Photo above: 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.
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.
Photo above: San Marzano tomatoes L-R, 1. Cut in half. 2. White part removed. 3. Seasonings rubbed in.
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 Twenty Four Tomatoes:
Photo Above: Twelve tomatoes, cut-side up, on Excalibur dehydrator tray.
Approximately 15 hours @ 135° F (57° C)
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.
Photo above: 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.
Photo above: 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.
Tired of granola, granola, granola? Add a salty and savory trail mix to your backpacking menu, like dehydrated tomatoes and olives.
Photo above: Dehydrated Tomatoes & Olives.
Here’s a no-cook backpacking recipe that’s perfect for lunch on a hot summer day. All the ingredients, except the tuna, are dehydrated. It’s important to use precooked and dried macaroni; otherwise the macaroni will not be palatable if only soaked in cold water.
Photo above: Ingredients for Tuna & Pasta San Marzano
Water to rehydrate: ¾ cup (177 ml)
Cold Preparation: Add dried ingredients and cold water to Thermos Food Jar, or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Wait at least two hours; two-and-a-half hours is ideal for this recipe. Stir in tuna, enjoy! Tip: Prepare this meal in the morning before you break camp.
Hot Preparation: Add all ingredients to pot with water. Bring to a boil for one minute. Transfer pot to insulating cozy. Wait fifteen to twenty minutes. Enjoy.
Photo above: Tuna & Pasta San Marzano after rehydrating with cold water for 2.5 hours in Thermos Food Jar.
Thermos Stainless King Stainless Steel Food Jar 24 Oz.
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Tomato Drying Topics in Chef Glenn’s Newsletter, 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, and get a free 50-page eBook, “Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food.”