Preserving The Harvest: Dehydrated DICED Tomatoes

By Tammy Taylor

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This summer has been pretty weird, garden wise. After suffering 3 consecutive years of gripping drought we got a little rain this year. Oh don’t get me wrong, we’re STILL in the drought and suffering from below-normal rainfall but at least rains have come sporadically this year. But here’s the crazier weird thing: we had hordes of grasshoppers the likes I’ve never seen before.  They swooped in like a plague, sweeping through in clouds of flying hoppers & stripping each & every leaf off of most of my garden and then devouring any sprouting leaves that try to recover thus killing the plant entirely.

Even my apple trees were stripped completely bare of leaves as well as many bushes in the yard and almost all of my garden. But for some reason the grasshoppers didn’t eat the tomatoes, so that blessing coupled with at least a little rainfall meant my tomatoes produced like gangbusters.  I only planted two tomato bushes (of course my favorite heirloom San Marzanos) but they’ve produced even more heavily than they usually do. I’ve frozen them and cooked them into tomato sauce and canned pasta sauce. I’ve dehydrated the skins for tomato powder and even made tomato leather for pizza. But what about dehydrating them into diced tomatoes to use for my endless soup this winter? Hummm…

Preserving The Harvest: Dehydrating DICED Tomatoes. #TaylorMadeHomestead

First I harvested the basketful of ripe tomatoes from the garden and brought those beauties inside, washed them and allowed them to air dry. When I was ready to begin processing I cut each tomato in half and seeded them. It’s wonderful for this lazy efficient harvester that these San Marzanos can be cut & seeded in just about 10 seconds each, so this step didn’t take long at all. I didn’t bother removing the skins this time for two reasons: First: let’s admit it, I’m lazy in the kitchen.  Second: if I were cooking with fresh tomatoes and dropping them into my soups, etc. I wouldn’t remove the skins anyway.

I’ve used my little household dehydrator for years and although it worked fine I now have an * Excalibur dehydrator and I absolutely LOVE it since I can now easily dehydrate large amounts of produce at one time.  My manual instructs me to dehydrate these beauties at 155 degrees for 8-12 hours, until leathery or brittle. Of course it also instructed me to first remove 1/2″ from the top, steam until tender, cool, peel & cut into 1/4″ slices or 1/8″ cubes but you know being the kitchen rebel that I am I didn’t. Although I didn’t do any of those preparation steps except the dicing, I think they’ll be perfect for my use. I dehydrated mine just under 12 hours and they were about right for me.

Preserving The Harvest: Dehydrating DICED Tomatoes. #TaylorMadeHomestead
After they were dehydrated I gathered them up and placed them in a couple of glass jars. I’ll leave them on my counter top for about a week with the lid propped on top but not screwed on.  Each day I’ll shake the contents of the jar in case there’s just a little residual moisture in my dehydrated tomatoes.  If that moisture is allowed to stay it will start to mold and destroy the whole jar of dehydrated produce.  By leaving the lid loose and shaking the contents daily I will distribute that moisture and allow it to evaporate.

Yeah, I feel a little like SUPERWOMAN of the kitchen as my cape flaps gently in the breeze & I steel my jaw to declare “Must.  Defeat.  Mold.”  Oh yeah, you’ve discovered my  super-secret secondary profession.  After about a week I’ll seal the jars tight and store them in my pantry.

Preserving The Harvest: Dehydrating DICED Tomatoes. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Can you believe how little room those several pounds of tomatoes take now? I’ll use them similarly to the canned diced tomatoes I used to buy – either rehydrating them for recipes that call for a can of diced tomatoes or if I’m making endless soup I’ll just drop them into the simmering broth along with the other dehydrated veggies I like to add.  I’m so happy that my garden has supplied me with healthy food that’s replaced items I used to have to buy.

~TMH~

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33 thoughts on “Preserving The Harvest: Dehydrated DICED Tomatoes

  1. Helen at the Lazy Gastronome

    I never thought about dehydrating tomatoes – yet I love the sundried – Great post! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’m able to drop ’em into simmering soups all winter long, Helen. Perfection! ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Monica

    I’m really jealous of that dehydrator! That’s awesome. I don’t have anything like that so I’ll be baking my overflowing garden tomatoes for my daughter’s school lunches (& more). 🙂

    Reply
  3. Lisa M

    I so want one of those dehydrators! It’s amazing how much you can fit in a little space after dehydrating. Great post! Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you’ll join us this week too! Lisa

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Exactly Lisa. And I use much of my dehydrated produce when simmering soups in the winter so I don’t even have an extra step to rehydrate since they are dropped directly into the simmering broth – they rehydrate right in the soup.

