13 Best Winter Vegetables To Grow: Ultimate Guide

13 Best Winter Vegetables To Grow: Ultimate Guide

What are the best winter vegetables to grow?

 

This year, we purchased a 10 foot by 12 foot greenhouse just so we can grow more vegetables in the colder months here in Southeast Missouri.

Just because the days are getting shorter and the temperatures are dropping, it doesn’t mean that you have to set your gardening gloves aside. Winter isn’t just a time to dream wistfully of the bountiful harvests of summer – it’s also a great time to plan for the year ahead, as well as to jumpstart your garden for next year. 

There are plenty of winter vegetables to grow, particularly if you live in an area that experiences mild winters. Even if you live in an area with more severe weather, there are plenty of ways to keep your garden growing throughout the coldest months of winter. 

The 13 Best Winter Vegetables to Grow 

1. Onions

Onions are easy to plant and you won’t have to do anything all winter. In most areas, onions have a long growing season and won’t be ready for harvest until next summer anyway. Just make sure you plan carefully because they will still be in the ground when it’s time to begin planting crops in the spring. 

2. Garlic

Garlic is an easy vegetable to grow and there are plenty of varieties to choose from. Even if you experience harsh winters, garlic can survive – you will just need to mulch it heavily to protect it from the heavy freeze. Consider growing options like Chesnok Red and Wight Cristo for a variety of culinary applications. You can learn how to grow garlic here and how to store garlic here.

3. Spinach

Spinach is a cold-hardy crop that can grow throughout much of the winter months in many areas. For the best results, choose perpetual spinach varieties, which will yield you multiple cuttings throughout the season. Sow in the early autumn and you’ll have a crop well into early summer. 

4. Peas

You may not be able to grow peas if you get a heavy snowfall, but in most cases, peas are quite cold hardy. Sow rounded variants in the fall for a headstart next spring. You can also learn how to preserve peas here.

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is a perennial and takes several years to establish. It can survive even the roughest winters in colder growing zones, and fall is the best time to plant it. Choose a variety meant to be planted in the fall, like Pacific Purple. Once you get it established, asparagus will produce up to 25 spears per year – for up to 25 years. You will need to be patient, but you will get a serious return on your investment. 

6. Parsley

One of the hardiest herbs you’ll find, parsley can sometimes survive up to zone 5 in the winter. It will yield bushy greens in the spring before going to spring. Curly parsley tends to be more frost-resistant than flat-leaf parsley.

7. Carrots

Carrots can be grown outside well into the winter months in many areas. Plant them directly in beds and mulch heavily. Carrots that are hit with a frost are often sweeter, so it may actually be to your benefit to keep growing them throughout the colder months. 

8. Leeks

Leeks are inexpensive and produce a bountiful harvest. You can harvest them throughout the year and as long as you have a mild winter, you don’t have to worry about them dying. 

9. Turnips

Turnips grow great during the winter months. As long as temperatures remain just above freezing, you should be able to harvest both the roots and the tops during the winter months. 

10. Leafy Greens

Kale, along with other cold-hardy leafy greens such as chard, lettuce, and bok choy, usually do just fine in the cold temperatures of the winter. You can usually harvest them straight through the winter months (and they’re great for chickens). 

In fact, most greens perform better in the winter. In the summer, these plants often go right to seed. Just don’t forget to water and fertilize when growing greens during the winter – even though they won’t need as much water, the drying air of winter can still sometimes be a problem. 

11. Potatoes

Depending on where you live, you might be able to grow potatoes all throughout the winter months. Although it’s not the best winter vegetables to grow, the potato is still a great option if you experience minimal snowfall. Learn more about growing potatoes in containers here and curing potatoes here.

12. Radishes 

Radishes mature quickly, with some varieties ready in just a month from when you have seeded them. They also don’t need a lot of heat – too much heat damages the texture and flavor of delicate radishes – so they’re perfect candidates for winter growing. 

13. Broad Beans

A sturdier variety of green beans, broad beans can often be planted in fall gardens because they are heartier and more rugged than their narrower cousins. These plants can be grown directly in the winter garden in many areas with mild winters, or they can be grown in an unheated greenhouse. 

Tips for Growing Vegetables in the Winter Months 

Use a Hoop House or Greenhouse

Growing winter vegetables outdoors might be possible in areas that don’t experience hard freezes or heavy snowfall, but if you live in a colder climate, that might not be an option. However, if you have a greenhouse or hoop house (a greenhouse covered in plastic instead of glass, you can easily grow some plants throughout the entire season. Here are some plants to consider:

  • Salad mixes (mustard, lettuce, land cress, etc)
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Thyme 
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes

You can even grow many flowers and fruits in your greenhouse, too!

