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How to Dehydrate Tomatoes

Dehydrating Tomatoes for long term storage

Dehydrated tomatoes
Dehydrated Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the key vegetables for a prepper’s pantry. Whether it is tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato powder, or dehydrated tomatoes, they are simply irreplaceable!

I love tomatoes, and I mean I LOVE tomatoes. I grow a lot of them and preserve a lot of them. One of my favorite ways to preserve them is to dehydrate, making them shelf-stable for years with proper storage.

So firstly, let’s have a look at why they are so beneficial for our health and why we need to keep them in our pantry.

Nutritional Benefits of Dehydrated Tomatoes:

1. Lycopene: Tomatoes are known for their high lycopene content, a powerful antioxidant that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including certain types of cancer.

2. Vitamins: Dehydrated tomatoes retain a good amount of essential vitamins, including vitamin C, crucial for the immune system, and vitamin K, important for blood clotting and bone health.

3. Minerals: Tomatoes are a source of minerals such as potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, and folate, important for cell division and overall health.

4. Fiber: Dehydrated tomatoes contain dietary fiber, which supports digestive health and helps maintain a feeling of fullness.

5. Low in Calories: Dehydrated tomatoes are relatively low in calories, making them a healthy addition to various dishes.

Now, let’s talk about dehydrating them.

Dehydrated cherry tomatoes
Dehydrated cherry tomatoes

• Choose fresh, ripe tomatoes. You can use large tomatoes or cherry tomatoes; they all dehydrate well. The choice depends on what you have available or like to consume. If you’re dehydrating them for powder, larger tomatoes are best.

• Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and remove any stems and squishy bits.

• Slice the cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on the size. If using large tomatoes, cut them into even thickness, around 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Consistent slicing ensures even drying, but I understand that it is not always possible unless you have magical knife skills.

• Don’t slice the tomatoes too thin, or you will not be able to peel them off the dehydrator sheet as they do shrivel a lot.

• If you prefer, you can gently remove the seeds from the tomato slices. This step is optional and depends on personal preference. However, it’s important to note that seeds contain some fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants, so I leave mine in.

• Lay the tomato slices in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Ensure there is space between the slices for proper air circulation and dehydrate at approximately 70°C for 6 to 12 hours. The drying time can vary based on factors like tomato thickness, humidity, and your specific dehydrator model.

• Periodically check the tomatoes for dryness. They should be leathery and slightly flexible. If you’re dehydrating them to make powder, they should be able to snap when attempted. Thicker slices will take longer to dehydrate.

• Allow the dehydrated tomatoes to cool completely before storing them. If there is any condensation in the storage container, they aren’t fully dehydrated, and you will need to put them in to dehydrate for longer. That’s why I always encourage keeping your jar visible for the first few days to keep an eye on any unwanted moisture.

• Store them in an airtight container. For longer-term storage, vacuum seal or use a Mylar bag. Do not use an oxygen absorber if the tomatoes are not totally dry, i.e., still pliable!

Enjoy them as a snack, add them to soups, or make powder. Whatever you choose to do with them, you will never regret dehydrating them.

If you want to see my YouTube video tutorial on dehydrating tomatoes, link is below.


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