Preserving the Harvest, Drying Tomatoes

I don’t know about you, but our garden is exploding with tomatoes this time of year. A few years ago, I planted an heirloom tomato, that I think is called Tiger Tomato. It didn’t do well that first year but this year, those tomato plants are producing really well. I also planted Roma tomatoes which have done well, but far less than the Tiger Tomato.

How to dry tomatoes to preserve them to use later | Frugal Family Home

When I end up with so many tomatoes, I like to preserve them for later. I never end up with enough to really can a bunch. We don’t have that big of a garden, but I do freeze the tomatoes and dry them to use later.

I tried drying the tomatoes with the skins on in the past, but I didn’t like them as well. So, I usually will peel the tomatoes and then dry them. It’s a little extra work, but I like the way the peel tomatoes turn out better.

Peeling the Tomatoes

Cut a little x in the bottom of the tomato to make it easier to peel | Frugal Family Home

I find the easiest way to peel the tomatoes is cut a small x in the bottom of the tomato. Then dip them into boiling water for about 30 seconds. As soon as the skins split,  place them in an ice water bath to cool them down.

The ice bath after boiling the tomatoes helps to cool them down quickly | Frugal Family Home

The skins slip right off and the tomatoes are ready to go. You can just peel them if you like too. But I find I lose more tomato that way. Don’t throw away the skins. I found a use for them, make tomato powder with them.

The peels slip right off after the water bath | Frugal Family Home

Once the tomatoes are peeled, I quarter or slice them, depending on their size. The Roma tomatoes usually do well quartered but some of the bigger tomatoes I will slice. Sometimes I will remove the seeds other times I just leave them. Either way, with or without seeds works, it just depends on your preference.

Make sure to slice the tomatoes evenly so they dry well | Frugal Family Home

Then into the dehydrator they go. I have an Excalibur Dehydrator and an American Harvest Dehydrator (both affiliate links) they both work well, but I do find that the Excalibur is easier to remove the food from the trays, because they are flexible.

Storing the Dried Tomatoes

How to dry tomatoes in a dehydrator | Frugal Family Home

I like to make sure the tomatoes are really dry, with no pockets of moisture at all. I hate to have a bunch of tomatoes go bad because I didn’t dry them long enough. Once the tomatoes are completely dry, I store them in a vacuumed sealed bag or canning jar with an oxygen absorbers (affiliate link). They keep really well this way. They can also be stored in the freezer too.

I use the dried tomatoes in soups, stews and sauces. You can also make tomato paste with the dried tomatoes by grinding the tomatoes in a blender or spice grinder, to a fine powder and then adding enough water to get to the right consistency.

How do you like to preserve your tomatoes?


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13 thoughts on “Preserving the Harvest, Drying Tomatoes”

  1. I canned 30 some pints of salsa with tomatoes from my garden, and then made tomato sauce in my slow cooker. I have 12 cups of tomato sauce frozen in my freezer. There are still tomatoes on my vines so I should probably figure out what I’m going to do with those. I wish I had a food dehydrator. Someday!

  2. You’re so resourceful, Shelly. 🙂 We have a food dehydrator, but it’s in the basement. I need to start using it again one day, but at the moment, we’re lacking counter space for it.

    I think once my little ones are a bit older, I’ll have more time to be creative in the kitchen. I feel like I already spend at least half of my day in there, but it’s to get basic meals cooked and to take care of the endless amount of dishes that fill the sink.

  3. What a nice idea! I don’t have a garden, but we have received some tomatoes from our CSA this year. We never get enough to make a sauce with, but we can’t eat them all before they go bad. I might have to try drying them one day.

  4. Yum. These look delicious. I love the idea of grinding them and adding water to make paste. Never thought of that. My tomato yield was lacking but I’m heading to the farmers market tomorrow for apples. Now I’m thinking I need to buy some plum tomatoes too!
    Thanks Shelly.

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