This summer’s heat has been perfect for all of the hot crops including tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash and cucumbers that are now coming out of our garden. In all my years of gardening, I’ve never seen a better tomato crop. After the heartbreak of last summer’s late blight that wiped out our tomatoes, this year’s bounty makes me very happy indeed! With all of this abundance, it’s time to get busy preserving so we can enjoy our favorite vegetable all winter long.
Friends and family love our traditional Christmas box gifts, which last year contained delectables like Bill’s smoked salmon and cheese, jars of our honey, and pickled dilly brussels sprouts.
As the Roma tomatoes start to ripen at the bottom of the tomato plants, I pluck them until I’ve got enough to fill the dehydrator racks. I always make several batches. It’s the same thing as sun dried tomatoes. In warmer, sunnier climates they make these by drying on racks outdoors under the hot sun and dry breeze, a little harder to accomplish here in New England, so I use my dehydrator, which has four stacking racks.
Here’s how I do it:
- Cut about a 1″ slit through the skin in the back
Once the dehydrator is full, the top goes on. The temperature is set between 135 and 140 degrees for about 8 hours. I check them toward the end of the drying and start removing any that are done. The thicker ones may take longer.