Dehydrating Tomatoes

San Marzano Tomatoes are excellent for dehydrating.

Photo: San Marzano tomatoes, perfect for dehydrating tomatoes in halves.

A great way of dehydrating tomatoes is to dry them in halves. San Marzano tomatoes, with their oblong shape and meaty texture, are perfect tomatoes for drying. Big Boy and Better Boy tomatoes are too fat to dry in halves; they are better suited to dicing or slicing, which is covered further down the page.

The benefit of drying tomatoes with the half-cut, is that all of the flavors in the juices remain inside the tomatoes as they dry. It takes several hours longer to dry tomatoes this way, but the taste will amaze you. They make great snacks, like what you could call tomato jerky, but the dried halves can also be cut into smaller pieces to use in meals.

How to Dehydrate Tomatoes using the Half-Cut Method

1. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise.

2. Using a sharp knife, cut out white pithy sections between both ends of the tomatoes, being careful not to cut all the way through the tomatoes. If you leave the pithy section in there, it tends to dry hard and is not desirable.

3. After you cut out the white part, sprinkle seasonings onto each tomato half, and then gently push the seasonings down into the juicy middle sections of the tomatoes with a knife or spoon. Of course, you can dry tomatoes sans seasonings.

Tomatoes cut in half and seasoned before drying.

Photo: San Marzano tomatoes L-R, 1. Cut in half. 2. White part removed. 3. Seasonings rubbed in.

Seasoning Mix for Dehydrating Tomatoes

You can add any seasonings that you like. The mix below will give the tomatoes an Italian flair, and your kitchen will smell wonderful while the tomatoes are drying.

Add the following dry seasonings to a bowl, and rub them between your fingers to mix the flavors well. Sprinkle as desired onto tomatoes and push the seasoning into the juices with a knife or spoon. Add a drop or two of red wine vinegar to each tomato after you add the dry seasonings.

Ingredients for 24 Tomatoes:

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (add last)
San Marzano Tomatoes, cut in half, cut side up, on Excalibur dehydrator tray.

Photo: Twelve tomatoes, cut-side up, on Excalibur dehydrator tray.

Time & Temperature for Dehydrating Tomatoes

Dehydrate tomatoes at 135°F (57°C) for approx. 15 hours.

Times will vary depending on the thickness of the tomatoes and other factors like humidity in the surrounding environment. A dehydrator with a fan is a must, or the tomatoes won’t dry properly.

Because the tomato halves are thicker than diced or sliced tomatoes, you may only be able to use every other tray of your dehydrator.

If you plan to dry the tomatoes for home-use snacking, you can leave a little moisture in the tomatoes, but store them in the refrigerator.

Tomatoes after drying for fifteen hours in Excalibur dehydrator.

Photo: Dehydrated tomatoes on Excalibur dehydrator tray after fifteen hours. You could call it tomato jerky.

For trail use, allow the dried tomatoes to get almost crispy, so they keep well. Store in an air-tight container until ready to pack for a trip.

If noticeable moisture remains in the tomato halves after sixteen hours, consider cutting them into smaller pieces, and continue drying for another hour or two.

Dehydrated tomato jerky on left, cut into smaller pieced on right.

Photo: Dehydrated tomato halves on left; cut into smaller pieces on right.

The easiest way to cut the dried tomato halves into smaller pieces is with scissors.

Dried Tomatoes Make Great Trail Snacks

Tired of granola, granola, granola? Add a salty and savory trail mix to your backpacking menu, like dehydrated tomatoes and dehydrated olives.

Dried tomatoes and olives make a great trail snack.

Photo: Dehydrated Tomatoes & Olives.

Tuna & Pasta San Marzano Salad

This cold-soak salad recipe includes dehydrated San Marzano tomatoes.

Get the recipe: Tuna & Pasta San Marzano.

Tuna & Pasta San Marzano

Photo: Tuna & Pasta San Marzano rehydrated in a thermos food jar with cold water.

Explore More...

Pages about dehydrating tomatoes:

How to make tomato sauce leather.

How to make tomato powder from homemade tomato sauce.

Dried tomato recipes in Trail Bytes:

How to Make and Dry Gazpacho

How to Make and Dry Tomato Carrot Soup

How to Dehydrate Tomatoes into Veggie Shakes and Soups

Subscribe to Trail Bytes, get a free e-book, “Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food.”

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