Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

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Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#1

Post: # 26444Unread post Bronx
Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:03 am

I recently bought a Cosori stainless steel dehydrator. My first experiments in dehydrating tomatoes haven't gone as well as expected so I was wondering if anyone can tell me what I'm doing wrong.

I dehydrated a batch a couple weeks ago, put them in a ziplock bag and stored them in a kitchen cabinet. Took them out yesterday and mold was growing inside. I have read that dehydrated tomatoes don't need to be refrigerated or frozen, is this incorrect?

Yesterday I did another batch and found that some tomatoes are sticking badly to the stainless steel mesh shelves, some more than others. For example, most of the Campari, Stupice and Indigo Apple slices came off the shelves fairly easily. KBX and Stump of the World, however, were very difficult to free from the shelves and I had a lot of waste. Had to soak the shelves and scrub the KBX and Stump the remnants off. Would spraying the shelves with something like Pam help or do I just need to avoid dehydrating certain varieties?

I am slicing the tomatoes about 1/4" thick using a mandolin slicer. The tomatoes are dehydrating for about 7 hours at 130 degrees F. Are these settings good or shoud they be changed?

I appreciate any help to get me better results.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#2

Post: # 26450Unread post kath
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:03 pm

My limited experience leads me to think that your slices needed more time in the dehydrator. My racks and liners are made of plastic and although the tomatoes were attached to them when they were finished, I could bend the liners and peel the tomatoes off, usually in one piece. If mold appeared on yours, there was too much moisture still in the product. I dry at lower temps and mine were in at least 12 hours, but all will depend on temperature, thickness of slices, how wet the tomatoes are, etc.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#3

Post: # 26452Unread post Ginger2778
Fri Jul 24, 2020 12:59 pm

I concur with what Kath said, but I do the 130F like you. I don't time it, I just leave them until they have a crispy dryness. I have some stored in a double ziplock for almost 2 years, no mold. Yours need to be drier. I have plastic mesh sheets that came with my Excalibur dehydrator, and I do spray them with a very light Pam, rub it around the whole sheet, then wipe off the remainder with a paper towel, and load the tray. No sticking issues.
Your thickness seems fine.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#4

Post: # 26454Unread post Cole_Robbie
Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:25 pm

I have only dried cherries. It occurred to me that a dried product could pick up moisture from condensation in going back and forth to the fridge.

Does anyone use a preservative like citric acid?
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#5

Post: # 26460Unread post Labradors
Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:33 pm

I have problems drying things too. So much so, that I keep all my dried veggies in the freezer because I cannot bear to have another batch ruined by mold. I do believe that if there's a lot of moisture in the air, that it takes longer than we think to dry things adequately, and I have problems when the cycle is finished, and I have to leave them long enough to cool down before bagging them, as sometimes more moisture is absorbed from the air!

Linda
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#6

Post: # 26473Unread post Shule
Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:56 pm

I agree that you should do it for at least 12 hours at that temperature, if your dehydrator is like mine.

I've read that cooking spray, like Pam, is supposed to help, but I haven't tried it.

You might try some silicone mesh dehydrating sheets to help make cleanup easier. I didn't want to try them, since I was satisfied with my stainless steel trays, and I thought they'd increase drying time—but they work pretty nicely!

After fully dehydrating, it might also be beneficial to dehydrate at a very high temperature for a short time to kill any fungal spores that might be in the fruit, if that's a problem. Yes, it might change the nutritional value (both for better and worse, for tomatoes), but it shouldn't impact the flavor as much as if you did it when the fruit was still hydrated.

You might also try putting a small pouch of food grade diatomaceous earth in the container with your dehydrated fruit, to collect the moisture in the air. I've never tried it, but I'm confident it would help dry out the air. The challenge would be preventing the powder from getting on your dehydrated food—and don't do this with hot peppers. Dry hot pepper seeds (probably the fruits, too) and food grade diatomaceous earth is a recipe for coughing powder. Maybe a traditional silica packet would be easier. ;)

Along the lines of citric acid, adding salt (or even sugar) might help them dehydrate faster, and help preserve them better, too. I'm not sure what salty dehydrated tomatoes taste like, but it sounds good.

@Cole_Robbie

I put citric acid on some Colorado Preserving Melon that I dehydrated, but not particularly for the food preservation qualities. I did it for taste (along with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg). Dehydrating makes the citric acid taste more pronounced than the brown sugar (so, I ought to have used more brown sugar and less citric acid than I use when making a baked Colorado Preserving Melon crisp). The mixture brings juices out of the fruit; so, it's kind of drippy/messy where it otherwise wouldn't have been. I think that's the sugar bringing the water out, but I'm not sure if citric acid does it, too.

