I've finally broken out the dehydrator that I got last Christmas! I've got at least five quarts of cherry tomatoes in my freezer, and I'm running out of room, so I decided to start making sun-dried tomatoes, so I could keep up with my harvesting by preserving them.
For my first test batch, I only used one tray in my 5-tray machine. The manual was made for several different models, so it wasn't very specific, and I didn't know if I should use the empty trays. I've since been told it's not necessary.
I've also seen on other sites advice to skin the tomatoes before dehydrating, but if I did that with these, there might just be nothing left to dry. So I've just been slicing them in halves and simply placing them on a rack. The web also says to squeeze out the seeds, but these tomatoes are so small, the seeds don't seem to get in the way. Dried in halves, the seeds actually make for a nice presentation--it looks like a tomato when dried.
I've kept the dehydrator going all week--even tried it with frozen tomatoes (works just fine!)--and now have four 1/2 pint jars of dried tomatoes that I think would make great gifts.
When I received my dehydrator as a gift, I had visions of making dried sweet potato dog treats on a regular basis, but these tomatoes have actually proven a great introduction to using the machine. I've figured out how to clean it, how hot it may make my house, how long it will take to dry something small--slices of a yam would probably take hours in comparison. So I'm saving that for my next project.
Do you own/use a dehydrator? What's your favorite use for it, and how do you do it? How long does it take to make something delicious? Leave me your comments on the blog.