I like to use cherry tomatoes because they require the least amount of work. They’re also naturally sweet, making them a sweet and savory snack when dried.
You can use any kind of tomato that you want to, though. If you get a good deal tomatoes at your farmers market – I once got 20 pound for $20! – or if your garden is overflowing, try preserving some with this recipe. Just keep in mind that larger tomatoes or those with more seeds and water may take longer to dry.
Tomato varieties that have smaller seeds or less water probably don’t need to be de-seeded. Many people choose to remove the seeds from larger juicier tomatoes. Some people believe the seeds make the dried tomatoes bitter, while others say they make no difference at all or enhance the flavor. It’s really up to you what you want to do. I recommend trying it both ways and seeing how you like it.
How to Use Oven-Dried Tomatoes
The best thing about oven-dried tomatoes is that they’re incredibly versatile and can be used any way you want. Here are some ideas:
- Add them to wraps and sandwiches
- Sprinkle them on a summer salad
- Add them as a topping for homemade pizza
- Throw them into a quiche
- Puree them and make a vinaigrette
- Add them to pesto
- Use them in place of fresh tomatoes in most recipes (you may have to add a little extra liquid)
They’re also amazing plain as a snack on the go!
Can I Use a Dehydrator Instead of the Oven?
Yes, you can use a dehydrator instead of an oven. A dehydrator may take a little longer, but it also may make for more evenly dried tomatoes. Dehydrators also use less energy and are easier to get very specific temperatures and airflow. I have an Excalibur, which is considered the gold standard for dehydrators. I use it for jerky, fruit leather, apple chips, etc.
However, the oven works just fine if you don’t have a dehydrator.
How to Make Good Dried Tomatoes
Luckily dried tomatoes are fairly easy to make. But here are some tips to help you make them as tasty as possible.
- Start with in-season tomatoes – It probably goes without saying, but the better tasting the tomato is the better tasting the dried tomato will be.
- Season the tomatoes – Consider making a few different batches seasoned differently. Make a plain batch and then try adding herbs like basil or oregano to another batch.
- Choose firm tomatoes if possible – Soft tomatoes can take longer to dry.
- If using larger tomatoes be sure to slice them evenly and thinly ( the thicker the pieces the longer it takes them to dry).
Dried fruits and vegetables can be stored at room temperature, but if they aren’t completely dried you may have a mold issue. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer and they will last a long time.
Oven Dried Tomatoes Recipe
- If using oven, preheat to 170°F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Wash the tomatoes and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
- Slice each tomato in half and toss in a medium size mixing bowl.
- Drizzle the oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Toss to coat.
- Place tomatoes cut side up on prepared baking sheet.
- Dry in the preheated oven for 4 hours or dehydrator for 6-8 hours, until tomatoes are leathery.
- Store in an airtight container. It’s safest to store them in the refrigerator in case they aren’t completely dry.
What is your favorite way to use dried tomatoes?