I love tomatoes — fresh in a salad, as a sauce or even tomato juice.
However, one of my favorite ways to eat them is sun-dried. When I first discovered sun-dried tomatoes, I wondered how I could get tomatoes dried in the sun when I lived in New York City.
I discovered the dehydrator after a little research. A dehydrator removes the liquid from foods at a very low temperature. You can use it to cook foods without using unhealthy fats or overcooking the food.
- It takes a long time.
- Your food tastes delicious.
- You save money by preserving in-season foods.
- Food retains more nutrients.
- It’s perfect for adding more nutrient-dense foods to your family’s diet.
I chose the Excalibur Dehydrator. It is pricey, but it’s definitely worth the cost. If you are trying to eat healthy and you have access to many fresh fruits and vegetables, then maybe purchasing one is a no-brainer for you.
What I use:
- Excalibur Dehydrator (5-tray stainless steel)
- Excalibur silicone dehydrator sheets
- Fresh heirloom and slicing tomatoes
- A sharp knife and cutting board
- Sea salt, Italian seasoning, raw garlic and unfiltered olive oil
- I purchase firm, ripe tomatoes. When I buy heirloom tomatoes, I go for variety over whether they are ripe or not. I get a little giddy when I go to the farmers market and see so many varieties of tomatoes, so I just grab a whole bunch — red, yellow, green, whatever.
- I wash, dry and slice each tomato into medium-size pieces. For more even drying, try to get them as close in size as possible. Chefs recommend removing the seeds and peeling to prevent the juice from dripping to the bottom of the machine. I use the silicone mats I purchased from Excalibur. These can be cleaned with a sponge and soap. I also place a sheet of waxed paper at the bottom of the machine to eliminate excessive cleanup. Since I don’t worry about dripping, I leave the seeds and skin intact.
- Set dehydrator to 52 degrees C for 16 hours. Now, there are other recipes using higher temperatures for a shorter period of time. Since I’m concerned about nutrition, I tend to go the slow route.
- When you are satisfied with the texture of your tomatoes — dry, slightly leathery and not sticky — allow them to cool. You can leave them on the tray.
- When cooled, put tomato pieces in a glass jar in the fridge. I add olive oil, a small amount of sea salt, crushed garlic and Italian seasoning to mine, but they taste delicious even without seasoning. Just pop them into your mouth. I find the red peppers I added to this particular recipe were really sweet!
Sun-dried tomatoes are delicious with feta cheese over scrambled eggs or minced up in guacamole. You can just chop and sprinkle them over a salad, on homemade pizza or in stewed chicken.