Preserving the Taste of Summertime Tomatoes
If you’re like me, you only eat fresh tomatoes when they’re in-season, vine ripened, and just picked. Compare the bright flavor of summer tomatoes to the anemic taste of off-season, hothouse tomatoes and there’s no contest!
Want to preserve this incomparable summertime taste? Consider dehydrating them. Similar to when sun dried, dehydrated tomatoes contain an intense burst of flavor and color. If you grow your own garden I suggest planting extra grape tomatoes and/or cherries just for this purpose. If you don’t have your own bumper crop, see if a local farm or market will sell you them in quantity at a discount.
To preserve, simply cut in half and dehydrate at 135° until almost dry. I prefer to keep them a bit moist and store in the freezer. Dry completely if you prefer to store them in your pantry, otherwise they may grow mold. In either case, cool the dehydrated tomatoes completely before placing in glass mason jars with tight fitting lids. Try to fight the urge to eat these tasty jewels before they even make it to the pantry or freezer!
Although a bit pricy, Excalibur makes an excellent line of dehydrators. They even offer the option of stainless steel shelves. I upgraded to an Excalibur a few years ago and love that their models include a fan, timer, and adjustable thermostat.