If you have a greenhouse, you can choose to leave it heated or unheated. Some warm-weather plants, like tomatoes, peppers, and squash can even be grown during the winter months, too. As long as you heat the greenhouse and transfer these plants to pots, you may be able to get them well into the next growing season. 

Consider a Cold Frame 

Cold frames are a great way to extend your growing season, even if you live in a colder growing zone like 3 or 4. Essentially miniature greenhouse over your plants, cold frames can be purchased dor built inexpensively from scrap lumber and glass. 

Just be sure to vent your cold frames, as too much heat can become an enemy to plants in the winter even more quickly than too much cold can. Trapping too much hot air inside can not only dry your plants out but it can also conversely lead to fungal issues should too much moisture also get in there. 

Don’t have the time or resources to buy or build your own cold frame? Don’t worry. You can easily construct a DIY version by positioning hay bales on all sides of a planting bed and then covering the area between with old windows. 

Don’t Forget About Dormant Plants

Some plants might not actually grow during the winter months, but they won’t die back, either. They will simply remain dormant until the temperatures rise and growth can resume. Consider planting a winter vegetable garden in the late summer or early fall so that the vegetables have time to get established before they go dormant.

Mulch 

Mulching can help protect your crops from becoming too dry or frozen. It will also keep the soil warmer when temperatures plummet. Consider using mulch materials like straw or dried leaves, which will help nourish the soil as they break down, too. 

Do a Deep Clean

Even if you have a long list of winter vegetables to grow, that doesn’t mean you can neglect your normal fall planting chores. Cut away any dead foliage and make sure you throw out any diseased or damaged plants. This will prevent rot and also stop pest eggs from proliferating. 

Know Which Plants to Bring Inside

Indoor gardening is a great option for many gardeners who can’t keep things going during the winter months, either due to extreme temperatures and precipitation or because they simply don’t want to garden outside during the winter. 

Many plants can be grown inside in containers. Cold-sensitive plants like tomatoes and peppers are great candidates for this, as are many herbs. 

Protect from Frost and Wind

You can’t control when a frost might strike, but you can take steps to protect your plants. Cover frost-sensitive varieties up with blankets, sheets, or row covers that are draped over stakes. This will help get them through brief cold snaps at the very least. You can also consider heating your greenhouse.

Select Ideal Varieties

Try a variety of crops to see what works best for you, keeping your growing zone and gardening preference in mind. You might also want to experiment a bit with timing to see what planting schedule and rhythms work. Put in new crops whenever you see an empty space and save seeds when you find varieties that perform exceptionally well in your area. 

Why You Should Consider the Best Winter Vegetables to Grow

Winter gardening is a great way to keep the garden going all year long. Not only will it help satisfy your green thumb urges during the colder months of the year, but it will also provide you with plenty of healthy vegetables at a time when they are normally scarce on your dinner plate. 

Plus, growing vegetables in the winter is surprisingly easy. They will naturally grow a bit slower, but you’ll have fewer weeds to contend with. You may not even need to water much between mid-November and mid-February! 

You can start with this list of best vegetables to grow in winter. Try lots of crops to see what works best for you – perhaps start with just one this year and add more varieties as you gain experience. Stay warm!

What Can Chickens Eat In Your Garden? Planning a Chicken Garden for All Seasons: Spring

What Can Chickens Eat In Your Garden? Planning a Chicken Garden for All Seasons: Spring

What can chickens eat in your garden? Well, plenty. But you have to grow something first! And luckily, this article will show you everything you can grow as treats for your backyard chickens and ducks!

I’ve invited my friend Julia of ReformStead.com to tell us how she transforms her garden into a chicken garden each year! Growing fruits and veggies for your chickens is easy – and it’s a great way to provide fresh produce to your flock!

Planting a Chicken Garden In Spring

Planting a garden is a great way to provide an abundance of fresh, healthy food for your backyard chicken flock. It’s easy to add some of your chicken’s favorites to the garden and grow them alongside your family’s vegetables.  All you have to do is harvest and feed them to your chickens once they are ripe. As a bonus, this can help you save money on your chicken’s feed bill. With a little planning, you can do your best to provide your flock with access to these fresh fruits and vegetables year-round.

What can chickens eat with tomatoes and hens

What Can Chickens Eat In Your Garden?

