Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dehydrating Tomatoes

Much to my horror and my systemic candida bacteria's delight, the 'sun-dried' tomatoes in the store contain sulfites "for color retention". Well, those cancer causers and candida feeders should not pass my lips, but I do so love dehydrated tomatoes ... dehydrated tomato added to my lentils, to a simple salad dressing or even broken up in "chips" to make "fake bacon bits" for my salads. And so, with the market having lots of tomatoes at a more reasonable price right now, I'm prepping my cupboards for the winter. And the only ingredient in my 'sun-dried' tomatoes is "tomatoes" ... and that is as it should be!

First, wash and air-dry the tomatoes. Then sort through and eliminate any that are overly ripe. Next, de-stem them and cut away any abnormalities on the skin. And then they are sliced 1/3" thick. To cut them thicker would take a lot more time for them to dehydrate and to cut them thinner would result in a thin flake with no substance. I like something with body but I don't want to risk too much thickness so that they might contain a little moisture and spoil, like some of mine did from last year.

By the way, the dehydrate sheets must be dry ... or the water moisture could also causing molding.

I dry my tomatoes on no higher than 41C (about 115F). 115F is the highest produce can be dehydrated at and retain its natural enzymes. Higher temperatures destroy enzymes and temperatures lower than 105F can actually become breeding grounds for bacteria. These tomatoes dried for 3 days ... and then I put left them in for another day because I could detect a little moisture in a few that had been cut thicker than the others.

And 4 days later, my precious tomatoes had shrunk down to a bit of nothing, but they are bright, well-dehydrated and full of enzymes and FLAVOR!

Last year's tomatoes. If you look closely, they're a bit black from the slow growing bacteria. They were also vaguely sticky with one another which is a sign of not being completely dehydrated. Regretfully, I had to throw them out.

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