“PRESERVING SUMMER’S BOUNTY”

imageThis year the plum (aka Roma) tomatoes grew bigger than ever and had no blossom-end rot, which has been a problem for the past few years. I am super happy because I love to dry them in my trusty little dehydrator and have a stash of these sweet reminders of summer all through the winter.  Dried tomatoes are great in soups, sauces, dips, on pizza or sandwiches and in egg dishes like frittatas and omelettes.

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“Two of my favorite Roma-type tomatoes with seeds I saved on left”

I usually plant San Marzano (heirloom) but this year I also had good luck with the Pompeii variety from Renee’s Garden Seeds.

To dry them in a dehydrator just slice them about 1/4 inch thick, no need to peel and lay them on the trays with a bit of space between slices.

imageI use the American Harvest Brand dehydrator which is not too expensive and it only takes about 4-5 hours to get perfectly dried tomatoes.  You can dry tomatoes in a very low temp oven (about 175 -185) but it takes much longer and you need to check them often to make sure they are drying and not cooking!

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“You can dry all sorts of fruits & veggies with this dehydrator”

I also am saving seeds from the heirloom tomatoes so I can share them and have lots of free seeds next year.  Tomatoes are so easy to grow from seed it is worth saving some of your favorite varieties. As long as they are not hybrids you will get the same type of tomatoes from your saved seeds😀 All you do is remove some seeds from the fresh, ripe tomatoes and put them in a small dish or jar with a little water. Let them sit, uncovered for a day or two and then pour into a fine strainer and rinse really well to remove all the gel and “gunk”. Only the seeds should remain. Dump them out onto a clean plate and let sit out until the seeds are completely dried out.

You can then put them in little seed packets, making sure you IMMEDIATELY label with variety and date. I have made the mistake of drying several types of tomato seeds and forgetting which was which because I didn’t label them right away.  Amazing how quickly I can forget something😒

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