I’ve lost count of how many bushels of tomatoes I’ve dehydrated! There have been alot!
I wanted to write down some of the things I’ve learned work best so that when I start this project again next year, I’ll have a good reference.
- The tomatoes in cardboard boxes lasted longer than tomatoes gathered and stored in plastic buckets, even longer than the ones in the plastic buckets with drainage holes in the bottom.
- Lay an old towel down on the counter. It will save clean up time, and save you from slipping on the juice that might drip onto the floor.
- Spray the trays with some sort of non-stick coating. I only had to do that once, and the tomatoes didn’t stick again.
- Wear gloves! I didn’t wear gloves on the first batch and my hands were sore the next day from the acid in the tomatoes.
- Slice at least 1/4″ thick. I can dry more tomatoes that way, and they don’t stick to the tray, especially when using the non-stick spray.
- If the tomatoes are a little soft, make sure you sprinkle them with non-iodized salt. Mine don’t seem to turn black that way, and they have a nicer color if they have been sprinkled with salt.
- However, sprinkling salt on the tomatoes will make the tomatoes drain juice a little faster, so make sure the tomatoes are done dripping before you put them on the dehydrator.
- We some of the tomatoes dried with basil, onion granules, and salt. The ones that had marjoram as well, didn’t impress me as any better tasting than the ones without. It’s nice to have them pre-seasoned, so I’ll always put salt and/or other seasonings on before drying.
- 1 ounce of dried tomatoes = 1/4 cup of tomato powder. Sometimes I want to use crushed or whole tomatoes from a can, if I can weigh out the tomatoes, then I can use my conversion table easily. I found the conversion tables here at Diane Hopkins blog under the title: Power-Packed Nutrition: V8 Powder.
- Run a fan near the dehydrators. It tends to move the moist air away from the dehydrator and the tomatoes dry faster. The dehydrator also puts out a fair amount of heat, so if the weather is nice outside, you can put the fan in the window and set it to the exhaust setting. If the weather is cold, then the fan seems to move the air throughout the house better than just letting the dehydrator sit in the room and work.
- The dehydrator is noisy! Put it in a room where it won’t bother anyone.