Sun dried tomatoes are a great treat. You can buy sun-dried tomatoes or dry tomatoes yourself should you have access to a bumper crop. Either way, you can enjoy the rich, musky flavor of a sun dried tomato all year round.
Where to Buy Sun Dried Tomatoes
You should be able to find dehydrated tomatoes in your local health-oriented grocery store. However, if you are shopping online, we recommend that you buy from the “Mother Ship” of the sun dried tomato world — Just Tomatoes. This company has a long history and a reputation for an excellent product (as you can see from our second video). These are dried in a dehydrator — a popular method of drying. However, here we describe the process for drying them in the heat of the summer outside.
Making Your Own
To make your own, watch the sun dried tomatoes video on YouTube or follow the instructions below.
Homemade Sun Dried Tomatoes Steps
- Select tomatoes that have a high sugar content and dense meat. You do not want to dry tomatoes that have a lot of seed and juice. Romas or paste tomatoes usually work well. I continue to experiment with different tomatoes to find some fine heirlooms like Purple Russian that dry really well. If you think you have found a good candidate for drying, try drying a dozen to see how they perform. If your results are not good, you have risked only a few tomatoes.
- If the tomatoes are dirty or dusty, wash them well and allow them to dry thoroughly.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and lay them out to dry with the cut side up. As the tomato half dries, it forms a little saucer that keeps the juices in. This saucer action is part of what makes the tomato taste so intense in the finished product.
- Set the tomatoes on the trays of an electric dehydrator or on the plastic-wrap-covered surface of something you have set up in the sun. I use a piece of plywood set up on sawhorses. I have also dried tomatoes on our flat roof.
- If you are drying outside, find the sunniest, warmest spot on your property for your drying project.
- For best results, get the tomatoes out early in the day so they will skin over before dark. The dry skin in top keeps your project from being so interesting to winged and crawling things.
- Check the tomatoes every couple of days. Your drying time will vary depending on your temperatures, the length of the day, and the size of your tomato. If the tomatoes start looking dark brown, move them to a spot with a little less sun. When the tomatoes are very leathery, bring them in.
You may be tempted to store your sun dried tomatoes in an air-tight container in a cool place but you will save them longer if you freeze them or store them in olive oil. If you have dried a bounty of tomatoes, you may want to try both storage methods to give you some variety.
To freeze your sun dried tomatoes, simply place them in a gallon-size freezer bag and place them in the freezer. The should remain fairly loose from one another allowing you to pull a handful out as you need them.
Storing your tomatoes in olive oil and placing it in the refrigerator is a great option as well. You can simply place the entire tomato in olive oil or follow the instructions in the sun dried tomato video below to process your tomatoes before adding them to the oil. This method provides you with an exceptional tomato paste that you can use in soups and sauces.