With the growing season quickly coming to a close, I’ve got a glut of San Marzano tomatoes right now. Seems like the perfect time to try sun-drying them.
After reading this beautifully photographed process of making sun-dried tomatoes a few weeks back, I really wanted to go the sun-dried route. But since the weather has cooled significantly here, I turned to my dehydrator instead.
I grow San Marzanos specifically for recipes like this one. They are a thick-skinned tomato with few seeds, ideal for where you’re not using the tomatoes raw.
Any variety of plum tomatoes, such as Roma, can be substituted, though. I started with about 30 tomatoes, sliced in half and sprinkled with sea salt…
…and I dehydrated my tomatoes at 105°F. This is the temperature at which the enzymes are best preserved; this temperature also mimics a very hot day. It takes a while to completely dry the tomatoes at 105°F…around 36 hours.
If you set your dehydrator to a higher temperature, like 150°F, it will of course take less time. You could also use an oven, set to 180°F, and it will take about 8 hours.
When they are ready, package your tomatoes up for storage. Keep them in a glass jar (or a zip lock bag with the air pushed out), and they should last for several months. For longer-term storage, keep bags of these in the refrigerator or freezer.
I personally like to keep my dehydrated tomatoes in a tightly capped jar, covered with olive oil.
When stored this way, dried tomatoes will last quite a long time at room temperature, so you can enjoy them throughout the colder months. As you spoon out and use the tomatoes, add more oil to the jar so the remaining tomatoes stay covered.
If you choose not to store your tomatoes in olive oil, you will need to soak them in water for an hour or two before using them. Dried tomatoes that have been re-hydrated (or dried tomatoes packed in oil) are wonderful when blended into dressings or pesto. I also love them when chopped and added to pastas, breads, frittatas, and quiches.
How to Make and Store Dried Tomatoes
- Food Dehydrator
- 30 tomatoes San Marzano are ideal, otherwise choose Roma or another plum tomato
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and sprinkle with sea salt.
- Place tomatoes in food dehydrator and set the temperature to 105 degrees farenheight. Allow tomatoes to completely dry for around 36 hours.
- Place dried tomatoes in a glass jar or plastic bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Alternatively, store completely dry tomatoes in a tightly capped jar and cover with olive oil.
This post was originally published in September 2010 and has been updated.