As I understand it sun drying tomatoes (or any fruit) is a race to get
them dehydrated before the mould and fungus take over.
Has anybody sun-dried their own tomatoes or worked where they do it?
What conditions of sunshine and humidity are required and how long does
Conversely, has anybody tried it and the mould won? What were your
I do a combination of sun and dehydrator. I will slice the tomatoes onto
the dehydrator racks and set them outside on a hot day (in the sun) to
lose the bulk of the moisture. Even covering them with a lightweight
towel (to protect them from bugs, dust, etc.) doesn't seem to overly
hinder them though some type of screening would be much better. Late in
the day, in come the racks to the dehydrator to finish. They could also
finish in the oven on a low heat if you don't have a dehydrator. The
first year I was here, I invested in a good dehydrator and have never been
sorry. One of my future projects will be to build a much larger
dehydrator with the love we have for the dried tomatoes! (Just like
candy, only healthy!)
And, no, never had any mold. I doubt there would be any if they never
went into the dehydrator if they really are dried in the sun on hot
(translate: low-humid) days. They dry out remarkably quickly.
I do it every year with my Romas. I slice them and put them on a plate in
the microwave and nuke them on very low (1 or 2) for a long time (half hour
or more) until they look like sundried tomatoes. Check on them every five
minutes towards the end so they don't get overcooked. Then I store them in
olive oil in the fridge. Yummy!!
David Hare-Scott wrote:
Thanks for the idea. I was particularly interested in trying to do it
by sunshine. I will be starting up a new garden in a new district and
(over) planting many varieties to test which ones do the best there.
Unless I have several outright failures the chances are I will have far
more than we (or the neighbours) can eat fresh. We will bottle lots but
the supply of bottles is always limited.
My problem with sun-drying is that in the late summer when you have a
glut of tomatoes the weather tends to be quite humid here, which will
slow down drying and increase the chance of moulds growing.
I may have to use an oven anyway.
I wonder if the method of drying affects the flavour? Any thoughts?
I use a dehydrator to dry my tomatoes. They taste better than the fancy
imported sun-dried tomatoes I've bought, IMO. (Maybe it's because I start
with better tomatoes, and mine would be even better if only I could sun dry
Pat in Plymouth MI
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