The sun is essential for life on Planet Earth and it’s a symbol of life. As a celestial furnace, not only the sun nourishes plant life, but it could also help us to preserve food. Fortunately, we lose much of the benefits of the sun during winter, so we need to take full advantage during summer to sundry our food, including water-rich ingredients, like tomatoes. Although you can use kiln and over to dry tomatoes, sun is a free source of energy. If the weather forecast promises at least a week of sunny days, you can easily sundry a large batch of tomatoes for your winter supply. If you know how to sundry your tomatoes and other foodstuff, it can be a great convenience. Sundrying your food is a good thing to do during large harvest in your area, when prices of certain foodstuff are at the lowest.
Food dehydrator can be used to dry your food quicker, but it’s actually less convenient if you plan to dry a large batch of ingredients. Preparation for sundrying a large batch of tomatoes, grapes and other water-rich ingredients is actually quite easy:
- Choose tomatoes with the best quality. Make sure that tomatoes are firm and not too ripe. Tomatoes that you choose shouldn’t have blemishes and bruises. It’s better to choose tomato varieties that are typically made as paste, like Plum and Rome. They are meatier and have lower water content. If you choose salad tomatoes, you should scoop out the seed and use paper towel to absorb excess water.
- Cut the stems and slice tomatoes. Mandolin slicer could work well in producing nice slices with similar thickness. This will help your tomatoes to get dry faster.
- Prepare the drying area. Make sure that the area is exposed to sunlight from dawn to dusk. One day before the drying process, you need to clean the surrounding area and spray all surfaces with water to remove dirt and dust. Again, you should be sure that the weather will be sunny for at least a week with no or few clouds.
- Use non-stick tray. With non-stick tray, you can remove dried tomato slices more easily. If you choose tray with sticky surface, dry slices could crumble easily.
- Choose the right time: The best time to start drying your tomato slices is when the morning dew has completely evaporated, leaving all surfaces fully dry. You can stop the drying process when tomato slices are no longer exposed to sunlight.
- Repeat the next day: If the sunlight is bright enough, tomato slices may still have slightly soft consistency. You will need to repeat the drying process the next day. In some cases, three days are enough for drying all the slices.
After tomato slices are completely dry, you should keep them inside sealed plastic bags. You can place it inside the fridge, so they can be preserved further. Dried tomatoes can be used for salad, pizza, soup and other dishes. The same method can be used for various fruits as well, like grapes, pineapple, and plum.