How drying preserves food
Bacteria and germs in food need moisture to develop. Certain microbes contaminate food, while others might cause illness. Drying food eliminates moisture from the food, preventing bacteria from growing. Drying produces a hard outer layer, which aids in the prevention of microbes from entering the food. Drying extends the shelf life of food by slowing down natural enzymes that make our food soft, mushy and yucky!
Drying concentrates the flavor adding richness to recipes. Dried tomatoes are a simple snack that go well with pizza, bruschetta, and pasta sauces.
Selecting tomatoes and drying method
The finest dried tomatoes are plum, oval, or pear-shaped Italian, Roma, or paste tomatoes.
The best choice for drying tomatoes is a food dehydrator. With Minnesota’s high summer humidity levels, sun or air drying is not an option. Oven drying tomatoes is possible, but it may take up to 40 hours and is not advised.
How to dry tomatoes in a food dehydrator
Step 1: Choose firm, ripe tomatoes
Keep tomatoes that are ready to be dried at room temperature. The tart acid flavor is lost if tomatoes are refrigerated.
Step 2: Wash tomatoes under running water
The water temperature should be at least 10 degrees higher than the tomatoes. Scrub with a clean hands or a soft cloth.
Step 3: Prepare tomatoes for drying
You have the option of drying with or without the skin. Steam or immerse for 30 seconds in hot water to remove the skin. Chill in icy water before peeling. Remove the stem and core from the middle. Plum tomatoes may be cut into 14 to 12 thick slices, halved, or quartered. Put tomatoes cut side up on trays, allowing a 12 inch gap between them.
Step 4: Dry in a dehydrator
Dry in a dehydrator set at 140 F. Place tomatoes on drying trays cut-side-up. Let 10 to 18 hours for drying. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
Step 5: Test for dryness
They should easily bend in half and not break or stick when folded. Take the dried tomatoes out of the dehydrator. Continue to dry sticky or damp tomatoes. Rotate racks and turn tomatoes.
Step 6: Store in bags
Dry tomatoes should be stored in airtight freezer bags. Freeze or store in a cold (60 F) dark area. Be careful to squeeze the air out of the bags. Use within 6 to 9 months for the best quality.
Step 7: Eat and enjoy
It is not required to rehydrate. Add dried tomatoes directly to sauces, soups, pizza or your favorite recipe.
What kind of tomatoes are best for sundried?
Sun-dried tomatoes may be made using Roma, San Marzano, or smaller grape or cherry tomatoes. Without their moisture, their flavor is amplified, boosting the taste of a dish. In the sunlight. Using the sun is the classic way to dry tomatoes like they once did on the rooftops of southern Italy.
What are the best tomatoes for preserving?
Slicing tomatoes such as Brandywine, Beefsteak and Big Red are the most commonly preserved, while Roma tomatoes are another excellent choice — all are meaty varieties with thick walls and small seed sacks. Heirloom tomatoes are OK, but since they have a greater water content, they may have a watery taste when canned.
Can you use any tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes?
Most people start with Roma tomatoes because they have fewer seeds and a greater flesh-to-seed ratio, but you may use any variety of tomato, including cherry types. Whichever kind you pick, make sure the tomatoes are of the same size so they dry at the same pace.
Are San Marzano tomatoes good for drying?
San Marzano tomatoes are ideal for drying due to their rectangular shape and meaty texture.