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Don't Let Those Tomatoes Go To Waste... Freeze, Can or Dehydrate

Our daily tomato and bell pepper harvest.

The tomato and bell pepper plants that we planted in our “skinny” garden this spring got off to a slow start because of all the rain we had. Tomatoes and bell peppers like really warm and rather dry weather and since it’s gotten considerably dryer and much warmer, they are producing like crazy.

Our 2017 garden is 5'x70' with just tomatoes and peppers.

I pick every other day, so there’s certainly enough for us and son-in-law, Kevin, to eat now and still have plenty to put away for later.

Our daily harvest from the 2017 garden spot.

I’ve got over a gallon of frozen chopped peppers, a dozen or so whole ones for stuffed peppers, and 16 pints of frozen tomatoes.

Rather than freeze any more, I’ve started dehydrating them. Both dehydrate and store really well.

Tomatoes sliced to 1/4" and ready to be dehydrated.
Dehydrated tomato slices all ready to eat.

The peppers and tomatoes re-hydrate quickly so you can use them dry and the moisture from other ingredients will soften them up:

  • Add to stews and soups
  • Mixed in meatloaf
  • Added as a pizza topping
  • Add them to deviled egg filling
  • Mixed in scrambled eggs
  • Add to biscuits, cornbread, or herb breads
  • Put them in your stuffed pepper or stuffed cabbage mix

Tomato Powder… DIY Tomato Paste:
Puree dried tomatoes into a powder and store in a jar. Tomato powder can be used in place of tomato paste by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to your recipe. It’s easy to waste a can of tomato paste when you just need a little amount.

Create Your Own Creamy Tomato Salad Dressing:
Combine 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 cup milk. Puree dehydrated tomatoes with cloves of fresh garlic, black pepper and dry mustard to taste. Mix the pureed tomato mixture with the mayonnaise base to create a creamy tomato-infused dressing.

Flavoring for Fresh Cooked Pasta:
Cut the dehydrated tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and drizzle with olive oil. Chop or mince a few cloves of garlic and sprigs of fresh basil or oregano. The amount of herbs used will vary based on the amount of tomatoes used. However, there should be enough herbs and garlic in the tomatoes to create a recognizable flavor. Toss the olive oil and tomato mixture over freshly cooked pasta.

They make great Tomato Chips:
Slice the tomatoes real thin, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and dehydrate at 145-150 degrees until they’re crispy. Eat them like chips with pesto, guacamole, or you’re favorite dip.

Tomato chips and guacamole - GREAT

OR Make Italian Tomato Chips:
Slice the tomatoes thin and sprinkle with:
Italian seasoning, oregano, and/or basil seasoning
Finely ground black pepper
Garlic powder (optional)
Onion powder (optional)
Pink salt (optional)
Nutritional Yeast (optional)
Dehydrate at 145-150 degrees until slices are crispy. Dip into mashed avocado, hummus, or any other dip.

These Italian tomato chips are great with homemade hummus.

There’ll be “Sundried Tomato Pesto too”
1/2 c dried tomatoes
3/4 c water
1/4 c nuts (almonds or walnuts)
1/4 c herbs such as basil, oregano, cilantro or parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Pulse in a food processor and drizzle in 2-4 tbl of olive oil until you reach the consistency you like
Season with salt and pepper.
Spread on pieces of toasted bread for bruschetta.

Do you have a favorite way to use dehydrated tomatoes? Please share it in the “Comments” section.

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