Dry Tomatoes Like A Boss With This Tutorial

Dry Tomatoes Like A Boss With This Tutorial

Dried tomatoes add an amazing burst of flavor to any recipe and that’s why it is a must-have in my kitchen here at the farm.

 

It gives delicious depth to my meals and it is fully packed with nutrients that our body will enjoy. There’s nothing better than something that’s good for your body and your taste buds!

 

With the high cost (a whopping $20 per pound) of dried tomatoes in the store,  how do you enjoy these heavenly tomatoes without hurting your budget?

 

Simple. Dehydrate your own tomatoes! And it doesn’t have to be in the sun. There are easy ways on how to dry tomatoes. Check out these tips and tricks to drying them in your home.

 

Warning: Dried Tomatoes Can Still Spoil

I know how much people enjoy eating and using dried-tomatoes in salsas, pizzas, sauce, etc. And you can’t wait to learn how to produce a bunch on your own without buying from the market.

 

However, before we go to the methods of drying out tomatoes, we need to keep the following things in mind:

 

  • Dehydrated food can be stored and consumed for long periods of time but it can still spoil when it is kept for longer than usual.
  • Drying tomatoes correctly and storing them in the proper conditions can give you about 7 months of shelf-life.
  • When you dry and store the tomatoes, make sure you keep them away from moisture (especially inside the containers when already stored) to avoid the growth of bacteria.
  • Dried tomatoes with oil, garlic, and herbs will need to be refrigerated after opening.
  • Watch out for signs of rot. Never eat food that has already started producing molds!

Sun-Drying Tomatoes in Summer

From the Aztecs to the tomato-loving country of Italy, drying raw food has been a reliable method of storing food for a long time. We can dry tomatoes the old fashioned way using the sun (and who doesn’t love a bit of Tuscany in their own backyard??).

 

When you dry tomatoes the old-fashioned way, it has to be in the summer when the sun is high and the air is warm, and dry.  Find out how to dry tomatoes in the sun from this action guide.

 

What You Need Instructions
• Screen for drying the tomatoes
• Cheesecloth
• 10 tomatoes of standard size (for 1 ounce of finished product)
1. Slice the tomatoes in proportional sizes, scoop out the seeds, and lay them on the screen.
2. When drying both ends, place them skin down so it dries well.
3. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set out to dry.
4. Place the screen with the tomatoes in a good location that receives full sun and is free from predators.
5. Cover with a raised cheesecloth to keep off insects and provide good ventilation.
6. Bring the tomatoes in at night to avoid the dew.

 

This method can take up to two weeks of bringing the tomatoes in and out the sun to dry. It is time-consuming,  but you don’t need to invest in any equipment.

Drying Tomatoes All-Year Round

If you live in an area that doesn’t receive a lot of sun throughout the year, we have 2 other options for you to dry your tomatoes.

 

First, you can use your oven.  Because sun-drying tomatoes can take up too much time and effort, you can use an oven to dry them faster.

 

This method is pretty simple – set the oven to the lowest heat setting possible and bake the tomatoes until dried. This method takes anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.

 

 

But who needs an oven during the summer? Or who wants to waste that much electricity if you know how to dry tomatoes in a dehydrator, right?

 

As an organic farmer, the best alternative to sun-drying raw food is using a dehydrator. This tool has many advantages compared to the oven method.

 

  • A dehydrator uses low temperatures that can preserve enzymes which keeps your tomatoes good for you and not just a seasoning for your food.
  • It uses a fan that allows proper circulation of warm air making it more efficient.
  • It comes in different sizes which means you can dry more foods at once.
  • Lastly… a fan VS an oven? It’s a no-brainer. I would go for the smaller carbon footprint

 

Here is a quick action guide on how to dry tomatoes in a dehydrator with an amazing recipe!

3 main ingredients:

  • Tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil

 

Directions:

  1. Slice tomatoes in uniform thickness and size.
  2. Place the cut tomatoes in a bowl and drizzle with some salt and olive oil. Mix well and let the tomatoes dry partially. *Note that these two seasonings are optional. This recipe, for me, creates wonderful tasting dried tomatoes that you can eat right out of the bag.
  3. Arrange the tomatoes on the dehydrator tray and dry until all moisture is out.
  4. Store in an airtight container (a bag or a jar) and place in the fridge for long-term storage.

Finally, you can enjoy that summery sun-kissed taste of dried tomatoes all-year round! Do you have a unique way of how to dry tomatoes? Share it with us!

 

Dried Tomatoes

  • Garden-Fresh Tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  1. Slice tomatoes in uniform thickness and size.

  2. Place the cut tomatoes in a bowl and drizzle with some salt and olive oil. Mix well and let the tomatoes dry partially. *Note that these two seasonings are optional. 

  3. Arrange the tomatoes on the dehydrator tray

  4. Dry until all moisture is out (consult your dehydrator instructions).

  5. Store in an airtight container (a bag or a jar) and place in the fridge for long-term storage.

10+ Ways to Preserve Your Harvest Without Canning!

10+ Ways to Preserve Your Harvest Without Canning!

On our farm, we preserve a lot of food without canning – and often, it’s easier, faster, and better to leave the canning jars on the shelf.

 

Particularly if you’re not familiar with pressure canning, or if you’re unsure about starting, you might be wondering how you can preserve meat, fruit, or dairy.

 

(You might have heard about some ways to can things like dairy – but we debunk those myths in this article).

 

In this article, I’m going to show you some ancient ways our ancestors used to preserve fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and eggs – and you can use these same tactics in your own home!

How to preserve food without canning

 

Preserving Fruit

Preserving fruit without canning includes the obvious choices of fermenting and drying, but had you thought of preserving fresh fruit in honey or sugar? 