How to Plan & Grow a Seasonal Garden for Your Chickens

Planning a garden for your chickens doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a good idea to have something green, or fresh, for them year-round. Pasture grass can serve this purpose during warmer seasons, however extra produce is still good for them in addition to pasture.

It’s also good to keep in mind that your chickens lay more eggs when the weather is nice, and that’s usually when you’ll harvest the most fresh vegetables. Greens high in omega-3’s, herbs, and any fresh garden produce is especially good to feed your chickens during this time (you can find a complete list of alternative feed for chickens here).

If you’re wondering “What can chickens eat from the garden,” in the following lists, I’ve focused on produce that your chickens will love best and that are easy to grow. However, don’t forget “weeds” like purslane, mallow, dandelion, and many more are great for chickens. Make sure to harvest these “weed” greens for them too as you find them in your garden this year.  Before we get to the list though, let’s talk about what chickens can eat, and what they should avoid.  

What Garden Produce Do Chickens Eat?

It is important to know what chickens can and cannot eat before you plan your garden. Chickens can eat practically anything, within reason. For starters, here’s a list of 107 things a chicken can eat. There are a few plants/foods you’ll want to avoid growing for your chickens.

Not advisable for chickens:

  • Rhubarb
  • Tomato & Eggplant Leaves (tomato fruits are fine)
  • Raw Potatoes & Green Potato Skins
  • Uncooked dry Beans & Rice
  • Onions and peppers aren’t going to be their favorites either

However, there is some debate over whether or not some of these are really bad for chickens. You can read more details in my article, 11 Things Not to Feed Chickens, where I go into this subject in more detail.

What to Grow & When for Your Chickens: Spring

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zones 3-4

Last frost date (average): May 15th

April

Start Indoors:

Start Outside:

  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Radishes (chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Plant fruit trees/shrubs

(Chickens love fallen mulberries and they drop tons of fruit–good for the chickens, but make sure to plant away from walkways and living areas. Figs, elderberries, and blackberries are also good options.)

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

Start Indoors:

  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Dill

Start Outside:

  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Carrots
  • Radishes (chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale

After the last frost, you can transplant seedlings out (after hardening them off) and plant squash, melons, tomatoes, basil, dill, etc., from seed.

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

Transplant seedlings

  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Pretty much all herbs

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zones 5-7

Last frost date (average): April 15th

April

Start Indoors:

  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Rosemary (potted)

Start Outside:

  • Basil
  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Carrots (Plant early in the month. chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes (chickens will eat leaves & root)
  • Plant fruit trees/shrubs (Chickens love fallen mulberries, figs, elderberries, blackberries and more.)
  • After last frost set out transplants, and continue to plant warm loving crops from seed (squash, melons, corn, etc.)
  • Rosemary (potted)

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

Start Outside:

  • Beets (chickens will eat leaves & root if you cook it for them.)
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Squash
  • Radishes
  • Rosemary (Potted)
  • Tomatoes
  • Melons
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Basil
  • Pretty much all herbs

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

Start Outside:

  • Tomatoes (potted)
  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Herbs

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zone 8

Last frost date (average): March 15th

April

Plant outdoors:

  • Corn
  • Melons
  • Tomatoes (learn to grow tomatoes here)
  • Squash
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Pretty much all herbs
  • Rosemary 

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Tomatoes

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Chicken Gardening by Month: Zone 9

Last frost date (average): February 15th

(These are some of the slowest months for planting in zone 9–things are just too hot out. However, even these few plants will help your chickens a lot as we wait until the cooler months come again.)

April

  • Basil
  • Corn
  • Muskmelons
  • Radishes
  • Rosemary (Potted. I like to plant it by their coop, protect it the first few years until established and then let them eat it and enjoy the shade–they love the plant!)
  • Squash

Find out what else to plant in April here.

May

  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Moringa (I have this planted behind our chicken coop. I imagine they eat the leaves, but I know they love to hang out back there in the shade. This is a more tropical plant are requires warmth with little to no frost. It grows great in our zone 9, and it would do well in zone 10. Very easy to grow from seed.)
  • Muskmelons

Find out what else to plant in May here.

If you want to buy produce at the farmers market, here’s what’s in season.

June

  • Basil
  • Muskmelons
  • Start tomato seeds indoors for fall
  • Moringa

Find out what else to plant in June here

Find a list of what’s in season at the farmer’s market here.

Julia Hubler lives in Arizona on two and a half acres, with HOT summers, lots of cacti and amazing sunsets! A sinner saved by grace first and foremost, she is also a homeschool graduate living with her family at home and serving the King, Jesus Christ, above all. She blogs at ReformStead.com about everything homesteading. You can also follow her on Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/reformstead/ , Instagram https://www.instagram.com/reformstead/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/reformstead/ .

