Learn how to make freeze dried tomatoes right at home to preserve the summer bounty easily. Freeze dried tomatoes are so versatile!
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Some fruits and vegetables are the pinnacle of a season. Tomatoes are almost the symbol of summer for many gardeners and homesteaders. There is nothing quite like picking a vine ripe tomato and eating it straight from the garden. I still remember, as a child, picking tomatoes from my grandpa’s garden with my sister, and eating them together.
Now we enjoy putting them on sandwiches, burgers, in salsas, and just about anything we can enjoy them on while they are fresh from the garden. My first and preferred way to preserve them is to can diced tomatoes, because it is so easy and fast.
Now that we have a harvest right freeze dryer, I am also enjoying putting freeze dried tomatoes on the shelf. Having multiple EASY preservation methods from the produce from our garden is the best option for me as a busy homesteading mom.
Supplies you’ll need
- Sharp serrated knife
- A home freeze dryer (we use this brand)
- Mylar Bags or Mason jars or another airtight container
- Oxygen absorbers
Ingredients you’ll need
The only ingredient you will need to make freeze dried tomatoes are tomatoes. Choose tomatoes that are ripe and in season for the best results.
How to make freeze dried tomatoes
- Start cooling down the freeze dryer chamber.
- Wash and dry the tomatoes to remove any dust, dirt, or debris from the garden.
- Slice the tomatoes with a serrated knife (to avoid smashing them) and lay them on an even layer on the freeze dryer tray.
- Load the freeze dryer (with the valve shut!).
- Press start and let the freeze dryer run for a full cycle (about 24 hours). Since the tomatoes have a skin they might take a little longer than other types of fruit.
- Check the tomatoes after the first cycle to see if they are dry. They should be crispy, and break between your fingers when squeezed. If they are not dry, or you are unsure, add a little more dry time.
- Once the tomatoes are dry, pack them into an airtight container, like a mylar bag or mason jar with an oxygen absorber. (It is important to not let them set out for too long since they will start absorbing the moisture in the air and could spoil.)
To Freeze dry tomato puree
Follow the above steps except, instead of slicing the tomatoes, puree them with a high power blender before putting them on the freeze dryer tray. This is a good option to get more tomatoes freeze dried per batch and storing tomato powder saves shelf space as well.
Tips for making freeze dried tomatoes
- Make sure tomatoes are completely dry. Before removing the tomatoes from the freeze dryer, be sure they are completely dry and crisp, so they don’t mold in storage. They should snap when they are broken. If you aren’t sure if they are completely dry, just add a little more dry time.
- Place the tomatoes in a single layer. Make sure that the tomatoes are not overlapping when they’re loaded into the freeze dryer tray.
- Dry them after washing. Removing any extra moisture will help them dry faster in the freeze dryer.
- Pack them in an airtight container. Immediately before they have time absorb the moisture in the air, get the tomatoes into a freezer bag, mylar bag, or mason jar with an oxygen absorber. If you want to know more about how to seal food safely in mylar bags read this post HERE.
- Tomatoes need lots of dry time. We found that tomatoes take a bit longer than other types of fruit that we have done, they needed a good deal of dry time for us.
Freeze dried tomatoes can be used in a variety of ways. Here is how we most commonly use them in our kitchen:
- Throw the tomatoes into a soup, stew, or chili. Rehydrated tomatoes make a great tomato soup, venison stew or minestrone.
- Add to an Italian style pasta dish. Adding freeze dried tomatoes to a tomato based pasta sauce for spaghetti or lasagna adds a rich tomato flavor that is delicious. Our go to lasagna recipe is THIS ONE you’ve got to try it!
- Puree the freeze dried tomatoes and store as a powder. Mix this tomato concentrate with a bit of water to make your own tomato paste as you need it!
Commonly asked questions
Are freeze dried tomatoes good?
Freeze dried tomatoes have a concentrated tomato flavor since the moisture is removed. They taste delicious when you need that tomato-y punch!
How long do freeze dried tomatoes last?
Freeze dried tomatoes will last for up to 30 years if stored properly in mylar bags.
How do you rehydrate freeze dried tomatoes?
You can easily rehydrate tomatoes by placing them a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes, then draining the water.
Can you freeze dry whole tomatoes?
Freeze drying whole tomatoes is not recommended because it is more difficult for the moisture to the tomato to escape the thick skin of the tomato. To ensure that there is no more moisture left in the tomato cut the tomato or puree.
Can fresh tomatoes be freeze dried?
Yes. Fresh tomatoes are the best for freeze drying! Harvest straight from your garden and enjoy preserving the tomato richness well into winter.
How to store freeze dried tomatoes?
Freeze dried tomatoes can be stored in any food grade airtight container. Mason jars, freeze bags, or mylar bags are great options. Remember to add an oxygen absorber for maximum freshness. Keep the packaged food in a dry, cool, dark environment to prolong shelf life.