The Q&A Archives: Techniques for Sun Drying Tomatoes and Vegetables

Question: I would like to know the procedure to sun-dry tomatoes. Doug Harris San Diego, CA

Answer: Drying veggies in the sun is unpredictable unless temperatures are over 100 degrees F. and the relative humidity is low. Trays of tomatoes should placed in direct sun and moved to stay in the sun's path. A slight slope toward the sun is advantageous. Sun drying in the open air takes anywhere from one to several days. During this time, the tomatoes should be protected from dust, birds, animals and insects. Locate the drying area as far as possible from roads, bare areas and other sources of dust anddirt. To keep out insects, lay a screen or stretch a single layer of nylon net over the trays-this cover should not touch the food. Turn the food occasionally to help it dry evenly. If necessary, shelter the food at night. If the temperature drops morethat 20 degrees, bring the food inside. You might try combining sun drying with stack drying. Expose the food to direct sunshine from one or more days, until it loses about half its original weight. Then stack the trays (with wood blocks between to promote air circulation) and continue the drying an a shady, but breezy area. This way, the sun isn't likely to scorch or burn the food.

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