Tomatoes are known to be seasonal fruits and globally grown from May through October with some minor variations in some regions. Easy to make, store, and use at home, sun drying tomatoes is a great idea for people especially for those who have a tomato garden. Let’s see how to make sun dried tomatoes at home using different methods.
You can easily use the sun-dried tomatoes up to seven months when stored under proper conditions.
Sundried tomatoes are used in pastas, salads, and countless other dishes where you desire a punch of intense tomato flavor.
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A nice idea is to chop them up and use it as an extra topping for traditional Caprese salad (aka tomato mozzarella salad).
What Are Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Sun-Dried Tomatoes are basically the dehydrated form of ripe tomatoes. On average, tomatoes are kept for 4-12 days for the sun-drying process to complete.
These dried tomatoes lose up to 88-93% of their initial gross weight. Hence you should dry them in bulk (roughly 12-14 average-sized ones make 1 ounce of sun-dried tomatoes) so that you get a good amount in the end.
There are varieties of tomatoes that you can opt for such as Cherry, Roma, Red Plum tomatoes, etc. Properly seasoned and processed tomatoes can make their way to n number of recipes.
4 Different Ways to Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes
We have for your a detailed guide as to how to make homemade sun-dried tomatoes. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow explaining each method in detail.
Drying Tomatoes in Sun
If you are looking for a classical homemade method to add that hint of tanginess to your recipes, keep reading. The steps to obtaining sun-dried tomatoes naturally are simple to follow.
Start with cutting the tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on the size.
- Remove as many seeds as you can by not disturbing the pulp.
- Prepare a seasoning mixture by adding oregano, basil, salt, and herbs. Add a pinch of this mixture on each of the cut tomatoes.
- Choose the weather for drying carefully. Remember, hot sunny weather with minimum humidity is the optimum condition for sun-drying tomatoes,
- Next, place them on a wooden tray preferably provided with netting at the bottom for efficient drying. Turn the cut side down on the tray. Leave this setup on a platform so that dehydration is facilitated by air circulation. Use a soft cloth for covering your setup so that sunlight can easily penetrate through it.
- After 2-3 days, flip the sides and observe their transformation until they become hard on the outside giving a cracker-like texture. Don’t leave them for a long time period nor withdraw early.
- Also, not every slice is going to dry at the same time, so stick by the setup patiently until you are satisfied with the results.
- In order to store them, you can spice it up with various flavors. Add one teaspoon of olive or piquant sauce along with a pinch of other ingredients like dried paprika, basil, or the seasoning master mix, etc. Finally, refrigerate.
How to Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Oven
If the traditional method sounds too time-consuming you can achieve the same results using an oven or microwave method or a dehydrator in a fraction of the time.
The best thing about the oven-dried ones is they can be prepared pretty fast. This makes the incubation time shorter as an average batch of sun-dried tomatoes takes 7-9 days.
Plum or Roma tomatoes are the best variants for oven-drying because of their uniform and sturdy shape. You can use cherry tomatoes too.
One tricky way to make them more flavorful is to dry them cut-side up. This helps the tomato juices to accumulate in the cavity and concentrate within the flesh itself.
- The recipe for oven-dried tomatoes starts with preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice the tomatoes and place them cut side up on a baking sheet greased with olive oil. Try baking towards the middle of your oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for another 1-1.5 hours. At this point, the tomatoes should be completely dried but pliable to some extent as well.
- Let the tomatoes cool down for 10 minutes and toss them with extra virgin olive oil, oregano and salt, and chopped garlic. Your perfect oven-dried tomatoes are all ready to be tasted. You can preserve these in olive oil by adding garlic and rosemary leaves for several months. Refrigeration is important for long-term preservation.
- This can be accomplished via a microwave too. All you need is to cook for 10 minutes in maximum power and squish the juice out with a fork after every round. Repeat this until you reach the perfect texture.
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Drying Tomatoes in Dehydrator
Tomatoes dried in dehydrator tastes similar to the sun-dried ones if made properly.
- You will require thinly sliced tomatoes for this method.
- After slicing them, place them evenly on the dehydrator rack. Many recipes might guide to blanch or peel the tomatoes but it makes the whole process complex and changes the texture of the tomatoes in general.
- Sprinkle oregano, salt, and pepper for that extra spicy flavor and switch on the desiccator. You need to dry the tomatoes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 hours.
- Turn them after 1 or 2 hours. They should be pliable and have nicely dried edges.
- Lastly, take them out, drizzle more olive oil, and voila! Your sun-dried tomatoes are ready. Store them if you want.
Drying Tomatoes in Air-Fryer
Air-fryer is a more convenient option than an oven or microwave for preparing dried tomatoes.
- You can make a batch of unsliced cherry or thinly sliced plum tomatoes.
- Keep them in the air-fryer chamber and switch it on at 200-230 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1 hour or until the tomatoes become dried completely yet retaining slight softness on the inside to ensure the pliant nature.
- You can store them in a jar topped with olive oil and dried chili flakes, kosher salt and pepper followed by refrigeration.