 

Apples

To preserve the flavor of apples, people would wrap the fruit in paper, straw, or cloth soaked with grease such as oil or fat. Apples were then stacked in a wooden crate and placed in cool area such as a root cellar.

 

A favorite of colonial Americans was cider molasses, which is boiled from fresh apple cider, and used to flavor desserts or breakfasts. You can learn to make it here.

 

The leftover peels from making cider were then fermented to make apple cider vinegar – nothing went to waste!

 

You CAN preserve food without canning - here's 10+ ways to do it!

 

Berries

Like apples, berries were preserved by fermenting them into wine or vinegars. During winter, wine could keep for months – even years, and was safer to drink than water.

 

Berries were dried and used in desserts and main courses, either by reconstituting them in water or used as dried fruit, or eaten plain like we do nowadays.

 

Fruit could also be preserved in honey by dropping the fruit into a jar filled with honey. Since honey is naturally antiseptic, the fruit wouldn’t rot, and would even impart their flavor on honey.  

 

The fruit would then be pulled from the honey as needed and used in desserts or flavored mead would be made from the honey.

 

 

Preserving Vegetables & Legumes

Vegetables traditionally have been preserved by fermenting, drying, keeping in a cool place by packing them with wet leaves or sand, or keeping them in the ground before hard frosts hit.

 

Onions

Onions were pulled from the ground when the stalks browned, and were ripened by laying them on their sides to dry. To store them, the green stalks were intact and braided to store onions easily-circulating air.

 

 

Cabbage

Cabbage was dried and often used in soups and stews, but the most traditional way to preserve cabbage was by fermenting it in crocks like this one. Nowadays, you can also use kits that make it easy like this one. To learn how to ferment veggies, click here.

 

 

Beans

Beans were dried on the bush or vines and then strung up to continue drying and to store them. Families then strung them in their homes where they would be in easy reach. The dried beans then were soaked overnight to soften before being cooked and eaten.

 

 

Corn

To preserve it, corn kernels were dried then soaked and added to stews and soups or ground into meal, but more interestingly, our ancestors also dried corn into hominy, which was then turned into grits.

 

To harvest hominy, after corn on the cob was eaten, the remaining kernels and bits were cut from the cob and dried. To make grits, the dried hominy was soaked in water until soft.

 

You CAN preserve food without canning - here's 10+ ways to do it!

Salted vegetables

Fresh vegetables were also sometimes preserved in dry salt (as opposed to brine) in a crock, although this depended on your access to salt (during medieval times, only the very wealthy had access to a lot of salt).

 

Nowadays, we have easy access to salt, so you can preserve your veggies in a salt concentration between 20 to 25 percent of the weight of your harvest (so 20 to 25 pounds salt per 100 pounds of food).

 

While this definitely prevents microbial growth, it also makes your vegetables very salty – if you preserve your harvest this way, be sure to soak the food in water before eating and adjust your recipe to make up for the extra salt in your vegetables.

 

To save their taste buds and make salt (which could be very expensive) last longer, people would instead preserve food in brine. The traditional ratio of salt to water to make a brine is 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water.

 

But the strength of this ratio depends on which salt you use – kosher is not equal to table salt in this case, and our ancestors didn’t have iodized salt to confuse the ratio.

 

It’s better to go with a strict weight – 10 ounces of salt per gallon of water.

 

Preserving Meat

 

Salt pork

Salting pork and other meats is an old fashioned method that’s not used today – and that’s a shame, because it works well to preserve AND season meat.

 

Using sugar, salt, and spices, pork could be submerged in the mixture and kept in a cool area for months – keeping the family fed while other sources of nutrition were scarce.

 

Cold Smoke

Cold smoking meat is a way of curing and preserving that we still use today – we’ve smoked many a slab of beef on our farm, and it’s delicious.

 

We’ve found that smoked meats take a lot longer to turn rancid or grow mold – but you need to COLD smoke (under 150 degrees, preferably around 100).

 

This is much easier achieved during the cool days of winter – which is why meat is traditionally harvested during fall and early winter.

 

Meat also should be first submerged in brine to help preserve it, help get moisture out of the cuts, and inhibit bacterial growth.

 

You can smoke meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, pretty much anything you can think of.

 

Using Fat to Store Meat

This process is called a confit, and has been used since ancient times to preserve fatty cuts of meat. When salted meat was cooked slowly in a large pot and at a low temperature for a long time, the meat would eventually give out the fat.

 

The meat/fat mixture was allowed to cool in a crock – the fat would rise to the top, creating a barrier between the meat and the outside world. Stored in a cool area, the food could be preserved for months during the winter.

 

Dry Salting Meat

Like vegetables, meat can be preserved simply by surrounding it in salt. Our ancestors would slice meat into strips, then stack them between layers of salt, like lasagna.

 

The crock or barrel was then kept in a cool area, and meat removed as the family needed it. The salt kept moisture, bacteria, and bugs away.  

 

Preserving Dairy

Dairy was (and is) most commonly preserved by fermenting into cheeses or yogurt. Yogurt would be consumed fairly quickly, while cheeses could be wrapped or preserved in wax, and kept in a cool area.

 

When making cheese, salt is added to the curds to reduce moisture and then the curds pressed. After waxing, cheese could be stored for years.

 

Soft cheeses such as feta could be stored and preserved in oil for months – as long as the cheese was submerged, bacterial growth is slowed down.

 

Preserving Eggs

Eggs would be preserved by waterglassing or by putting fats or mineral oils on the eggshells. In this article, we show you how to preserve eggs!