Monday, October 1, 2012

Dehydrating Tomatoes and Okra

I am a big fan of dehydrating. I have an old dehydrator that I love. It has twenty trays and was designed to circulate the air so efficiently. I wish the company had not stopped making them. I hope it continues to work for a very long time. I've had it for almost twenty years now.

One of the most common things for me to dehydrate is tomatoes. It is so easy, and takes so little time. There is no pre-treatment necessary. You just slice the tomatoes and place them on the tray. My favorite tomatoes to dry are Juliet. They are a small, oval paste tomato.  That means that they are meatier than slicing tomatoes, so they are good for sauces and pastes. Once dry, I can slip them into soups, stews, and chili. I can also put them in a coffee grinder or food processor and make them into a powder to thicken soups and sauces. They kids like to snack on them just as they are. Please note that they keep for a very long time if you store the dehydrated tomatoes in the freezer. A half a bushel fit into two 32 ounce plastic yogurt containers.

This year I dried some of our abundant okra harvest. It's even easier than tomatoes, since it dries very quickly. I will use it in soups and in fritters. It can only be stored in the freezer after it is dried. It doesn't last long if dried and kept at room temperature. Huge amounts of okra fit into the same size yogurt containers that I used for my tomatoes.

Hubby found dried green beans at the Amish store and wants me to try that. It will have to be next year. Our crop didn't last very long with the hot dry weather that we had early in the summer. I know that I've read account of pioneers stringing green beans and hanging them to dry. This would just speed up the process.

I'll never regret getting a dehydrator. As much as I like canning and have done LOTS of it over the years, I know that heat destroys some of the nutrients. Dehydrating does not.

Let me know if you use a dehydrator. I'd love to hear what you make with it.


  1. I have an Excalibur and use it for drying sliced potatoes, hash brown potatoes, apple slices, veggies. Also make fruit leathers.

    Very good to dry tennis shoes out of the washer!

  2. I would love to have one, I have been interested in them for a long time. I'm glad you did this story.

  3. I have a Mr COFFEE food dehydrator and I do Roma tomatoes with a little sprinkle of salt. I cut in two and take the seedy part out. I also do apple slices and parsley. I haven't tried to dehydrate anything else. I call my dehydrated tomatoes Sun dried tomatoes even though I didn't use the sun to dry them up.

    We have a rather short season here and I never grew okra. I wonder if I could grow them.


  4. Ours eventually tore up and we haven't replaced it. We keep talking about it, but haven't yet. We would dehydrate beef slices and make homemade beef jerkey. We did a lot of apples slices and I would shilac them and put them on grapevine wreaths and use homespun material to make the bows for the wreaths. WOW! Hadn't thought of those in years. Having some thoughts here. Anyway, we cook a lot of spicy food so we would also dry various red, green and yellow peppers and string them to hang in the kitchen and to use for cooking. Now I know what to get Hubby for Christmas. He misses his dehydrator. Thanks for the memories, Patrice.

  5. The maters look yummy....I've always wanted a dehydrator!!!

  6. It looks yummy and it would be so useful to have one. I have never had a dehydrator.
    I don't know why. You are so handy.

  7. I hadn't realised that there were such things as dehydrators on the market until I started blogging, but they look wonderful equipment and I'm seriously thinking of investing in one.
    Those tomatoes look fab :o)
    Rose H

  8. Yum! I want to come to your house for dinner.

  9. We have one and use it pretty well. I don't grow okra, so I haven't tried that. Deer season is on here and it will soon get another work out making jerky.

  10. We bought a cheap dehydrator years ago but only used it a few times. We keep saying we're going to buy another one. We love tomatoes and okra, and your post makes me want to go shopping tomorrow for another one!


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