Tomatoes Galore in Your Garden? Dehydrate ‘Em!

Reader Contribution by Susan Gast
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 Image from Easy Food Dehydrating

Tomatoes Galore in Your Garden? Dehydrate ‘Em!

If you love fresh tomatoes and you’re going out daily to pick ‘em before they rot, then ease the situation by dehydrating the tomatoes before they get a chance to spoil. After you’ve dehydrated your tomatoes, consider grinding them into a powder. You can then use this rich, (and strong) tomato powder to make your own spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce.

Let’s not forget tomato soup. One of my fondest memories as a kid was popping down the street for lunch and enjoying a bowl of tomato soup with my friend, Gillian. The best memories are most often the simplest, right?

Let’s Get Busy Dehydrating Tomatoes

Wash and slice your tomatoes evenly. Aim for 3/8-inch slices. If you wish to skin your tomatoes first, dip them in boiling water — it makes skin removal much easier! If you’re going to dehydrate cherry tomatoes, all you have to do is cut them in half after washing them.

1. Arrange your tomato slices on your dehydrator trays (or halves, cut side facing up so they won’t “leak” down onto the trays below). Try not to have overlap the tomatoes.

2. Set the dehydrator between 125 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit (or per your food dehydrator’s instructions).

3. Look for leathery and/or brittle tomatoes when they’re fully dried. This can take between five to 12 hours, depending on the sizes of your tomatoes.

One of our Easy Food Dehydrating friends, Mj, wrote in to the site to say that she puts her dehydrated tomatoes through her grinder. She goes on to say, “I found it is a cheater’s way of thickening tomato juice for soup and sauces, and I find that not cooking my juice down to a sauce and just adding a little tomato powder has ten-fold the flavor.”

Mj went on to make jars of “All Michigan Vegetable Soup” as holiday gifts for her friends. They loved it and they all wanted to know, “Where did the awesome tomato flavor come from?” Mj told them it was her little secret. Now the cat is out the bag. Enjoy!

If you’re hunting for a great tomato sauce recipe, try this tomato sauce by Chef John. His recipe is featured over at Allrecipes.com

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Since December of 2010, Susan Gast has operated Easy Food Dehydrating, a website dedicated to dehydrating fresh fruits and vegetables, and cooked meats. Susan teaches you how to safely store your goodies, too, for long-term food storage. Keep your pantry full — whatever the reason or season!


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