Still wonder “what can chickens eat in your garden?” Probably not – there’s so many options! Have fun planting your chicken garden this spring!

Gluten-Free Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

Gluten-Free Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

Although we’re still waiting for our tomatoes to come in, I know by August, we’re going to be looking for ways to use them up, and I’m sure you are too!

 

That’s why I’ve invited Alix and Hugo from A Hedgehog In The Kitchen to share another recipe with us!

 

I know a lot of you are gluten-free, and this recipe is super yummy, so I know you’ll love it!

 

Quinoa stuffed tomatoes

 

Gluten-Free Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

 

The sun is out, the birds are chirping and the streets of Paris are bright with the color of fresh heirloom tomatoes in every vegetable stall. This is the perfect moment of the year to make our favorite quinoa stuffed tomatoes! (Added bonus: this recipe is entirely gluten-free and bursting with flavor.)

 

Heirloom tomatoes are my absolute favorites. They are naturally gorgeous; some of the prettiest food in my opinion. I wait for them each year and buy them immediately when they start to line the fruit and vegetables stalls on our local market street: the Rue des Martyrs. Have you been to Paris?

 

Maybe one day we will have a lush garden growing so many heirloom tomatoes that we will just pop outside and gather them into a delightful little basket before bringing them into our kitchen and using them to make these juicy quinoa stuffed tomatoes. (A girl can dream!)

 

If you are growing heirloom tomatoes (or any large tomato), this recipe is a great way to use them. It’s entirely gluten-free, stuffed with quinoa, chickpeas and corn, healing turmeric and tasty Herbes de Provence spices. Everything is topped off with a balsamic vinegar glaze.

 

If you are interested in eating gluten-free, we have put together a whole week of tasty gluten-free dinner recipes for you. You can grab your free GF meal plan here.

 

Quinoa stuffed tomatoes

 

One of our favorite ingredients in this recipe is the turmeric. Turmeric is a super spice. It’s naturally anti-inflammatory, keeps your brain healthy, helps reduce arthritis symptoms, wards off depression and even delays aging.

 

It also adds beautiful flavor and color to this recipe. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of cooking with spices and how to incorporate them into your meals, get our free spice guide here.

 

This recipe is quick and simple to pull together. Just prepare the ingredients, stuff the tomatoes and put them in the oven. Your kids will love them too. You can serve them alone or on a bed of lettuce.

 

We made 2 stuffed tomatoes for a dinner at home à deux, but you could definitely double the quantities and make the recipe for a family of 4.

 

QUINOA STUFFED TOMATOES (GLUTEN-FREE)

For 2 people / preparation time : 10 minutes / Cook time: 45 minutes 

1/2 cup of quinoa
2 heirloom tomatoes (or other large tomatoes)
1 tsp of turmeric
2 tbsp of chickpeas
2 tbsp of corn
1 tsp of Herbes de Provence 
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Prepare the quinoa according the instructions on the packet. 
Remove the top of each tomato and put aside. 
Set the juice aside. 
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Mix the quinoa with the tomato juice you put aside, corn, chickpeas, Herbes de Provence spices, black pepper, olive oil and turmeric. 
Stuff the tomatoes with the quinoa, corn and chickpea mixture and put them in the oven for 30 minutes. 
Heat 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar in a pan on medium heat for 2 minutes. 
Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes. 

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Have you tried this recipe? How did you like it? Leave a comment below!

Here’s What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market This Month: July

Here’s What To Buy At The Farmer’s Market This Month: July

Throughout my experiences with gardening and working at a farm, I’ve learned that not everyone understands what fruits and vegetables are in season.

When I worked for a local farmer, I was asked many times if we had locally grown corn. In January. Now in somewhere that’s warm year round that might fly, but where I live it’s a little bit to cold for local corn in January;)

 

Each month I’m writing an article about what fruits and vegetables are in season during that month. Obviously this will vary depending on where you live, so this is a very general guide of what might be in season in your area and what you should look for when you head out to your local farmers market.

 

Eating locally grown food supports local farmers and it tastes SOOO GOOD!

Since this is a general guide, I recommend that you check out The Seasonal Food Guide. All you have to do is put in your zip code and the time of year and it will tell you exactly what foods are in season in your area! It’s an awesome resource that I use all of the time.

 

I always try to cook meals based around the foods that are season, so I’ve also included recipes for each fruit or vegetable that’s in season this month.

