Drying Cherry Tomatoes

Update: If canning/preserving is your “thing” be sure to visit my new growing, canning, and preserving site at Seed to Pantry. I’ll be adding new canning/preserving tips and techniques on a regular basis!

If you have ever grown cherry tomatoes, you know that they can overtake your whole garden! As a glutton for punishment, this year I planted 4 (yes, 4) different kinds of cherry tomatoes. So I have about 10 cherry tomato plants. None of my other tomatoes are doing much this year, but the cherry tomatoes are growing like weeds. Luckily I love dried tomatoes. And no dried tomato is as sweet as a dried cherry tomato. In the past I dried paste tomatoes, but this year it’s cherry tomatoes only.

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I started with about 12 cups of tomatoes. As you can see here I have two kinds of red tomatoes, a yellow tomato and an orange tomato.  It’s simple to dry them. Just wash and cut in half.

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Place cut side down on the rack of an electric dehydrator. Twelve cups of tomatoes filled 3 racks. You don’t need an expensive dehydrator, but one that has a thermostat is best. Set the temperature to 140 degrees, cover, and let it do the work!

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Dry the tomatoes until they are hard and brittle. It took about 14 hours for this batch.

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This is the final product – about 3 1/2 cups of dried tomatoes. I will use them all winter in soups, pasta sauce, rice dishes, pasta dishes, rehydrated and used in salads, etc. They add a lot of sweet, summer tomato flavor that you just can’t get from a hot house tomato in the middle of January. Plus, dried tomatoes are easy to store and don’t take up much space. Dried tomatoes are a concentrated source of Vitamins A  and C and other anti-oxidants.

Tips: Dried tomatoes made at home will not be soft and pliable like the kind you buy at the grocery store. Purchased dried tomatoes are treated with a preservative to prevent mold – yours are completely natural! However, if you like a softer dried tomato, underdry them a bit and store in the freezer.

The most difficult part of the whole process is cutting the tomatoes in half. Some books recommend steam blanching tomatoes before drying. My question is “why”? Tomatoes are such little powerhouses of nutrients that they really don’t need to be blanched, but do make sure that you wash them first.

Drying your own tomatoes saves money! If you love dried tomatoes like I do, you know how expensive they are to purchase. I figure that I save about $100 each year just by growing and drying my own tomatoes.

It is not possible to safely can dried tomatoes in oil at home. If you want to underdry sliced tomatoes and store them in oil, keep them in the freezer to prevent bacterial or mold contamination.

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About the Author

Renee Pottle, an author and heart-healthy educator, loves to explore and write about the Mediterranean Diet. She blogs at SeedToPantry.com and HestiasKitchen.com.

Comments (2)

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  1. supperclubstories says:

    Oh my gosh, I’ve never tried cherry tomatoes before. All I’ve done is heirloom, and don’t ask me what kind it is. But these look delicious. I will make a mental note to plant them next year, and let’s see how much more my balcony can take–

    • Hans, I love heirloom tomatoes too! Since cherry tomatoes are “meatier” you end up with more tomato after the drying process. And you can never have too many tomato plants – think of them as a decorative element 🙂

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