Learning how to make sun-dried tomatoes is a very essential act when cooking with tomatoes. Drying your tomatoes is not only super easy and affordable, but it also tastes much better than the ones bought from a store.
There is this additional taste, and flavor that comes with sun-dried tomatoes. The perfect time to add tomatoes to your meals is when they are in season.
Let’s teach you all you need to know about tomatoes and how to dry them in the sun.
1. About Tomatoes
A tomato is a fruit that grows well in the right climates. This fruit has a lot of benefits to the body system with its nutritional components helping the skin and the heart.
It might interest you to know that adding tomatoes to your diet can:
- Help maintain healthy blood pressure
- Protect the body against cancer
- Reduce the glucose in those suffering from diabetes
Tomatoes contain carotenoids which help to protect the eyes from light-related problems. You should cultivate the habit of eating more tomatoes by adding them to sandwiches and sauces. Don’t forget to always wash tomatoes before eating.
2. Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Tomatoes are highly nutritious with a lot of benefits to the body. The more tomatoes you take, the more risk of having heart-related and diabetes diseases reduces.
The health benefits of tomatoes depend on the different types and sizes. This includes raw tomatoes, puree, cherry tomatoes, and stewed tomatoes. For instance, cherry tomatoes contain high beta-carotene than normal tomatoes.
These are some of the health benefits associated with tomatoes:
2.1. Skin Health
Tomatoes contain vitamin C which produces collagen; a very important component of the skin. When there is no adequate amount of vitamin C present in the body, it can lead to scurvy.
It can also lead to wrinkles, blemishes, and different effects on skin health.
2.2. Heart Health
Tomatoes contain potassium, fiber, and vitamin C which is very important to heart health. When you take in more potassium than sodium, it decreases the risk of any kind of cardiovascular disease.
The folate contained in tomatoes helps to balance the homocysteine level of the body. Folate helps to manage homocysteine which reduces the risk of heart disease.
A high intake of potassium also helps to protect the muscles, and bone mineral density and also decreases the number of kidney stones produced in the body.
2.3. Preventing Cancer
Since tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C, it is safe to conclude that they help fight the formation of free radicals that causes cancer.
When you take a high level of beta-carotene in your body, it prevents the development of prostate cancer. It is the lycopene contained in tomatoes that gives them their red color. This lycopene is a plant compound that is associated with prostate cancer prevention.
Tomato contains fiber and a lot of water which helps to keep the body hydrated and also helps in bowel movements.
Fiber helps to reduce constipation. So, it is very important to include fiber in your diet.
People with diabetes are advised to include tomatoes in their diet as it contains high fiber that helps to lower blood glucose level.
It was recommended by the American Diabetes Association that women should consume about 25g of fiber every day and about 38g of fiber for men every day.
3. What are Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Sun-dried tomatoes are tomatoes that are void of moisture. The moisture has been removed to produce a natural and sweet flavor. Sun-dried tomatoes can also be referred to as tomatoes that have lost about 90% of their weight during the drying process.
They, however, lose most of the water contained in them but they retain their sweetness and the necessary nutrients needed for the body.
Sun-dried tomatoes have an incredibly delicious taste and it is perfect to use when you want your dish to have an exceptional flavor.
4. How to make Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun-dried tomatoes can be used in the preparation of different kinds of dishes. Therefore, it is important to know how to make sun-dried tomatoes.
Here are the ingredients needed to make sun-dried tomatoes;
- Olive Oil: If you do not have plans of using all of your sun-dried tomatoes, it is very important to add olive oil into a jar to help in preservation. Olive oil is known to help sun-dried tomatoes stay fresh.
- Sea Salt: Sea salt is one very important ingredient in sun-drying tomatoes because it helps to bring out the delicious taste.
All you need to do is to sprinkle your desired amount of salt on the tomatoes and be careful not to add too much salt.
- Fresh tomatoes: This is the main ingredient to make sun-dried tomatoes. You can make use of cherry, grape, or any tomato of your choice.
There are different ways to dry tomatoes. You can either use the sun, oven, or dehydration method.
