Dehydrate cherry tomatoes to preserve the garden bounty in the summer. Use them to make this awesome DIY Sun-Dried Tomato hack all year long!
Do you plant more cherry or grape tomato plants thinking you'll never have enough, then find yourself with those tiny tomatoes flooding your kitchen during the height of harvesting?
Here's a simple way to preserve those tiny sweet globes of goodness and keep them for use all year long!
How to Dehydrate Cherry Tomatoes
This works so well on most small tomatoes such as cherry, grape, Roma, Sun Gold, Super Sweet 100's, etc.
Dehydrator Directions Tips:
Wash and remove any debris and over-ripe tomatoes.
Fun tip: I soak mine in my OXO salad spinner, dump the water into my garden, then spin them to help dry them more quickly. They aren't damaged and it helps remove that excess water making them more slippery when cutting (though, after the 5th one...there's no chance things are staying dry!).
Cut tomatoes in half (half again if needed)
Place on dehydrator trays skin side down. It can be helpful, but not necessary, to put a fruit leather sheet or parchment paper down on top of your tray to protect from any juice.
This is important because you want as much surface area to be exposed to release that moisture (especially if you are putting these on fruit leather sheets), and to help mitigate sticking.
Dry at 125°F/52°C for 10-18+ hours
Store in airtight container for up to a year. Tomatoes have a shorter shelf-life because of the acids in them, so be sure to remember to mark them to rotate through a little more quickly.
How to Dry Tomatoes in the Oven
- Cut in half
- Place tomato halves skin-side down on parchment-lined cookie sheets
- Dry in an oven at its lowest setting - or 170°F - leaving the door cracked with a heat-proof spoon or silicone pad if possible.
- Dry for 4-8 hours being careful to look for signs of overdrying/browning/burning of tomatoes
- Store in an airtight container for up to one year
Uses for Dry Tomatoes
- Toss into any salad for a sweet bite
- Eat as snacks on their own - they are yummy like raisins or dried cranberries!
- Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes (see recipe card below for instructions)
- Throw into spaghetti sauce, stews, chilis, or casseroles for some texture
- Chop and add to bread, muffins, etc.
- Add to any pasta dish
- As a topping on pizza
- Mix into scrambled eggs
- Create savory muffins by mixing Italian seasonings and chopped dried tomatoes and sausage into a basic muffin recipe
- Rehydrate in good olive oil, salad dressing, or even water to add to sandwiches and salads without the chewier texture of just dried.
- Make sun-dried tomato pesto
- Chop into smaller pieces and add to hummus
- Powder and make a scrumptious sandwich spread.
- Related: How to Make and Use Tomato Powder
Watch how I dry them and make 'sun-dried' tomatoes in oil.
Commonly Asked Questions
Approximately 8-12 months for best results. The acids in tomatoes give them a shorter shelf-life than other dehydrated foods.
While this is the suggestion for best results, you may find that you get much more time out of yours!
Sun Gold, Super Sweet 100's, grape, plum, cherry, Roma (though time will be longer with Romas).
Any dehydrator will work, though you really want to use one with temperature control, if possible. It gives you more control on the quality of food you produce. I happened to use a Cosori dehydrator in this tutorial, but also use Nesco and Excalibur dehydrators. I have created a resource that helps you decide what is the best dehydrator for you and your budget.
Unfortunately, it's not the safest means of storing.
Here's why: “Oil may protect botulism organisms trapped in a water droplet. Furthermore, the oil may have a deleterious effect on lid gaskets and at least one manufacturer of home canning lids recommends against it.”
Depending on the oil you used, the white is actually the oil solidifying in the cold of your refrigerator. Simply place your jar in a bowl of warm water (not hot, thermal shock is a thing), and allow it to warm the oil back up, and it will liquefy again.
Simmer them on the stove gently before using to help. Sometimes, they just need a little heat to open up the cells and soften up.
Dehydrate Cherry Tomatoes and other small tomato varieties
- Small tomato of your choice
- Rinse and choose tomatoes
- Cut in half or quarters depending on size of tomato
- Place on dehydrator trays skin side down
- Dry at 125°F / 52°C for 10-18+ hours
- Follow above directions except:
- Use the lowest setting on your oven (below 200F). Watch for over browning
- After conditioning, place dried tomato pieces into a container of your choice.
- Cover completely in olive oil.
- Store in the fridge for up to three days.
- Use as you would any sun-dried tomato product.