Sun-Dried vs. Dehydrated
The Comparison and the How-to
The fancy-gourmet-$$$$$ restaurant plates always have them. It is always the last thing in the title, too, and I imagine a maitre’ d slowing his speech and accentuating the words with a foreign accent…. “Mediterranean Lamb Marsala Florentine….with sun-dried tomatoes.” I just made that up, but you get the idea.
I just saw the prices online for sun dried tomatoes, and it was about $20 for 16 ounces, oof.
Here is my math:
The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds ($24.95) = Infinite Pounds of Non-GMO garden fresh tomatoes forever.
Sun-drying anything can be a bit risky; you have airborne spores and insects, vermin, humidity, and inconsistent temperatures. Other than that, it’s easy, right? Sure, but I personally go for consistent result that ensure top-quality, so I prefer the Excalibur Dehydrator that allows me to choose the perfect temperature regardless of the environmental factors.
Sun Dried vs. Dehydrated
No, the sun dried tomato is not the same as dehydrated, but with a few tricks you would never know. You’ll have to decide just how gourmet you want to be, but here’s the shakedown:
|Dehydrated Tomatoes||Sun-Dried Tomatoes|
|Raw||12 hour exposure to burning sulphur (cooked) *|
|Processed in safety of home (usually countertop)||Processed in a “fenced in area” on the ground*|
|Typically a 6-10 hour process||4-10 days|
|Moisture Content varies due to dehydrator run time
||Between 10-12% moisture (not for long-term storage)|
|Any recipes for tomato (versatility)||Usually seasoned with Italian Seasonings|
*The sulphur helps hold the color longer in the tomato; the dehydrated might lighten over time. The sulphur is also stinky and helps keep rodents away. Mmmm, yummy.
The Dehydrated do-it-yourself version of the “Sun Dried” Tomato
Remember that you can store dried tomatoes for years (plural)—if stored properly with vacuum sealing and proper environmental factors (dark, cool, free of vermin, moisture, etc.). A dried tomato can be eaten as-is like a chip (I prefer some ranch dressing, yum), used in any recipe with a quick reconstitution, or you can powder it for a sneak attack in pastas, soups, or other foods.
Side note—if you want to reconstitute a dried tomato, put it in a boiling saucepan of water for 15 minutes.
If you want the flavor of a sun dried tomato with your do-it-yourself variety, you may try this:
1) Place the tomatoes in a jar and cover with olive oil (must be covered).
2) Add a clove of garlic
3) Add either: a pinch of homemade pesto, Italian Seasoning, or your own Italian blend.
4) Keep refrigerated for up to 1 month
Stay tuned—in the next blog I will give you my pizza crust and focaccia bread recipe, along with some mouthwatering pictures of how I use my dehydrated tomatoes as though they are sun dried tomatoes. Leave us a comment, let me know how these turn out for you.
I learned about the sun drying process through manufactures like this one.
Want to do this?
Find these resources and more at Pantry Paratus:
Mortar & Pestle—for grinding dehydrated tomatoes into powder