4.1. How to Dry Tomatoes with the Sun
If you stay in a warm area, the sun-drying method is the best when it comes to making tomatoes dry
1. The first thing to do is to slice the tomato in half and place them on a flat surface.
2. The next thing to do is to lightly sprinkle the sea salt on the tomatoes and place it directly under the sun.
This method requires an area with consistently warm temperatures and dry air. If you live in a humid area, you are bound to face challenges when making sun-dried tomatoes.
The intensity of the sun also depends on how long it will take for your tomatoes to dry up. Homemade sun-dried tomatoes are the easiest to make.
4.2. How to Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes in the Oven
Follow these steps to sun-dry tomatoes in an oven;
1. The first thing you need to do is to prepare your tomatoes for drying. Cut the tomatoes into half and place them on a baking sheet and lightly season with salt.
2. Place the tomatoes in the oven and slow roast for about 2 to 3 hours. You have to be really patient with this method.
3. Keep the heat low and roast until they’ve reached your desired dryness. Be sure to keep your eyes on the tomatoes so they don’t get burnt.
4. Once your tomatoes are dried to your taste, it is time to serve or store them.
Unlike the sun drying method, the oven drying method helps you to take charge of your drying.
It also allows you to control the oven temperature. Oven-dried tomatoes taste as good as one dried with the natural sun.
4.3. How to Make Sun-Dried Tomatoes with a Dehydrator
Using a dehydrator to dry your tomatoes is just like using an oven for the process.
1. The first thing to do is to place the sliced part facing up on the dehydrator tray
2. Then you should set the dehydrator temperature to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Flip the tomatoes over after about a few hours. Continue till the tomatoes are dried up.
The disadvantage of this method is the noise generated by the dehydrator.
5. How to Store Sun-Dried Tomatoes
There are ways you can store your dried tomatoes. They include;
In this method, you’ll spread out the dried tomatoes on a baking sheet or plate. Then, keep them in the freezer till the tomatoes are completely frozen. You can now transfer the tomatoes to a freezer bag and freeze them for a longer period.
You just have to keep them in a small container and sprinkle olive oil until the tomatoes are completely soaked. Then, secure the lid the seal and refrigerate for 3 days.
6. How to Use Sun-Dried Tomatoes
You should try out these easy homemade tomato recipes for a delicious meal.
1. Preheat the oven to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking sheet and parchment paper in one layer of the oven.
2. Cut the tomatoes into half and place them, on the baking sheet.
3. After they must have been baked to your desired dryness, remove them from the oven.
4. You can add seasonings such as garlic or herbs to taste.
5. You can use dried tomatoes;
- Pasta Salad
- Compound butter
- Tomato bread
7. How to Re-Moisturize Sun-Dried Tomatoes
If you’d love to rehydrate your dried tomatoes, just soak them in warm water for about 20 to 30 minutes until they are soft. Then you can remove them from the water and dab them with paper towels.
Do not be quick to discard the tomato-soaking water. You can use it to prepare your delicious soup or stew.
8. How to Make Sun-Dried tomatoes in Oil
You can add olive oil to your dried tomatoes as it will make them plump and perfect for salad dressings, pasta, and the like.
Follow these steps:
1. Look for glass jars with tight-fitting lids
2. Rehydrate the dried tomatoes for about 20 minutes and dab them with a paper towel to dry.
3. To prevent bacterial growth, dunk tomatoes in wine or lemon juice before adding them to oil
4. Gather the tomatoes in the jar and season with herbs or garlic. Then pour the oil into the jar till the tomatoes are completely drenched. Then, seal tightly with the lid.
5. You should wait for about 24 hours before making use of the tomatoes. This is because the flavors take time to improve.
6. You should keep the jar in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage.
9. In the End
It doesn’t matter the method you choose to dry your tomatoes. Bear in mind that not all tomatoes will dry at the same rate. Don’t forget that storing your sun-dried tomatoes in the refrigerator will help increase their shelf life.
We are sure that with these tips, we’ve been able to satisfy your curiosity about how to make sun-dried tomatoes. Do well to share this information and leave a comment below. Best regards!