Blowing Hot Air

I used my most recent birthday as an excuse to purchase a food dehydrator. I’d been trolling the thrift stores and resale shops on the advice of one of my fellow community gardeners but just wasn’t finding any there. So I decided to just go ahead and get a new one. I actually only had a vague idea of what I would use one for, but figured I would find more over time.


In the past I’ve enjoyed oven-drying San Marzano tomatoes with a little olive oil and herbs which I then freeze and enjoy on pizzas through the winter. Tomatoes seemed an obvious choice for trying out my new toy so I sliced up all different kinds and put them on the trays. The cherry tomatoes I dried to just a leathery stage and they’re like tomato candy. I dried the paste tomatoes longer to try something I’d read about on the good old Internet.

Tomato Powder

Tomato powder! This stuff makes perfect sense. Imagine being able to add concentrated tomato flavor to different dishes and you’ll understand my excitement. I’ve already used it in chili and tomato soup for a flavor boost and a fellow gardener has told me she uses it in salad dressings. I just dried seeded tomatoes until they were crispy then ground them up in the coffee mill we use for spices.

I did another dehydrating session with random vegetables I thought might be good in soup like turnips, carrots and celery. I also dehydrated a couple pounds of tomatillos thinking I’d eventually use them to make a sauce or chili. Once dried they only weighed two ounces and took up considerably less space. Also, for fun I dried a sliced apple. We gobbled that up immediately. I should probably make more of those for us to snack on at work.

So far I’m happy with my little dehydrator and I’m looking forward to finding more things to dry that we’d actually find useful. I’d like to hear your suggestions if you’re an experienced food dryer.


6 thoughts on “Blowing Hot Air

  1. I had fancied buying a dehydrator but was put off by reading bad things about them on the internet – not lasting and the plastic bending unless you bought very expensive ones. Your experience is very interesting. I have oven dried apples and pears and they were delicious, it just takes such a long time for relatively small quantities that way. Amelia

    1. I’ve noticed the screen on one of my trays is a little warped now but the whole thing still fits together tight enough where it matters. I couldn’t see buying the top-of-the-line ones for as little as I’ll probably use mine.

    1. Yes, I’m starting to think I should have made more. I forgot to mention I seeded the tomatoes before dehydrating them. Thought they’d make the powder taste funny. I’ll add that to the post.

  2. My sister has a dehydrator and she uses it mainly for drying apples and pears for the kids to snack on during winter (I love the dried fruit too). I have not heard of the tomato powder before – a good idea! I am curious though: how much energy does the dehydrator use? My sister’s seems to take quite long (overnight) to dry the fruit.

    1. I don’t know how much energy it uses but since there is a heating element it’s probably not inconsequential. The longest I’ve run mine so far at one time is about nine hours.

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