Tuesday, September 14, 2010

sun dried tomatoes

I am still getting a ton of what are supposed to be cherry  and grape tomatoes,  but since it has been so dry here they are more like currant sized fruit, rather than  grapes or cherries. While this makes them easy to use in salads or to just pop in your mouth, finding any other use for them has been difficult.

A few weeks  back, I decided to see how well they would  dehydrate in the solar dehydrator so that I could then use them in soups and stews or grind them into a powder to make quick tomato paste. They seem to dry quite well  although they do take a bit of time, well quite a bit of time. Since I have a dash of hippie in me, I try to make or take short cuts when ever I can to save myself a bit of work. This means I leave them whole to dry rather than trying to cut those teeny tiny buggers in half. Besides, I might could chop my finger off attempting to do such a thing. On nice, dry sunny days, it is taking about 3 days to dehydrate them to proper dryness. If I cut them in half, it easily takes a day off the drying time but I am in no rush, and  why rush a good thing.

While I use both our solar oven and our solar dryer, you do not have to have anything but a screen to set them on, the sun, low humidity, and time.  At night I just cover them up with a tarp or bring the screens  they are sitting on  in the shack  to keep the dew off.

To make quick tomato paste, I simply grind the tomatoes in to a powder and add a bit of water to make a quick paste of them. It works great for recipes where you do not need an entire can of paste and when you are cooking for just two people, that is the majority of the time. I also like to grind the dried tomatoes up somewhat small and add them to salad dressings , they really add some great flavor and zing to anything you put them in.


  1. I wish I could do that but I doubt it. It is very humid here, and daytime temps don't rise above 62, even when it is quite sunny. I have heard you can dry fruit on the dash of your car if you park it in the sun....?

  2. Aimee, I as well have to be very careful with our humidity here..Early spring and later summer/early fall are about the only times I can use the solar dehydrator with any efficiency. You can indeed use a vehicle as a dehydrator, works quite well actually. We have a broke down blazer that I keep threatening to move, paint up pretty and fill with racks and use as a large dehydration station. Aint like our hillbillyness would upset any neighbors :)

  3. I've never thought about using dried tomatoes in place of paste-NEAT!