View Full Version : Trouble with sun dried tomatoes
I posted this on another thread too. Just trying to figure out what I did wrong. I have a profusion of Roma tomatoes coming off the vine and was excited to make sundried tomatoes. Sliced them in half and dehydrated for a day. They were still quite "wet" so left them for another day. Well, they molded during that time. Yuk.
What did I do wrong. Do I need to slice them thinner? I was just going by what my store bought dried tomatoes look like (usually like a whole or half of a small tomato).
08-13-2005, 10:41 PM
Keep in mind that store bought SDT's are probably dried at much higher temperatures.
I've not ran into this problem yet, however, I also usually slice them thinner, like maybe 3 or 4 slices per Roma tomato.
It can take 2-3 days I've found before they are completely dry with no signs of wetness. What temp was your dehydrator set at? If under 105, maybe you could turn it up a notch as well as slice thinner next time.
08-14-2005, 05:10 AM
I am assuming that store bought are not considered raw. That was a question that I was eventualy going to post anyway because I was worried about it.
08-14-2005, 09:09 AM
sport - yes!
There are raw, packaged sun-dried tomatoes on the market. My grocers has some. Take a look at whats in your market, read the package carefully, and if in doubt contact the company with questions.
Hope you find some :)
Thanks Rawkinlocs. I appreciate the help. I have a very cheap dehydrator that does not have a temperature control so for now I just have to trust the machine. :eek: I'll try again with the next batch and I'll slice them thinner and see if that works. Do you dry them out to the same consistency as the store bought sundried tomatoes? I think I also read somewhere on this post that people then store them covered in olive oil. Is that what you do, too?
Thanks for all the help!
08-14-2005, 12:51 PM
CJB, hi :),
Perhaps your tomatoes are overcrowding the trays? They are very moist and will create quite a bit of humidity which will cause bacterial growth. I would space them far apart and not too many per tray, and possibly you will have to do them in batches, which will take longer, but be safer.
My dehydrator only has 90-degrees, 125-degrees, and 158-degrees marked! So I have to wing it to get in between those temperatures.
I use a temperature gauge -- can you get one? They are inexpensive and found at most regular supermarkets. Stick it on the tray and let the dehydrator heat up for a while, then check what it reads.
I did the same thing with my oven when I did a lot of baking, as oven temps vary wildly.
Also, once you put food in (especially very wet food like tomatoes), the temperature will go down. This leaves them in longer, creating more opportunity for spoilage. However, the temp usually will go back up, but, this may be a long time.
What I do is either have the heat level to a higher degree first, put in the food and leave it with the gauge in for 15 minutes. Then I check to see where it's at. If it's at a desireable temp, I leave it, monitoring every hour or so; if it's stayed high, I lower it.
OR, I heat it up as I prepare my vegetables to desired temp. Then I put the vegetables in and see how low it goes. I adjust it higher and then monitor.
Thanks for the tips. I'm sure I probably did overcrowd the tomatoes. I have no control on this dehydrator for temperature, however, so what it is is what it is. I'm saving up for a good one but just bought a vitamix so that's it on the appliances for now. I'll try to get a temperature gauge, though. That would be handy to know.
08-14-2005, 04:54 PM
CJB - If you just cut them in half and then tried to dehydrate them, I think they were too thick rather than being overcrowded or dried on too low of a temperature. Like Rawkinlocs said, the store bought are dried at higher temperatures and, thus, dry more quickly. No, they won't be just like store bought since they're prepared differently. You needn't submerge them in olive oil; just put in a bag or jar and save them till you use them up. If they're really dry, they'll keep in your cabinet; if slightly damp, put them in the fridge.
Thanks for the tips. I'll be trying the tomatoes out again this week.
Thanks again for the onion cracker recipe! I am making them as we speak and I KNOW they will be yummy because I'm enjoying the batter. :D
I haven't been thrilled with the dehydrated breads so far...I think the wheat berries aren't my favorite thing. I keep wondering if I could homogenize it better I might not find the taste so objectionable. It kind of has put me off making the pizza crust recipes, even though I'm dyin' fer a pizza. Any thoughts, tips, or ideas on this???
08-14-2005, 09:09 PM
Just wanted to let you know, I use my Excalibur 9 tray to sundry tomatoes frequently, like 10 to 20 jars total a year.
I cut romas in half lengthwise, mainate them in olive oil and herbs. and garlic, and dry them on a mesh sheet at 110 degrees.
No mold ever.
Sometimes my dehydrator is totally full with tomatoes, and they are actually touching each other.
They take about 3 days to dry, but I like them crispy, and then I place them in a jar, and cover with olive oil and garlic and herbs.
Then refridgerate for ever (or it seems that long)
As long as they are under the olive oil, they will be good.
So, it may be your dehydrator, you might choose to purchase or borrow a friends' thermometer and check out the temp, since yours doesn't have one.
Also, air movement is really important, you see dehydration is done by air movement, not necesairily the heat, although that does help.
08-14-2005, 09:59 PM
I think Raw Priestess had a good point on air movement and flow
along with getting a thermometer...
where is the fan at on your model?
some models have one on the bottom coming up.
Mine is an excaliber and comes from the back of the unit.
I would put the tomatoes closest to the air flow.
08-14-2005, 11:46 PM
I haven't been thrilled with the dehydrated breads so far...I think the wheat berries aren't my favorite thing. I keep wondering if I could homogenize it better I might not find the taste so objectionable. It kind of has put me off making the pizza crust recipes, even though I'm dyin' fer a pizza. Any thoughts, tips, or ideas on this???I have found the onion bread (recipe from this forum) and the pizza wrap (from Alissa's book) to be most successful. Of course, the farther away you are from expecting to replicate bread like it's known in the cooked/baked world, the happier you'll be with the concoction that we call bread in the living foods world. Some people are happy with wheat berries and other grains, but I'm not one of them. I don't use grains at all and was quite satisified with the crackers and breads made with other ingredients.
Have fun experimenting.
As the the dehumidifier...it is definitely an inexpensive model and I'm sure contributed to my lack of success. The fan is in the bottom with a hole up the center of the unit. I made onion crackers today with no trouble but I do have to switch the trays around and move the top trays to the bottom for even dehydration. Oh well, it's what I have now and I'll find ways to make it work.
The onion crackers are yummmmmy. Lovin' those. I'll have to try Alissa's pizza recipe. I'm trying to stock up on foods that will travel well as I begin some of my traveling next month. This month is the chance to make it at home and figure out what I like so that I can make it through the travels with out slipping.
Thank you for all the wonderful advice. ALWAYS appreciated. :)
08-18-2005, 08:12 PM
can you dry tomatoes out in the sun?...i don't have a dehydrator and i need sun-dried tomatoes...if so, how should u do this?
08-20-2005, 12:43 AM
I would only dry tomatoes in the sun if you live in a super hot area, or have a greenhouse or room that is super hot. ONLY because tomatoes have such a high water content, and need to dry for such a long time, one day is not enough, so they will sit out overnight, and if they get cool, you could be looking at them molding or some such thing.
Just a thought.
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