Alright so let’s get going! Here’s what you should buy at the farmer’s market in July!

 

July is one of my favorite months because of all of the fresh local food. In my area, July is when farmer’s markets really get going and there’s a farmer’s market going on somewhere almost every day. July is awesome because of all of the yummy fresh fruits and veggies are getting started! There’s nothing better than a locally grown watermelon on the Fourth of July (check out my favorite Fourth of July recipes here).

 

Corn

 

Oh corn. It’s one of my absolute favorite things about summer. There’s nothing better than some delicious corn on the cob. I love corn on the cob so much that I actually freeze my corn on the cob (in the husk!) so I can still eat corn on the cob once it’s out of season!

I take my leftover corn on the cob and use it to make my own corn syrup. I know, I know, corn syrup isn’t great for you, but especially if you make your own candy sometimes it’s necessary. And making your own is way better than buying the processed stuff from the store. Check out my guide on how to make your own corn syrup.

 

Grilling corn on the cob tastes AMAZING! Check out this awesome recipe for the BEST grilled corn on the cob ever!

 

Cucumbers

Cucumbers might be my favorite vegetable ever. They’re just SOO good! Now in my area cucumbers start showing up at the end of July or the beginning of August and that means it’s time to make some homemade pickles. I love pickling vegetables and you can check out some of my favorite recipes here. Also check out this quick and easy homemade pickles recipe!

 

Eggplants

 

Now eggplants are something that I don’t have a lot of experience with. But I’m dying to try them out! I’ll definitely be picking a couple up this month at the farmer’s market so I can try out this amazing baked eggplant parmesan recipe!

Plums

 

Plums are in season in July! I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with plums. I love eating them raw, but I’m dying to try this plum crisp recipe. It looks like the perfect dessert for a summer night!

 

Tomatoes

 

If you’re lucky, tomatoes should start popping up in your farmer’s market in July, usually later in the month. In my area they don’t start showing up until August, but I’ve found a farmer who grows early tomatoes in his greenhouse, so I can fulfil my fresh tomato cravings until the plants in my garden start producing;)

 

I LOVE tomatoes and I wish I could have them all year long! One great way to preserve some of your fresh tomatoes is to dry them! Dried tomatoes add an amazing burst of flavor to meals, so I love having them around. Check out my tips on how to dry your own tomatoes here!

I’m dreaming of eating fresh tomatoes right now, but come August I’ll probably be drowning in them. I love this Quinoa Stuffed Tomato Recipe because it’s DELICIOUS and it’s gluten-free.

 

And since I’m a tomato fanatic I also make my own homemade tomato sauce so that I can have tomatoes all year long.

 

Summer Squash

 

Summer squash is in season in July! Honestly, y’all probably don’t even need to buy these from the farmer’s market. Wait until yellow squash and zucchini are producing like crazy and your neighbors will be practically begging you to take some of their squash;) I love summer squash and it’s an easy plant to grow especially for busy people (because it doesn’t take a lot of work and it’s very productive).

 

Got more zucchini on your hands than you can handle? Try out this easy zucchini and parmesan soup. It’s so easy to make and it’s a great way to use up your extra zucchini.

 

Watermelon

 

Depending on your area, you might be able to get watermelon in late July! The second I see fresh watermelon at the farmers market I buy A LOT because my family can go through watermelon fast! I’m a huge watermelon fan and it’s the perfect treat for a hot summer day. Check out this amazing watermelon sherbet recipe that’s sure to help you cool off after a long day out in the heat.

 

Mint

 

I LOVE herbs and mint is one of my absolute favorite herbs to use for chickens. I use it with lavender to stimulate laying (I sell dried peppermint in the store here), and I use it as a natural fly repellant. I also use it for when I have an upset stomach. I chew on mint leaves or I’ll infuse it in my tea using my tea infuser. It works wonders at settling down an upset stomach!

Green Beans

 

I’ll admit I was never a fan of green beans growing up. We had the canned ones from the grocery store and honestly, they’re just gross. Then I tried fresh green beans and man they are so good!

 

This roasted green beans with parmesan recipe looks amazing! I’m so excited to try it out once green beans start showing up at my local farmers market!

 

Peppers

 

I LOVE peppers. Mostly because I love chips and salsa way more than I should. Homemade salsa is amazing and fresh, locally-grown peppers make it even better. Check out this quick and easy homemade salsa recipe for a yummy side dish for your next barbecue.

Do you eat locally grown food from the farmers market? I’d love to hear about it! Share what you bought at the farmer’s market this month in the comments below!

 

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.