Dehydration: Tomato and Fruit

Today the dehydration has moved on to softer things but they are no les exciting.

I’ve talked about dehydrating tomato before. This is simplicity itself. Half a load of tomatoes and place them on one or two baking trays. Cook in a moderate (not too hot) oven until they have begun roast and dry out. As ever with dehydration you can oil the trays but only lightly. Try and avoid as much oil as you can, especially if you intend to keep the stuff for a whole. Oil and fat are the enemies of dehydration. When tomatoes are ready, dried but not burnt, place them in a liquidisers or food processor and blitz. You could strain the pulp to remove the pips but this seems a bit of a faff to me. The skins will have disintegrated.

Poor the the pulp on dehydration trays – the ones with permeable membranes so tomato doesn’t get everywhere. Dehydrate until you have a tomato leather.

This leather is very versatile. Rehydrated stews can be a bit watery. I add a few torn strips of the tomato leather to my pot and this adds real body to the finished food. You can always use this with couscous or pasta to create a sauce to which you can add all kinds of fresh vegetables. I always take a few tomato leathers with me when hiking abroad – you are not really supposed to bring meat products into a new country, and if a sniffer dog finds them ….

I like dehydrating fruit all year round. Dried fruit makes for a great snack and there’s nothing like it for enlivening porridge or muesli. Today’s fruit includes mango, pear, apple and raspberry. Dried mango is absolutely wonderful. Red berries dry into very tiny bullets that explode with taste in the mouth. Pear is always excellent, it seems to respond well to dehydration.

The pears, apples and mangos were sliced, carefully, on a mandolin. If you have one of these lying around you will find it useful as it produces thin slices all of which are the same thickness, which helps when drying. If you have a protector thingy with your mandolin – use it!

Each of my food drops will contain plastic bags with a variety of home dried fruits. A real treat!

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