      Reply
  4. Tiffany

    I would love to try dehydrating tomatoes! We have a small yard, but I think we’re going to try some raised beds next year. There’s nothing I love more than going out to the backyard and harvesting food for the table! Thanks for sharing with us at the Merry Monday Link Party! Hope to see you again on Sunday night!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Going out to the yard and freshly harvesting for your table is one of the true blessings of gardening, huh Tiffany? Love it.

      Reply
  5. Susie at Oui Crochet

    Ooh! I love this! I wouldn’t have thought to dice the tomatoes to have on hand. I was totally thinking soup! lol Good tip on shaking the jar!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Not gonna lie Susie, I did the soup too. And pasta sauce, tomato sauce and tomato leather. It was a BUMPER crop year for tomatoes! ~TMR~

      Reply
  6. Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai

    I love tomatoes, and so often you get more than you can use at one time. This is an awesome tip. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty 🙂 Hope to see you again next week. ~Lorelai Life With Lorelai

    Reply
  7. Erlene

    No tomatoes for us this year 🙁 We had freak snow here and it killed our plants. Maybe next year we’ll be able to give this a try.

    Reply
  8. Jenna

    This is great, I need to try it out. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Hope to see you again this week.

    Reply
  9. Terri Presser

    This sounds fantastic, I never would have thought of it. I am hopefully getting a bigger dehydrator for my birthday maybe not an excalibur because they are $500 here. I normally bottle my tomatoes, pumpkin and such but you have inspired me. Blessings to you.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I’ve seen some higher-end Excalibur dehydrators that were well out of our budget Terry, but the one I bought was under $200 –> http://amzn.to/1CmaRJv (affiliate link) Might want to check out their different models. I’ve had many household dehydrators before and finally saved up & bought my Excalibur and I must say, it was money well spent! ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Terri Presser

        I will definitely have a look, thank you for the advice and thanks for linking up at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

        Reply
  10. Kristina & Millie

    What an awesome idea, these seem more useful than the rings, I never knew what to do with those. Or the powder for that matter. I can see soups and chilli’s in these tomatoes futures. Thanks for linking up to Snickerdoodle Sunday.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Yes, this was my first time to try them diced and they’ve already made guest appearances in many homemade soups & recipes. I’ll be doing this from now on for sure. ~TMR~

      Reply
  11. Angi @ SchneiderPeeps

    Those look wonderful. I dehydrate a lot of tomatoes but haven’t done diced tomatoes yet. Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday; hope to see you again this week.

    Reply
  12. Chrystal @ YUM eating

    I have done a lot of prep with tomatoes but have never dried them. I guess many because I am not a fan of sun dried tomatoes so this makes me feel like it would be similar. I still find it really interesting. Thanks for sharing with us at The Yuck Stops Here.

    Reply
  13. Amanda @ The Kolb Corner

    I’ve never thought to dehydate tomatoes. Unfortunately my plants didn’t produce much this year, but there is always next year! Thank you for sharing such helpful information with us at the Merry Monday Link Party!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Amanda, I’m not really sure why my tomatoes produced so heavily this year, but what a blessing! ~TMR~

      Reply
  14. Annie

    Great post! I love to dehydrate everything I can get my hands on and while I’ve dehydrated sliced tomatoes, sun dried cherry tomatoes and made tomato powder, I have never done diced tomatoes. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  15. Rhonda Crank

    Thanks for such a helpful article. I have thought about dehydrating my tomatoes for years, but have never been sure about how it would work. They are the one garden fruit I don’t dehydrate. I will be doing it next year though. Thanks again, Rhonda

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh Rhonda, I’ve never had as many garden tomatoes as I have this year, I’m putting them ALL to good use, I refuse to waste any of them! Give it a try, I think you’ll like it. ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      They’ll certainly be put to good use Colleen, I won’t let those luscious garden tomatoes to go waste. ~TMR~

      Reply

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