food saver bag? See we do broiler chickens & can have 25 chickens in our freezer & have yet to buy a deep freeze! Space gets a little tight & I cook & freeze ahead of time! Just seeing if you have any knowledge.

    Ps I’m so glad to have bumped into your blog :)

  11. wow…this late in June and you don’t have but a few flowers? Where are you located and when did you plant? Are you starting seeds indoors and planting out or starting from seed after first frost? the latter may be the issue for you as they need more time to get growing. I haven’t had but one or two grapes that turned already but I certainly have plenty on the vine working hard! I’m in Central NJ and started with small plants around mid may. Also, consider when planting out (if you don’t already) burying them deep and only leaving about 2-3″ sticking up or even doing the horizontal planting method as both of these will encourage more root growth and better ground support. I hope you get a late bumper for your efforts! You may also consider the varieties your growing too may not be the best for your area.