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Old 04-21-2011, 11:30 PM   #1
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Using Oven as Dehydrator?

Gardening program on PBS today showed dehydrating tomatoes. Using paste tomatoes (San Maranzo or Roma), cut into fourths or eighths, lay cut side up on olive oiled baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt, dry in oven at 200F for 4 to 6 hours. Then submerge in olive oil.

This looks appealing because I would not have to buy another kitchen machine or build something for drying.

Has anyone used this method?

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Old 04-22-2011, 02:21 AM   #2
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If your going to dehydrate a tomato, Roma's are the best to work with. They contain less water then the average Paste Tomato and have more flavor in the long run.

What you have described. Isn't a true Dehydrated Tomato. Those are Roasted Tomatoes. To be used now.

I have yet to see any technique for Dehydrated Tomatoes that says to do it adding Olive Oil. Dehydrating to me is using a product alone. To remove any and as much as possible water content. Olive Oil to me is asking for trouble. Depending on how your planning on using the product, and when.

You can add spices with the Tomatoes beforehand and dehydrate. Then Freeze. Or refigerate in Olive Oil.

The 1/4" cuts have me concerned. The thicker the cut the longer it takes to dehydrate.

It's ok if you planning on using the product within a week. Past that. Personally I'd make them into slices and freeze alone.

When you need them for a specific recipe, Pannini's, or Focaccia bread, Pizza's. Go ahead and do it the PBS Way.

I know it's appealing. So is a new car. Until you drive that Bugger off the lot and lot and watch it depreciate. With every mile and year you have it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 04:38 AM   #3
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Many 'Sun dried' tomatoes packed in olive oil are LOADED with salt.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:46 AM   #4
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We've been using the oven drying technique for years, except that we add parm and basil. We just bag them up and freeze them. They are used in place of sun dried, which I detest.

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Old 04-22-2011, 08:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CraigC View Post
We've been using the oven drying technique for years, except that we add parm and basil. We just bag them up and freeze them. They are used in place of sun dried, which I detest.

Craig
Would you give us your method, Craig? I'd like to try it.

What else is good for dehydrating? I have a large roasting pan with a flat rack. Since I live alone, I'd just get some mixed vegetables and/or fruit to make a project of it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:30 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Zhizara View Post
Would you give us your method, Craig? I'd like to try it.

What else is good for dehydrating? I have a large roasting pan with a flat rack. Since I live alone, I'd just get some mixed vegetables and/or fruit to make a project of it.
It's pretty much the same as web-college except we slice them 1/4" across, mix in bowl with a little salt, some black pepper, fresh grated parm and dry basil and a minimal amount of olive oil, just enough to nicely coat. Don't really have measurements, just depends on amount of tomatoes and what looks good except I go really easy on the salt. Lay them out on cake/cookie cooling racks in a sheet pan and place in oven at 200. We do let ours go a lot longer though, even up to 12 hours, depending on how fleshy they are to get them dehydrated. You can either then single layer freeze them and then bag or put in portion-size bags and freeze.

Craig and I like to use them in pasta recipes especially. There's one where we use sauteed sliced chicken, onions, garlic, the tomatoes, more basil, white wine, and chicken broth we both really like. Hmmm, I think I'm going to check freezer and see if we still have any left from our last batch.

BTW we try to do a whole bunch at a time (fill the oven) since it is on for so long.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:38 AM   #7
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Would a convection / turbo oven speed up the process?
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:41 AM   #8
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I don't know, it might since the air circulates. We haven't made a batch since we got our new stove/oven that is a convection after the old one gave out. But, we've got a batch of roma-type tomatos ripening on the vine so may try some in the next few days and use the convection setting.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:56 PM   #9
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i think people dry all kinds of fruits and veggies too.
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:36 PM   #10
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Food dehydrators typically run at much lower temperatures, typically 85º to 155º F. drying at a higher temp may degrade the taste and quality of the finished product.
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