Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes

I don't think I'm supposed to grow tomatoes - ever. Our first attempt yielded about 6 tomatoes. The following year our tomato plants gave us a police helicopter flyover and paddy wagon drive by (I'm not kidding, read about it here.)  This year I hoped our tomato plants would do better on the back patio because it gets more sun.

Tomatoes like it hot and sunny.




Too bad it wasn't hot and sunny enough for my tomato plants to convert all of their flowers into actual tomatoes. It isn't a total loss. We have some tomatoes to eat.  I just wish I had more ripe tomatoes so I could try my hand at making and canning a couple of jars of tomato sauce.  Oh well, maybe next year.

In the meantime, I have to do something with these little beauties.



I grew these!

Sure I could can them and get maybe a pint.

Not going to happen. Too much work. Too little fresh tomato payoff.

Sun drying those tomatoes? Oh yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!

The lazy way, of course.

How to Dehydrate Tomatoes


Homemade sun dried tomatoes

You will need:

Clean, fresh tomatoes - kinda a given

Knife, throw in a cutting board for kicks too

Dehydrator

A super adorable puppy girl to pet while you are waiting for your tomatoes to dehydrate

Hanging with my best gal Lacey.

If you aren't lucky enough to have a super adorable puppy in your life you can substitute your cat, a pony, or another activity that contributes to bettering the world. Heck you can do nothing at all. I'm just making up stuff to pass the time while I'm waiting for my tomatoes to dehydrate because Lacey is taking a nap right now.

Sun dried tomato recipe:

1. Optional: Remove the tomato skins from the fresh tomatoes. I usually leave them on, especially if the tomatoes are a little squishy. Other times I leave the skins on because I don't want to steam up the kitchen when I drop them into boiling water for a few minutes to loosen the skin and burn my fingers when I'm too impatient to let the tomatoes cool enough to remove the wrinkled skins with a paring knife.

2. Remove the tomato stems if you haven't done this already and use that knife to slice the tomatoes. Be wacky and use the cutting board unless you want to under an interrogation on why there are cut marks on your kitchen counter top from your husband. *cough* I have no idea honey...

I recommend using a tomato knife (yes it is a real thing you can find out more about here) The serration on a tomato knife is made to cut through soft tomatoes without tearing it unlike a regular serrated knife. 

You can slice your tomatoes lengthwise...

If my tomatoes are soft, I usually cut them lengthwise because it is a little easier.

Or you can slice them width wise. I'm slicing these tomatoes width wise so they look pretty on the top of pizzas and focaccia.

Some people remove the seeds and centers. I usually skip that step because I forget to do it.

3. Optional: If you want to season your tomatoes with a few shakes of sea salt, basil, or oregano now is the time to do it. I leave mine plain because I don't always know how I will use them.

4. Dry the tomatoes in the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F) for 6 -12 hours until the tomatoes are crisp, tough, or brittle. Your drying time will depending upon how thick you slice the tomatoes, the temperature, and the amount you want to make at a time. You can speed the drying time by rotating the trays every four hours if you like.

5. When the tomatoes are dry, use the for cooking now or store them in an airtight container for later!




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