Oh, to save and savor the tastes of summer! Bottle up the bounty before the crisp autumn mornings arrive. Gather the garden goodness and frantically freeze or dehydrate any extras. Are you getting the picture? The race is on!
There is no better way, in my opinion, to preserve tomatoes than dehydrating. The flavors are intensified, the tomatoes can be stored at room temperature rather than in the freezer, and – because they shrink down to little heavenly crisps – I can hide them from my family so there’s more left for me. Just kidding … sort of.
Here’s my Tomato Chip technique.
Starting with 5+ pounds of organic heirloom tomatoes: I washed, dried and cored them then sliced thinly. This can be challenging but try to slice them no more than 1/4-inch thick.
Place in a single layer on your dehydrator trays and sprinkle lightly with unrefined salt such as Celtic Sea Salt. You can also top with finely minced fresh herbs at this point. Oregano, thyme and basil would be perfect! Freshly-ground pepper would be a nice touch, too.
For optimal storage, dehydrate the slices until they are crispy. Test by removing a sample and allowing it to come to room temperature. If it is still leathery or pliable, the remaining moisture content will have a negative effect on shelf-life. You don’t want mold to form so go for crispy-dry!
With a basic dehydrator, the dehydrating time will vary from 8 to 24 hours, possibly longer if the tomatoes are not sliced thinly enough. Just keep checking for crispness and remove any tomato slices that are ready. I had my Excalibur set at 135 degrees and started removing completely dried tomato slices within 12 hours.
Allow to come to room temperature before storing in airtight containers such as mason jars.
What to do with these flavor-filled goodies?
Tomato Chips can be enjoyed as a savory snack right out of the jar, layered in a sandwich, stacked atop a grass-fed burger, or crumbled on to a salad. Please add your ideas in the comments!