Too much citric acid can be hard on the teeth when eating dehydrated food wherein it has been applied, since there's nothing between it and your teeth (it might be better in this regard in fruit leathers, since it could be mixed inside the fruit sauce). So, when adding citric acid, I would be careful how much of the dehydrated fruit you eat in a day, or how much citric acid you add. However, if you plan to rehydrate it anyway, it probably doesn't matter nearly as much.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#7

Post: # 26478Unread post pepperhead212
Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:15 pm

I dry at an even lower heat - 110-115º - at much longer times, and the tomatoes become like leather, more or less. And I never had a problem with storage - I just used some from 2018 to make some delicious tomato paste with - a great way of using the old stuff! Most of the tomatoes I use are smaller ones, but not the cherries, unless I am doing sunsugars my themselves, as a sweet, almost raisin like dried fruit.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#8

Post: # 26485Unread post Barb_FL
Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:36 pm

I puree my tomatoes and put on a silicon sheet like a very thin pancake and dehydrate them for 14 hours at 135 degrees.
I have an excalibur dehydrator.

So I am dehydrating them much longer at a higher temperature and a much thinner surface.

I've never had mold.

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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#9

Post: # 26489Unread post Gardadore
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:30 pm

If you don't have a dehydrator you can dry them in the oven on a baking sheet with a silicon sheet on it. I slice the tomatoes - usually smaller ones (not cherries so much) about 1/4 inch, spray with a little olive oil and add some salt or other seasonings, set the oven to its lowest temp - about 150 to 170 degrees and let them go until done. It takes about 5 hours total but at 4 I am checking constantly because there are different sizes on the tray so some need to be removed sooner than others. When done, either eat right away, let cool and eat, or when cool put in baggies and freeze. We usually gobble them down! Some get a little crunchy, others more leathery. No matter what they are delicious. I try to make two batches at one time so I can freeze some but it can be a losing battle. They are very addictive - great in salads or as a snack. Small hearts are good because they are so meaty. My favorite tomatoes for this are Jaunne Flamme, Little Lucky, Esmerelda Golosina, Blush, Maglia Rosa, any of the Karmas are a good size when cut in half, and any others of those sizes. This summer will try with Black Beauty, which is a little bigger and any other tomatoes that fail to get big. Great way to use up extra tomatoes besides making sauce.

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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#10

Post: # 26504Unread post Ginger2778
Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:13 am

Gardadore wrote:
Fri Jul 24, 2020 9:30 pm
If you don't have a dehydrator you can dry them in the oven on a baking sheet with a silicon sheet on it. I slice the tomatoes - usually smaller ones (not cherries so much) about 1/4 inch, spray with a little olive oil and add some salt or other seasonings, set the oven to its lowest temp - about 150 to 170 degrees and let them go until done. It takes about 5 hours total but at 4 I am checking constantly because there are different sizes on the tray so some need to be removed sooner than others. When done, either eat right away, let cool and eat, or when cool put in baggies and freeze. We usually gobble them down! Some get a little crunchy, others more leathery. No matter what they are delicious. I try to make two batches at one time so I can freeze some but it can be a losing battle. They are very addictive - great in salads or as a snack. Small hearts are good because they are so meaty. My favorite tomatoes for this are Jaunne Flamme, Little Lucky, Esmerelda Golosina, Blush, Maglia Rosa, any of the Karmas are a good size when cut in half, and any others of those sizes. This summer will try with Black Beauty, which is a little bigger and any other tomatoes that fail to get big. Great way to use up extra tomatoes besides making sauce.
And a great way to use Black Beauty, because it needs a lot of help!😛
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#11

Post: # 26507Unread post Gardadore
Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:54 am

I have not tried Black Beauty before. It was a gift and intriguing. Sounded like it might be good. Lots of flowers and setting well. Good to know that drying will make it taste better!!
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#12

Post: # 26508Unread post Ginger2778
Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:16 am

I just find in general that anthos don't taste very good at all.(exception Brad's Atomic Grape).
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#13

Post: # 26509Unread post GoDawgs
Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:18 am

The lady who runs this site is supposedly called The Dehydrating Queen: https://www.thepurposefulpantry.com/

I just found this the other day and haven't fully explored it but it sure looks like something I want to spend some time with.

