Sun dried tomatoes are so expensive in the market and they’re expensive for a reason. It’s because they are so special; they are so delicious, and fantastic, and amazing. But, it’s not that hard to make them. In fact, they are incredibly easy to make.
Ok, so my method is not technically “sun-dried” but unless you are willing to build a real “sun-dried” contraption, it’s the best method out there.
If you have a dehydrator, it makes monitoring them much easier however you don’t need a dehydrator to make them. Before I bought my dehydrator, I used the oven. Using the oven makes it a little more difficult to monitor them because even the lowest temperature in the oven is higher than a dehydrator, but if you don’t have a dehydrator using the oven is an acceptable alternative. You will heat your oven to the lowest temperature possible. Mine is 200F.
Aside from eating them, the best part of making sun dried tomatoes is the wine. You want to buy the biggest, cheapest bottle of red wine that you can find, I buy Chianti because I love chianti but you can use whatever wine you want. The roma tomato slices will soak in wine for 24-48 hours. Yes, this step is absolutely necessary. The red wine adds a wonderful oaky flavor to the sweetness of the tomato slices.
You don’t want to throw all the wine out after the tomato slices are done soaking because you can rehydrate some slices that may have gotten over-dried in that same batch of wine. I had to do this quite a bit when I used the oven for drying but with the dehydrator I found that my tomato slices didn’t get over-dried.
When the tomato slices are cooled enough to package, I package them in ½ cup servings and freeze them. I used to store them in oil but they don’t last as long as when you freeze them in small serving sizes. Trust me, it hurts to throw out a jar of beautiful sun dried tomatoes because the oil turned rancid.
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Roma Tomatoes sliced into 1/4” slices (as many as will fill your dehydrator)
Biggest, cheapest bottle of red wine you can find (I prefer Chianti)
- Slice roma tomatoes into ¼” thick slices. In the largest bowl you have, add the tomato slices (you may have to split them into two, or even three, bowls). Pour the wine over the tomatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and make sure the plastic is touching the top of the tomato & wine mixture. Let the tomatoes soak for 24 – 48 hours.
- Lay tomato slices in a single layer on your dehydrator trays (or baking sheets if you are using the oven).
- Sprinkle with sea salt and Italian seasoning.
- Dry the tomatoes until they are dry but still pliable. With a dehydrator it may take several days. With an oven set at its lowest setting it will take 12-18 hours.
- As the slices are finished drying (some slices will dry faster than others) place the slices in a large jar to cool and dry from condensation.
- Once all the tomato slices are finished drying and cooling, separate them in ½ cup servings and freeze.