In preserving foods, dehydration works by removing moisture from food products to prevent spoilage.
Moisture promotes the growth of microorganisms, and in the absence of moisture, micro-organisms do not grow which would eventually lengthen the shelf life of that food.
Tomatoes of all varieties can be preserved by dehydrating them, making these vegetables available especially during the winter months.
Sun drying is one of the popular methods used to dehydrate tomatoes, and tomatoes have been traditionally sundried from the rooftops in Italy since hundreds of years ago.
Nowadays, there are more sophisticated methods used to dehydrate tomatoes including by using a dehydrator.
In this post we take a look at sun dried tomatoes and compare them to other forms of dehydrated tomatoes.
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Characteristic of sun-dried tomatoes
Sun drying tomatoes works by using direct heat from the sun to reduce the water content of tomatoes.
The tomatoes are dried for some time under the sun. Sometimes, they dry under the sun for about 10 days.
These tomatoes are sliced, then sprinkled with salt and placed under the sun.
Since water forms a large portion of the tomatoes, The weight of the tomatoes decreases when they are dried
The nutritional content is however preserved in sundried tomatoes. The tomatoes also become more concentrated per weight
Different varieties of tomatoes can be sun dried. Sundried tomatoes can be made from Roma tomatoes, San Marzano or cherry tomatoes
The tomatoes acquire a firmer texture after sun drying. The sun-dried tomatoes also have a more intense flavor
The sun-dried tomatoes can be stored in olive oil in jars.
Dehydrator dried tomatoes
A dehydrator could be used to make dried tomatoes
The dehydrator works by using the flow of warm air to dehydrate the tomatoes.
This machine has a fan that draws in air at temperatures as low as 150 degrees Fahrenheits and circulates it across trays with the sliced tomatoes.
With a dehydrator, you get to control the environmental conditions better including temperature and humidity.
The tomatoes are dehydrated within some hours.
Juicer tomatoes may take a longer time to be dehydrated.
Oven dried tomatoes
Alternatively, an oven can be used to dehydrate tomatoes.
The ovens that are used are low temperature ovens which can reach a temperature range as low as 140 to 150 degrees.
Some ovens cannot reach temperatures as low as that or cannot maintain the temperature for a prolonged duration.
Also, dehydrator conserve more energy compared to ovens
Oven drying tomatoes requires constant attention, so that the tomatoes do not get burnt.
Comparing dehydrator dried tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes
Making use of a dehydrator is a lot easier than sun drying when it comes to getting good results.
Tomatoes are also dried a lot more evenly when using a dehydrator.
With a dehydrator, you can control the humidity, temperature and duration better. It is also faster compared to sun drying the tomatoes.
On average, a dehydrator takes 12 hours to completely dry the tomatoes while sun drying requires days.
For sun drying tomatoes to work, Low humidity is needed. This means that sun drying may not work in regions where the humidity is high
However, dehydrators are quite expensive while sun drying is cheaper and more accessible.
Tomatoes are abundant during summer and are dehydrated to preserve them. Dehydrating tomatoes can also be done to reduce bulk.
Removing the moisture from the tomatoes intensifies their flavor
Once dehydrated, tomatoes can be cut into smaller pieces or made into powdered form
The tomatoes can be rehydrated by soaking them in boiling water when they are ready for use, they could still be used in the dehydrated form.
Dehydrated tomatoes are versatile. These tomatoes can be used to make tomato paste and tomato puree
These tomatoes can also be used to garnish food
They are used to make soups, salads, pasta, pizza or eaten on their own as well.