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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#14

Post: # 26535Unread post Cole_Robbie
Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:34 pm

Ginger2778 wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:16 am
I just find in general that anthos don't taste very good at all.(exception Brad's Atomic Grape).
I like Brad's atomic grape too. Ambrosia Blue is probably my favorite, a large orange antho cherry, it tastes about like juane flamme. Painted pink is ok, too. But it seems good tasting anthos taste good in spite of being antho, certainly not because of it.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#15

Post: # 26546Unread post Ginger2778
Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:56 pm

Cole_Robbie wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:34 pm
Ginger2778 wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 8:16 am
I just find in general that anthos don't taste very good at all.(exception Brad's Atomic Grape).
But it seems good tasting anthos taste good in spite of being antho, certainly not because of it.
I totally agree
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#16

Post: # 26573Unread post Gardadore
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:04 am

Looking forward to tasting the Black Beauty. Also growing Marsha’s Starfighter Beefsteak. Isn’t that also antho? Taste? Still setting but not ripe yet! Looks bigger than I like for drying but might work with the smaller ones. Great adventure this summer! Purposeful Pantry has lots of good advice about dehydrating and if one wants to purchase a dehydrator.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#17

Post: # 26575Unread post Ginger2778
Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:33 am

Gardadore wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:04 am
Looking forward to tasting the Black Beauty. Also growing Marsha’s Starfighter Beefsteak. Isn’t that also antho? Taste? Still setting but not ripe yet! Looks bigger than I like for drying but might work with the smaller ones. Great adventure this summer! Purposeful Pantry has lots of good advice about dehydrating and if one wants to purchase a dehydrator.
Yes, MSB is also antho. Taste isn't bad, maybe a 7. It's not fabulous, it is really pretty and productive.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#18

Post: # 26581Unread post Gardadore
Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:56 am

Thank you! They do look interesting so far.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#19

Post: # 26662Unread post SQWIB
Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:18 am

I just started a batch and will be following this recipe.

Image

Image




Sun-Dried Tomatoes

  • For Paste type tomatoes - Wash, stem , I halved smaller paste and quartered larger paste tomatoes
  • For Heirloom type tomatoes - Wash, stem and slice each tomato into 1/2" thick slices, remove seeds.
Optional Note on slicing
Cut in Halves, Whether you go with the sun or with a dehydrator, remove the stem portion of the tomato and then cut it in half lengthwise. Each half will be a “cup-like” shape. Place your tomato halves cut side up, using the skin to form a cup to maintain the juices. The juices are important. This is where some of the flavor comes from. As the tomato dries, the juices will remain in the cup and your dried tomato will be that much more intense in flavor.
  • Place tomato slices in a very large bowl or clean bucket and cover with cheap red wine like Merlot, Soak tomato slices 24 hours in the wine.
  • Drain well. Lay tomatoes, skin side down, just touching on dehydrator shelves or on screen in your sun-drying apparatus.
  • Sprinkle each slice with a mixture containing equal parts of dried basil-oregano-parsley and then sprinkle each slice with Kosher Salt. You may choose to forego the salt if you wish but tomatoes will take longer to dry.
  • Dry tomatoes @ 155°F until they are firm and leather-like with no moisture pockets, but NOT brittle. (If you get them too dry, soak them in lemon juice for a few minutes.) To store, place in vacuum bags or ziplock bags and freeze.

To pack in oil:
IMPORTANT!!! If you will be storing sun-dried tomatoes in Olive oil you !!!MUST!!! dip each slice in vinegar before adding to oil.
  • Using a 25-32 oz jar add 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of red wine (1/4 cup Merlot per Quart jar, do the math)
  • Dip each tomato into a small dish of white wine vinegar. Shake off the excess vinegar and pack in the jar, once full, top off with Olive oil, "Tomatoes must be fully submerged in olive oil"
  • Store at *cool* room temperature for at least a month before using. They may be stored in the refrigerator, but the oil will solidify at refrigerator temperatures (it quickly liquefies at room temperature however).
  • As tomatoes are removed from the jar, add more olive oil as necessary to keep the remaining tomatoes covered.

Misc. Notes:
  • Excalibur recommends drying tomatoes at about 155 degrees since there’s a lot of moisture in the tomatoes – this prevents molding.
  • When drying tomato “ends,” place the slice on the sheet with the skin side down so it dries well.


****** WARNINGS ********
from recipe source:

I have stored oil-packed tomatoes in my root cellar for over a year. I have tried a number of methods to pack the tomatoes in oil, but the vinegar treatment is the difference between a good dried tomato and a great one. It is also important from a food safety standpoint, as it acidifies the oil and discourages growth of bacteria and mold. Soaking in the wine also acidifies them.
Do *NOT* add fresh garlic cloves or fresh herbs of any kind to oil-packed dried tomatoes, UNLESS you store them in the refrigerator and plan on using them within 7 days. Garlic is a low-acid food which, when placed in oil, creates a low-acid anaerobic environment just perfect growth medium for botulinum bacteria if the mixture is not refrigerated. Be safe and add your garlic to the dried tomatoes as part of the recipe for them *after* they come out of the oil.
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Re: Dehydrating Tomatoes Questions

#20

Post: # 26713Unread post Gardadore
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:52 pm

Very important advice!!!!!! Thanks for emphasizing the vinegar treatment!
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