Drying & Using Tomatoes

Over the past five years here at Happy Acres we’ve found that Juliets are one of our favorite tomatoes to dry. They are good fresh (Dave made some killer salsa the other day with them), but drying really brings out the flavor. So last week I harvested almost 10 pounds from our four plants. This is the second harvest from those plants and definitely not the last.

My Juliet Harvest this week
My Juliet harvest last week

This year they are really a nice size. The majority of them are two inches long, although a few are smaller.

Two Juliets
Two Juliets

I cut them into quarters and place them on the dehydrator trays.

Juliets waiting to be dried
Juliets waiting to be dried

For information on the dehydrator we use and highly recommend, check out this post.

So once they are dried, I vacuum seal them. You don’t have to do that if you aren’t drying a lot. Since we deal in large quantities that we may not use up in the coming year, I vacuum seal them and put them in the freezer. They would do fine in the pantry, but we don’t have room for them there.

But we also dry other tomatoes including Golden Sweet and Black Cherry. Over the years we’ve dried others but have found these to be our favorites for not only the taste, but the quantity per plant.

Golden Sweet, Black Cherry and Juliets
Golden Sweet, Black Cherry and Juliets harvested yesterday
Dried tomatoes from 2011
Dried tomatoes from last year

So I’ve been asked quite a bit, what do we do with our dried tomatoes. First of all, they are a great snack just right out of the bag.

Eating dried tomatoes
Eating dried tomatoes right out of the bag. Yum!

But most of the time we reconstitute them. I heat up a small bowl of water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then I plop the dried tomatoes into the hot water.

Dried tomatoes soaking in hot water
Dried tomatoes soaking in hot water

It usually takes 10 – 15 minutes to rehydrate them. Once soft, I drain them and use them in any dish that requires fresh tomatoes. Here are some examples:

Quinoa Tomato Salad
Quinoa Tomato Salad

Check out the recipe here.


I make frittatas quite often. Adding them with our seasonal veggies make a great lunch.

Pita Pizza
Pita Pizza

Dave does all of the bread baking now and makes some great pitas. They are used as crispy bread (after I cut and bake them for 10 minutes in the oven) with my curry chicken salad, with soup, and even salad.

But let’s get back to the dried tomatoes. We use them on top of the pizza. However, sometimes we used the slow oven roasted tomatoes instead of the dried.

The first year we dried tomatoes we didn’t know what to do with them. But eventually we have started using them in any dish where we use tomatoes. They are great to use in stirfries and salads. If you are trying drying this year, just experiment with these goodies. There is nothing like the taste of summer when the cold wind is blowing outside.

But while you are drying don’t forget peppers. See Dave’s post on drying peppers. They are great dried. Hot peppers can be dried whole or cut up, stored and then ground when needed. Bell peppers are tasty, like tomatoes, right out of the bag but also good in a variety of dishes. I used them in my vegetable pepper quiche.


Vegetable Quiche
Vegetable Pepper Quiche

We have tried drying other veggies like squash, but they turn out bitter. However, they work well thrown in soup. Dave dries most of our herbs in the dehydrator. It’s nice to grab some of these dried herbs after they are gone in the garden.

But drying doesn’t stop there. We also dry fruit for the winter. A few of my popular posts about fruit drying are Making Fruit Leather, Apple Slices, Blackberry Fruit Leather.

Well, that’s all for this beautiful and hot Sunday. The black cherry, golden sweets, and juliets are in the dehydrator and Dave is making sauce in the kitchen. Yum! Yum!