Drying Tomatoes: This Is How It Works Without a Dehydrator

As antipasti, on pizza, or in pasta sauce: sun-dried tomatoes taste delicious and give many dishes a fruity, aromatic note. You don’t have to buy the vegetables ready-made, you can simply dry the tomatoes yourself. That’s how it’s done.

Cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, or large beefsteak tomatoes: the red fruits come in numerous shapes, sizes and flavors. But they not only taste delicious when they are fresh, they are also a culinary delight when dried.

We show a simple recipe on how to dry tomatoes yourself and reveal which varieties are best suited for this. The practical thing: If you make dried tomatoes yourself and don’t buy them, you save on plastic or glass packaging and have a great opportunity for recycling if you were able to bring in a lush tomato harvest.

Tomatoes dry in the oven

In a dehydrator, dried tomatoes are easy and reliable, but you don’t have to buy a new kitchen appliance if you want to dry tomatoes yourself. It also works well in the oven.

Ingredients for dried tomatoes

1 kg of ripe tomatoes
coarse sea salt
Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary, basil, and thyme
depending on preference: 5 to 10 cloves of garlic
That’s how it’s done:

Wash and halve the tomatoes and place cut-side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
If you use fresh herbs: chop them finely. Thinly slice the garlic.
Coarsely sprinkle the halved tomatoes with the sea salt and herbs and cover them with the garlic slices.
Place the tomatoes in the oven at 80°C for six hours. Important: Stick a cooking spoon in the door so that the moisture can escape.

Dry tomatoes in the sun?

In southern Italy, tomatoes are traditionally dried in the sun. Unfortunately, the sun does not always have the strength to dry the red fruits sufficiently. However, you can try it on several hot summer days in a row.

Follow these steps:

Wash the tomatoes and halve them or cut large tomatoes into slices about a centimeter thick.
Salt and season the fruit as above and place cut-side down on a baking rack.
Put the grid in a sunny and airy place and, if possible, put a fly screen over it.
Turn the tomatoes every few hours and let them dry for about three days total. The fruit is ready when it looks wrinkled and has shriveled up.

Are all tomatoes suitable for drying?

In principle, you can use all types of tomatoes for drying. However, some varieties are particularly suitable: plum tomatoes have quite firm flesh and a thin skin and are therefore easy to dry. Smaller tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes, dry faster and taste pleasantly sweet.

Tips for dried tomatoes

A dehydrator is not necessary, but it uses less energy than the oven. If you dry tomatoes or fruit regularly, the purchase can be worthwhile. Tip: You might be able to borrow a dehydrator.
If you remove the core and juice, the tomatoes will dry faster.
You can store dried tomatoes for several months in a cool, dark cellar.
If you put the sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, they will last even longer.
Filled in mason jars and decorated with olive oil, a sprig of rosemary, and a clove of garlic, the tomatoes also make a great gift.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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