How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes

sun dried tomatoes in a jar next to rosemary, salt and garlic on a table

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Sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite foods. I love their concentrated, sweet tomato-ness in just about everything, and will even eat them straight when soaked in olive oil.

But at the store, they are a pricey delicacy that either come in tiny, quickly-used jars or in bags that always look over-dry and often a little moldy. So this year, I decided I would grow my own tomatoes for drying. Here’s how to make sun dried tomatoes.

Choosing Tomatoes for Sun Drying

You can use any kind of tomato for sun drying, but it’s better if you choose a low-water, meaty variety of tomato like a paste or plum tomato.

This year, I grew the San Marzano heirloom tomato in my garden as my drying tomato. San Marzano is the famous Italian tomato paste variety, and a perfect, flavorful tomato for fresh salads, saucing, canning or drying. Principe Borghese, Roma, and any cherry tomato variety are also great for drying.

Get heirloom tomato seeds and more at great prices!

sun dried tomatoes in a jar next to rosemary, salt and garlic on a table

How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes are a pricey delicacy that come in tiny jars or in bags that often look a little moldy. Here's how to make sun dried tomatoes at home.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Drying Time: 1 d 16 hrs
Total Time: 1 d 16 hrs 10 mins
Course: Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: Dairy Free, Mediterranean, Paleo, Raw Vegan, Vegan, Vegetarian
Approx. Cost: $3
Servings: 1 ounce

EQUIPMENT

Ingredients
 
 

  • 10 tomatoes, plum, paste or cherry variety
  • sea salt, to taste

Instructions
 

  • To dry your tomatoes, first cut the smaller fruits in half. Larger tomatoes will need to be cut into ½ inch slices.
  • Drain your tomatoes slightly on paper towels and scoop out any excess seeds if you wish (if you used an heirloom tomato, you can save some seeds for planting next year!)
  • Place the tomatoes on a screen or tray that allows air circulation all around the tomatoes. I use a framed window screen raised up on a few bricks to do this, but if you plan to make a lot of sun-dried tomatoes, you can easily build a simple solar dehydrator for best results.
    tomatoes drying on wooden racks in the sun
  • Lightly sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt, and place in the sunniest, hottest spot around your yard until dry. Depending on your weather conditions, this could take anywhere from four days to two weeks.
  • Cover the tomatoes with cheesecloth or another screen to keep out any flies or other critters, and provide proper ventilation. Use more bricks or a wood frame to raise the cheesecloth up so it does not directly touch the tomatoes.
  • Unless your solar dehydrating system is critter- and weather-proof, you will need to bring your tomatoes inside during the night, lest the morning dew or a random nocturnal animal undo your drying process.
    sun-dried tomatoes on a wood countertop
  • Alternatively, you can place the tomatoes on the racks of your dehydrator, leaving enough space between the pieces for the air to circulate. Dehydrate tomatoes at 105-115°F (to preserve enzymes and nutrients). This may take from 16 to 36 hours, depending on the thickness of your slices.
  • When the tomatoes are dried they should be leathery but pliable, and non-sticky. Do not over-dry.

STORAGE

  • To store your sun-dried tomatoes, let them cool completely, then put them in glass jars with an airtight lid in the fridge. They will keep this way for up to 6 months. If you need longer storage, put them in the freezer.
  • To store your tomatoes in oil, rehydrate your dried tomatoes just until a little plump by soaking them in either wine or vinegar for several minutes to an hour. Then drain them and pack them into a jar with salt, peppercorns, thyme, basil or oregano, and some garlic cloves. Fill the jar with enough olive oil to fully cover the tomatoes. Allow the jar to sit at room temperature for 4 to 8 hours, then place it in the refrigerator.

ECO FOOTPRINT

Sun Dried Tomato Recipes

Updated June 16, 2021.

21 thoughts on “How to Make Sun Dried Tomatoes”

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    1. I teach Canning and Dehydration and safe freezing classes. The heated seal type of bags are good for the freezer and extend the life of food. This works better because the seal type removed the air in the bag. Air in zip locks and other types is what gives freezer burns and lost of nutrients. If you have questions email me at my email listed below.

    1. Cherry tomatoes are great for drying! And the super sweet ones are as much a treat as any dried fruit.

  1. Britney @ The Princess & Her Cowboys

    This is awesome! I’ve always wondered what it took to make sun-dried tomatoes! I would love to have you link it up here http://www.theprincessandhercowboys.com/2013/07/on-display-monday-9.html

    Have a good one!

  2. Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick

    Thanks for sharing with the Clever Chicks- I’ll be featuring you on this week’s hop!

    Have a great week.
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

  3. Carol J. Alexander

    Oooh, this sounds so good! Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop. Please come back and visit us this week: http://everythinghomewithcarol.com/the-self-sufficient-homeacre-hop-6/

  4. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma)

    I will have lots of tomatoes to try this with in a few weeks! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Hope you enjoyed the last two week’s of giveaways!

    Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

  5. Gail @ BibleLoveNotes.com

    I’ve never dried tomatoes, but I’d like to try because the ones in the stores always have sulfites in them. Thanks for explaining the process.

  6. I love sun dried tomatoes! I end up eating them as a snack and they don’t last very long 🙂 I would love for you to share this at what i am eating http://www.townsend-house.com/2013/06/what-i-am-eating-34.html

  7. April @ The 21st Century Housewife

    How wonderful to be able to make homemade sun dried tomatoes. Thank you for sharing your method. And your Sun Dried Tomato Pesto sounds delicious – lovely and flavourful!

  8. This is perfect! Sun dried tomatoes are my list of things to do this summer! Thanks for sharing this post on FS 🙂

  9. Wow, that sundried tomato pesto sounds amazing. My tomatoes are doing well on the vine and some should be ripe by the end of the week! Can’t wait to try out your recipe!

  10. How clever! I agree with you on how the tomatoes from bags look. It’s what I usually buy, but I’m totally going to try drying some of my own with extra tomatoes from my Roma plant. Thanks for the idea!

    You should stop by and add your links to my summer recipe round up! http://lifelovelibrarianship.com/summer-recipe-round-up/

    ~Visiting from Wednesday Fresh Foods~

  11. Fantastic! I did tomatoes in my dehydrator last year and still have them. I love adding them to soups and grain pilafs. Yum!

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