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28 responses to “Drying Tomatoes Without an Oven”

  1. KAB

    Love the Silpat suggestion…now if my darn tomatoes would just get ripe I can actually try it out. And love Holly’s pix! Great work.

  2. Reggie

    The other advantage to the use of the garage rather than the sun is the lack of UV rays that might do more than simply discolor the food.
    In Southern France we dry hams in the shade at a fairly low temp.
    Hum, saucisson, dried tomatoes and homemade bread…

  3. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    always plenty of inspiration here Hank! I must admit to resort to my (electric) dehydrator. I do not have a garage (also have plenty of critters like… black bears), tried the green house but did not like the results. I do tomato confit too. That is fantastic, taste and texture-wise — looks similar to the “salami” tomatoes you talk about (except I use Italian type). I got the Terre Vivante book last winter… and I am having fun with it, although some of the stuff in there, i am not yet touching… For one, I don’t have a place which remains constantly under 50F which is what storage of some of the methods used in there require. But it is fascinating and mind-opening, for sure.

  4. adele

    I have a friend whose mother grows Romas, and she owns a dehydrator. Dried homegrown tomatoes are worth their weight in gold. :)

  5. mdmnm

    I’ve had good luck (here in a dry climate) with drying romas on racks made of cheesecloth and lath stacked every ten inches or so in a medium sized cardboard box warmed by a 100 watt light bulb. The extra heat from the bulb was apparently enough to keep the mold at bay.

  6. sarah

    tomato salami–genius. I’ve got way too many tomatoes on my hands, I’ll be drying some soon!

  7. Jennifer

    I was just told about your Awesome blog by a friend on Twitter. I am know following you. My question is, Do you think a metal shed would work for drying out the tomatoes? I dont have a garage.

  8. Buzzie

    What about peaches and an abundance of fog? Our tree is going to ripen soon in this murkiest of summers. I guess I’ll have to purchase a dehydrator.

  9. Maya

    I’ve been making my way through “Preserving Food…” for 2 years now. At first I was annoyed at the lack of specificity in many of the recipes, now I love it in that it reflects the real way we come up with and concoct new dishes..pinch here, dash there…Try the sauerkraut in glass jars. Dead easy and super tasty!

  10. Chris at Lost Arts Kitchen

    Hi Hank–I have my dehydrator loaded with my early ripening Stupices and grape-size Gold Nugget tomatoes right now. Most of them I just slice in half and lay skin-side down on the rack. I’m trying to dry some of the Gold Nuggets whole and see if I can get “tomato raisins.” During the recent heatwave here in Portland (temps in the 108 range for several days), I tried drying a batch on a basket outside, then in my car, covered with a sack cloth towel to prevent bleaching. Lost most to mold before I moved them to my dehydrator.

    If you haven’t already, try making roast tomato sauce. Just did a micro-batch (1 pint) yesterday and my mouth is watering just thinking about that little jar in my fridge. Amazing flavor, without days of cooking–just six hours in the oven at 250F–which did not heat up my kitchen. The sauce is chunky, which I don’t particularly like, but the beauty is you can roast different colored tomatoes in separate pans, then layer them in a jar with herbs for a pretty presentation. For myself, I’ll just whiz up the roasted tomatoes, garlic, and shallot with my immersion blender for a smoother sauce. Here’s the recipe from Grist: http://www.grist.org/article/2009-07-23-summer-tomato-bounty/

  11. Jennifer

    My question is after they are dried, do I just put them in a jar in the fridge or how much oil and what kind of oil do I preserve them in. Is there a particular method to saving and how long can they be stored? Thanks

  12. Jennifer

    Thanks so much for the tips! Making some today in my tin shed! Its pretty hot in there! Im looking forward to seeing how it works out!

  13. Deanna

    I am using a homemade solar dehydrator made from plans in Mother Earth News, it has 2- 200 watt bulbs in the bottom for heat at night. i started a big batch of tomatoes yesterday and today (mid day) there are several tomatoes with a white ?mold on them. Is this what you call black mold? any ideas of what to do for this.
    Thanks, Deanna

  14. Kerry

    I live in Auckland New Zealand and we have high humidity, does this mean it would not work to sun dry tomoatoes?

  15. Kerry

    Another question, Tomato Raisins how long would you put in dehydrater for and how can you tell they are perfectly dry. I imagine that if they weren’t completey dry they would rot??

    Thanks

  16. How to Dry Tomatoes

    i had been looking for an alternative method of drying tomatoes and keep them. thanks for the useful post..

  17. Jennifer (4bratz2luv)

    The Tin shed was a great idea for me. I did about 4 pounds or so of Romas and it took about 7 hours! They taste fabulous. Thanks for all your help with this process.

  18. John Dicus

    Nice job….
    I agree about keeping foods out of the sun. I’ve been doing some low tech cookie sheet drying in the sun, one sheet over the other with a small gap top and bottom to flow air. I was able to dry sliced cactus in 48 hours.
    I’ll be making a link from my blog to your site… useful information!

  19. wendy

    HELP. I have been so excited about drying tomatoes from the huge harvest in my garden but I think I have overdried them all. I have done some grape tomatoes and then yesterday two pans of romas, all dried in the oven. They are dark and crisp. Please tell me I can still use them. I am going to try again, watching much more closely for doneness. Suggestions?

  20. jennifer s

    I’ve been making that weird recipe from the preserving book. It’s an old recipe from Provence that require the tomatoes to ferment, dry and then get rolled into little balls and stuck in oil. THEY’RE GREAT! Tomato candy.

    The odd byproduct that I’ve grown to love (and acquired taste for sure) is the fermented tomato water that released as the tomatoes ferment in the sun. It’s a sweet, bubbly (and possibly very-slightly alcoholic) elixir. Everyone in my family looks at me cross-eyed, but it’s delish.

    A great recipe to try when the farmers (or you) have an abundance of ugly over-ripes. They give them to me for free—no tomato is too ripe for the recipe.

    Try it if you have some over-the-edge tomatoes.

  21. Marti W

    Hank,
    Using your outstanding information and a method borrowed from Alton Brown of the Food Network, I dried my first harvest. Living in SW Arizona the temperatures get very warm which helped with the method but isn’t necessary. In only 48 hours I had beautifully dried tomatoes with no mold issues in a small space.

    Per Alton, use a 20″ square box fan, 20″ square non-fiberglass pleated AC/furnace filters, non-stick dehydrator mesh mats, and 2 bungee cords. Prepare tomatoes as you describe. Stack a filter, dryer mesh, tomatoes, dryer mesh, and filter. Repeat until you finish with a filter. Bungee to box fan and lay flat on it’s back on a suitable elevated surface like a milk crate or some cinder blocks. Set fan to medium speed and forget it for two days. Cooler areas may require high speed as it is the air passage and not the heat that dehydrates.

    I’m glad I stumbled onto your site. It has a lot of information I’ll be using in the future.

  22. Chris B

    in Spain, drying tomatoes and of the four trays done two developed white mould, other two perfect any suggestions?

  23. Kenny

    I’m drying a pound of san marzano’s in a dehydrator. Overnight they developed some white mold on a some. I guess they will be alright when they are completely dried.

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