In Texas a sun oven can be used about 80% of the year for cooking and baking.  Sometimes it gets so hot here you could probably just toss the food outside and it would cook without an oven, stove or additional heat at all.  So what does this have to do with dehydrating tomatoes?  Everything.

Sometimes I have a batch of tomatoes that need to be preserved or eaten.  There are too many to eat and just not enough to warrant turning on the 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator.  In comes the sun oven.  Yes, you read that right, it is perfect for dehydrating or sun drying small batches of fruits and veggies.  And the tomatoes are just oh so yummy when they are sun dried while so sweet and ripe.

Here is what you will need -

A sun oven

Drying racks that will fit in your sun oven

Tomatoes

Parchment paper - I used to keep the tomatoes from sitting directly on the metal racks that came with my Global Sun Oven.

A knife for slicing tomatoes

Okay let's get this easy process started.

1.  Wash and pat dry your tomatoes

2.  check your tomatoes for any bad spots and remove them.

3.  Slice tomatoes 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick.  Remember the thinner they are the faster they will dry but too thin and they will break when you handle them dry.

4.  If you have a metal drying rack cover with parchment paper or some other form of paper you can poke holes in to allow the air to flow through but still prevent sticking.  You do not want to use a paper towl or anything like that.

5.  Once you have your tomatoes on the racks this is a good time to set up the sun oven if you don't have it set up.  Remember you aren't cooking so don't preheat it. 

6.  Make sure the sun oven is not facing into the sun like when you are cooking you want to keep the temps low so you can dehdyrate and not cook.

 

7.  Place your drying racks in the sun oven and close the door.  I do not latch the door to allow for heat to escape.  Like I said Texas sun can be brutal and it can quickly reach 250 degrees in my sun oven when not even trying.

 

8.  Now leave it in there for about 30 - 50 hours depending on the type of tomatoes, the moisture in them and the temps outside.

Nope, not ready yet....

Yep, those are dry.

9.  Be sure to check them every few hours and as they begin to dry rotate the racks becuase the ones on the top rack will usually dry faster.  I remove the ones that get dry faster and then condense racks as necessary.

10.  When the sun goes down you do not need to remove your tomatoes, simply latch the sun oven door closed to keep out any critters that may want in and when the sun comes up open the latches again and and start over.  The batch shown took about 40 hours for all of the tomatoes to dry but the amish paste being more meaty and less water took just over 20 hours.

Store your dried tomatoes in a mason jar in a cool, dark place or seal them in mylar bags for longer term storage.

Don't be surpised if your family eats them right out of the jar before you have a chance to use them for cooking.

To rehydrate simply place in a bowl and cover with warm water until plump.  Cool water will work also it just takes a little longer.

And remember -

Live, Love, Laugh, Learn....homestead.

 

 

 

 

 

Tip:  These could be re-hydrated in an emergency to make a paste also or added to soups.  Use your imagination, the uses for these things are many. 

Want to dehydrate 9 trays of fruits, vegetables, meats and more all at the same time just like Christine does? Go to Excalibur and get your very own Excalibur Dehydrator now.