If you don’t have the kind of dry weather that’s good for drying tomatoes on a patio or rooftop garden because of the high humidity where you reside, we have two great alternatives for dehydrating your tomatoes.
Using an Oven
It is usual practice to dehydrate tomatoes by leaving them in the oven at a low temperature for an extended period of time.
To get started, prepare the tomatoes by slicing them in half, or into smaller pieces if you’re using paste tomatoes. Followed by taking off the insides, seeds and core.
Preheat the oven to a low temperature, around 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius). Next, arrange your tomato halves, cut side up, on a baking sheet coated with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Cook the tomatoes for four to five hours in the oven, or until they are dry and shriveled. The exact cooking time will change based on a number of factors, including the type of oven you use and the relative humidity of the room.
Consequently, at the 4-hour mark, you should check on the tomatoes frequently. Pick off any tomatoes that have become hard and crisp, and keep cooking the rest until they are completely dehydrated.
Although drying tomatoes in an oven yields delicious results, the process is not ideal because it involves turning on the oven in the summer.
So what is an alternative?
The Dehydrator Technique
While drying tomatoes in the oven is the standard approach, using a dehydrator yields better results.
For 5-8 hours, set the temperature on models with a real temperature guide to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). To achieve the same level of moisture loss as an oven, dehydrators operate at significantly lower temperatures.
At the 5-hour mark, examine the tomatoes again; throw out any that have dried out and crisped. You should keep letting the rest of the batch dehydrate until it is complete.
How to Store Sun-Dried Tomatoes
What’s the best way to keep your sun-dried tomatoes fresh once you’ve made them?
When they cool, place them in an airtight container. Next, refrigerate them and consume within a week.
Submerge them in extra-virgin olive oil if you want them to survive a little longer. When stored at room temperature and submerged in an airtight container, they can maintain their freshness for up to three to four weeks.
The last, and best option for preserving homemade sun-dried tomatoes is to freeze them. Sun-dried tomatoes that have been frozen and stored in an airtight container can keep for more than a year.
For best results, flash freeze them on a baking sheet in a single layer before transferring to a freezer safe container. Doing so keeps them from clumping together in a big ball when frozen.
Then, simply defrost and rehydrate a handful anytime you need them for a meal or snack.