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Dehyrdating tomatoes

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I dehydrate tomatoes and lots of other food crops in an electric dehydrator, but if you live in an arid climate you can use a solar dehydrator instead.

Tomatoes are around 93 percent water, so even in an electric dehydrator they take a long time to dry.

This time of year you will hear a steady hum at my house, but it’s not the air conditioner.

The food dehydrator’s little fan spins hour after hour, generating the sweet aroma of drying tomatoes.

And cherries are usually so small, they dry out into hard-to-reconstitute little husks. Varieties like ‘Saucy Paste’, ‘Amish Paste’ and ‘San Marzano’ are some favorites, but select what you grow based on varieties known to perform best in your area. In hot, warm locales, you may have luck drying tomatoes in the sun or in a solar oven, but this method isn’t for most and may result in critters or rot getting your crop before it finishes drying. By adding a bit of herbs, spices and oil, the tomatoes will have a bit of added flavor when you reconstitute them later.

Paste tomatoes, on the other hand, generally contain little or no seed material. If you aren’t harvesting from your own garden, buy enough to make dehydrating worthwhile. Once you have your dehydrator in place and your tomato crop is rolling in, you’ll need to prepare your paste tomatoes for dehydrating. Try a making a seasoned batch and a plain batch to determine which works best for you.

They require very little in the way of safety processing, and it only takes a little room to store a lot of them.

Other than chicken food I really couldn’t think of much use for them. Try to get them flat and don’t layer them as they don’t dry well then.If you don't have a slicer like this, simply use a very sharp knife and make your slices as even as possible. Or use it to thicken up tomato based soups or stew. Just place dried tomatoes in a blender and blend until it is a powder.You may have to stop occasionally and scrape the sides but I've not had a problem with getting it all blended. Turn the jar upside down and leave it on the counter for a day or two. If you notice moisture, your tomatoes were not dry enough. If no moisture shows up, it is good to go on the shelf.Although just about any variety of tomato will dehydrate, paste tomatoes work best. At this point, you may choose to fill your dehydrator trays with the prepared tomatoes, flip it on and start the drying process.Slicers tend to be filled with seeds and juice, which is extracted before drying, leaving little “meat” to dehydrate. Or, you can toss the tomatoes with a few herbs, salt, a dash of sugar and a spoonful of olive oil first.If possible, try running your first batch starting in the morning on a day when you will be home to check it periodically.