DIY: Dried Tomatoes

I almost feel guilty writing this post, because it’s so dang easy.

But still…I think it’s worth sharing.

Many people do not make their own dried tomatoes.

They buy them in the store.

Unfortunately, they are commonly stored in oil, and/or often have sulphites in very high amounts (100ppm).

And, sulphites are not our friends!

According to a study in 2009, “topical, oral or parenteral exposure to sulphites has been reported to induce a range of adverse clinical effects in sensitive individuals, ranging from dermatitis, urticaria, flushing, hypotension, abdominal pain and diarrhea to life-threatening anaphylactic and asthmatic reactions.”

The life-threatening reactions are quite rare.

Still, sulphites are something I’d rather not eat.

One time I mindlessly bought some sundried tomatoes from the health food store with sulphites, and they tasted like garbage.

Lesson learned: make my own, even if it takes a little more effort and time.

All You Need:

  • dehydrator with trays
  • 4 pounds of tomatoes – Campari and Roma work well, but any will do
  • sharp knife
  • cutting board

The Process:

  1. Gather your supplies. I use about 4 pounds of Campari tomatoes to make 1 Excalibur dehydrator tray full of dried tomatoes.
  2. Slice your Campari tomatoes in half. If using Roma tomatoes, then slice into quarters. If using cherry or grape tomatoes, just leave them whole!
  3. Place tomatoes on your dehydrator tray. The key is to place them in such a way so that the skin makes contact with the dehydrator tray. This prevents tomatoes from becoming one with the tray, and makes clean-up a breeze.
  4. Let them dehydrate at 115 degrees for 24 hours, give or take. The whole grape and cherry tomatoes take a LONG time to dry out fully. The bigger the whole piece, the longer the drying time.
  5. Every once and a while, rotate the tray so that everybody gets a chance in the back, the warmest place in the dehydrator.
  6. They are ready when they are completely dry. You really want them to go all the way dry if you will not be using them right away. I have made the mistake of leaving some moisture in the tomatoes, and they grew mold. It was very sad, because they were gorgeous Amish heirloom tomatoes I was trying to preserve.
  7. Place dried tomatoes in an airtight jar, and store in the refrigerator. Again, this part is important for mold-prevention.

Use these little guys in salad dressings, sauces, and marinara! You can even combine them in the food processor with nuts, herbs, spices, and veggies to make “meaty” bits.

Doshic Analysis

Raw tomatoes are typically a no-go, according to Ayurveda. But these are DRIED tomatoes, which are in the no-man’s-land between raw and cooked. Technically, they are raw for those who are strict on the 115 degrees or less heating rule. On the other hand, they are clearly not the same as a whole, fresh tomato with all of its water content and vitality intact.

That being said, dried tomatoes are light and DRY. They will likely increase vata, and be more soothing for pitta and kapha.

A vata predominant individual may do fine with a few dried tomatoes in a water-rich fresh raw soup, sauce, or dip. I wouldn’t encourage a vata person to eat them straight-up or put a bunch on their salad.

As always, friends, see how YOUR body responds.

Do you buy sundried tomatoes or make your own?

Let me know in the comments!

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