Anyone drying tomatoes this summer?


#1

My first try at drying tomatoes. These are Better Boys and Parks Whopper Improved.

IMG_1076%5B1%5D


#2

Those slices look too thick to me.
May rot before they dry.
Recommend ~1/4 inch thick
Or …
I have had luck smashing them in tortilla press , then drying.
Best of luck


#3

You may be right in that they will may rot before they dry. Some were on the verge of being overripe. I did not peel them.

Oh well, if they rot I have plenty still to try again.


#4

What is this contraption, I like your innovation.


#5

Its a 8’x4’x4’ plywood box with 4 100 watt light bulbs in the bottom and lined with reflexive sheeting along the sides and at the bottom of the lid.

I’ve used it before for drying apples. It worked fine for that. These tomatoes has much more juice. @Hillbillyhort is right in that I did not cut the tomatoes thin enough.

I’ve already put up 19 quarts of salsa this year. Too many tomatoes. I’ll try some more drying by peeling and cutting really thin.

Have you been drying tomatoes? On an earlier thread you expressed interest in it.


#6

When sliced 1/4 " they will dry , but take up lots of room in the dryer, and 1/4 inch drys to almost nothing .

Smashing whole tomatoes to 1/4 in.
( and saving the juice that comes out.)
In something like a tortilla press .ruptures the cells , resulting in fast drying. And a more substantial product.
Need flipped when the top is mostly dry, before the bottom sticks


#7

Not familiar with a tortilla press. Had to google it. See that Walmart sells them. What are they used for other than helping to dry tomatoes?


#8

Making tortillas :grinning:
Used to flatten corn masa to make tortillas


#9

You could use something else.
A large pan / plate ? Tomatoe - heavy pot , palm of hand etc.) press down hard.
Tomatoes are not hard to smash
Flatter the better


#10

Think I would be better off just cutting out the seeds and the surrounding jell.

Have to admit that I have only been to Taco Bell like twice in my life and both times I ordered something like a regular cheeseburger.


#11

That’s a neat dehydrator @tennessean! I love seeing different ideas at work!

I dehydrated tomatoes last year, they were great! I plan to do a lot more this year. I have 16" thick exterior walls on my house (my husband and I built a passive style house), so the space between my south facing main door and the storm door is an excellent place to set up racks of stuff to dry. With our +35°C days it goes very fast.

When I did mine I scooped out most of the seeds and watery center, tossed with a bit of salt, which also helped to pull the water out. They worked out well. I also ran some through a blender and spread out the paste on a dehydrator/silicone sheet. Then I ran that dried sheet through the blender again to make powder. It’s wonderful on a piece of toast with a touch of dill and black pepper.

I like your tortilla press tip @Hillbillyhort, I’m going to have to give that one a go. Do you find that the tomato skin traps the moisture in the center, or do they still dry ok? I cut mine in half and kept the skin side down so it would allow the water to go somewhere. Maybe I was just overthinking it though…


#12

Yes the skin likely slows drying .
Would be better peeled .
For Roma / paste type , I have cut in half, skin side down.
And made slices in the top to allow more surface area.
Yes. , salt helps draw moisture out


#13

I use Principe Borghese tomatoes for drying. They’re much lower moisture and dry down relatively easily. In a drier, sunnier climate than New England, you probably could just dry them whole outside. Supposedly they “throw the vine over the fence” in Italy and let them dry that way.

@Fusion_power, do you know of any other good drying varieties?


#14

Great dehydrator! I haven’t tried drying tomatoes, but had great results with peppers/chilies.


#15

Very nice invention. Hope it will work as fine as an excalibur, for example. Yes, the slices are too thick and it will take ages to dry them. If you do not put ascorbic acid before drying them the slices will oxydise(?) and turn brown in a few months and dark brown in about one year. I know I dehydrate a lot! Sorry for my bad English.
Marc, Stukely-Sud, Québec, Canada


#16

How long does it take to dry tomatoes in the excalibur? My guess that is one of those round dehydrator that is sold in the stores.

My tomatoes have been drying for about 18 hours now. Looks like the ones that I placed on screens are going to do okay. The ones that that I placed flat on cookie sheets look like they are going to just cook instead of just dry.

I’m planning on freezing the dried tomatoes so that should prevent any turning brown or spoilage.


#17

The key is to use very dense and meaty tomatoes with rich intense flavor, relatively low sweetness, and few seed. Here are a few:

Amish Paste
Big Mama (Commercial hybrid, but acceptable dried, a few open pollinated developed from it)
Carol Chyko
Chico Grande
Chinese
Christopher Columbus (medium sized elongated druplet shape, dries very well)
Costoluto Fiorentino
Costoluto Genovese (A bit too seedy for some, but good otherwise, make excellent sauce)
Dinofrios German (these are HUGE-ripen early and have almost no seeds)
Federle
Giant Pepperview
Goldman’s Italian American
Heidi (a tad seedy)
Joe’s Plum
Kosovo
Leatha’s Italian
Memorial Polish Paste
Nick’s
Nile River Egyptian
Opalka (high water content but very good flavor)
Romeo
Russo Sicilian Togeta
Seaches Italian
Sicilian Saucer
Super Italian Paste
Venetian Marketplace
Zapotec

Just about any heart shaped variety can be dried, however, be careful to get varieties that have relatively small core.

A good dehydrator can dry 1/4 inch thick slices of tomato in 12 to 24 hours. Be sure to spray the dehydrator trays with non-stick spray before placing a layer of sliced tomatoes. Try to get all of the tomato slices close to the same thickness. Store dried tomatoes properly to avoid problems with mold. They should either be properly packed in oil or should be stored in air-tight containers in a freezer. Other storage methods can work, but are climate dependent. Here in the Southeast, it is difficult to store them in jars unless they are pressure canned and sealed because the tomatoes absorb moisture any time a jar is open. As you may guess, moisture leads to mold forming on the dried fruit.

If you are serious about drying tomatoes, please read Brokenbar’s comments on this tomatoville thread.
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=20850


#18

First the slices have to be thin. My favorite to dehydrate is Roma: meaty and without water (juice). Excalibur dehydrator are square , Nesco are round. Time of drying depends on many factors.


#19

I cut of the stems and quarter them. Put them with all the juices in Ziploc bags and squeeze all the air out and freeze them. I simmer them down and make sauce or paste… Make a lot of homemade pizza with Cauliflower crust. Used to have a solar dryer that worked well. Takes a lot of energy to dry those juicy tomatoes.


#20

Been freezing tomatoes too. I’ve been just coring them and then freezing whole with skin on. Vacuum sealed. I use them in stews

The tomatoes that I have dried has been put into the freezer in vacuum sealed bags. I’ve dried about 6 gallons. One advantage of drying is that less freezer space is used.

Yes, it does take a lot of energy to dry the tomatoes. My box dryer works fine even when I have 1/2" slices but I doubt that it is cost efficient.

I have never made sauce or paste. Maybe i will look into that.