Sun Dried Tomatoes

Sun Dried Tomatoes

My youngest son wanted to grow tomatoes this year, so we have two plants in our garden. With the very wet spring we had, the plants did well and are now producing lots of fruit—more than we eat. I don’t eat raw tomatoes at all and while the rest of the family does eat them, they don’t eat a lot. I’ve given away some, but many people have their own plants or a neighbor who does. That left me thinking about how I could use the tomatoes. I didn’t want to get into canning or really anything that was a lot of work. I settled on trying to make sun dried tomatoes.

I’ll let you in on a secret right away—they were not dried in the sun, but in my oven. If you have a dehydrator that’s even better. Despite the fact that it was a hot August day, I didn’t notice the oven being on all day (about 9 hours) because it was set at 200 degrees. I’m sure it made some difference in the house, but it wasn’t noticeable.

Since I’m not a big tomato eater, I have never eaten sun dried tomatoes. Therefore, I’m not exactly sure what they are supposed to be like. I’m hoping I have dried them enough. I read instructions at several sites, all of which differed slightly, and ended up doing the following.

First, I cut the tomatoes in half, removed the stem part, and took out the seeds. I used my finger to scoop out the seeds and the liquidy part they are in.

Cut Tomato

Next, I cut the tomatoes in half again, cutting parallel to the last cut. This left me with slices that were about 3/4 inch thick. I then removed more seeds that the second cut exposed.

sliced tomato

Then I laid the slices on cookie sheets that were sprayed with non-stick spray. I lightly brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt. For some, I added garlic powder and dried basil to the oil.

tomatoes on baking sheet

Finally, I baked the trays at 200 degrees for about 9 hours. After about 7 hours I started removing some of the smallest pieces and I kept an eye on them over the next two hours, removing pieces as they were done. By done I mean that they looked sufficiently shrunk and darkened, but not black. I expected them to be more dry, but that might be because of the oil.

I stored the tomatoes in a zip lock freezer bag. I removed most of the air by using a straw, and placed the bag in the freezer so we can enjoy tomatoes later in the year.

If you’re a fan of sun dried tomatoes, I’d love to hear from you. Have you made them yourself? What is your favorite use for them?

Check out Tutorial Tuesday for more step by step instructions on doing things, and be sure to visit The W.H.O.L.E. Gang for more tomato recipes.

About Linda Etherton

Linda has been gluten free since 2000 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease which propelled me into the world of gluten-free cooking and baking. I am convinced that gluten-free food can and should be delicious, and I never apologize for serving it.
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  1. Hey, this is a great idea! I can't believe I didn't think of it. I've been racking my brain trying to think up good uses for my overabundance of tomatoes this year. I am officially inspired. Yours look great – just the color and texture that they should.

  2. Cheryl says:

    That's wonderful! I may try that as I don't think I'll have time to can as I had hoped.

  3. I use sun-dried tomatoes all the time! Wow 9 hours is a LONG time – you have a lot of patience! I have never made them myself…

  4. I just discovered the joy of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, and have been so excited to make my own this summer as my tomatoes ripen! It seems like a pretty easy process.
    What recipes do you like to put them in? My favorite recipe right now is a GF sun-dried tomato/kalamata olive focaccia bread.

  5. m a m a :: m i l i e u says:

    I have a baby foodie site and think that your blog is super resourceful–I have added you to my gluten-free links…I think that it will be super helpful for those moms who visit.

    Thank you!
    Joni :)

  6. thewholegang says:

    Wow, they look great! Thank you for sharing this. I'm definitely going to give this a try. What type of tomato did you use? I wonder what different tomatoes would taste like dried? I love to cook with sun dried tomatoes but usually in the winter when the fresh ones are not fresh. These will be a Secret Ingredient one week on Friday Foodie Fix. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Diane, Unfortunately I can't tell you what kind they are. One plant my son got from someone who didn't know what kind it was. The other I bought, but I lost the name information and have forgotten. They are a medium size tomato. I don't think it would work well with really big ones. A couple of sites recommended using Romas.

    • I have a grape tomato plant and the tomatoes aren’t this big. Looks more like a roma to me.

      • Sandy, those are not grape tomatoes in the picture. I tried grape tomatoes for the first time today and they turned out great.

  8. Hi Linda,

    I have a post for you on "What can I eat?"

    Wasn't sure how you go about this, so could you email me or just post it here?

    Thanks so much

  9. These look great! I have a few tomatoes from the garden that I think I'll try doing this with. Thanks for sharing the idea.

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