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A bright burst of tomato flavor can bring summertime to the table any time of the year. Utilizing dehydrated tomatoes offers home cooks the chance to liven up a dish with the sweet, acidic taste of tomatoes when the fresh variety is no longer in season. By definition, dehydrated tomatoes have been preserved by slowly removing the water from the tomato, thus greatly reducing the moisture content and creating a shelf-stable ingredient. Not only can tomatoes be dehydrated in a wide range of methods ranging from the outdoors to the oven, they can also be used in a vast array of dishes.
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Place the dehydrated tomatoes that will be used in the dish into a bowl of warm water or stock for three to five minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the water and transfer them to a paper towel to drain. Pat the excess moisture from the re-constituted tomatoes and prepare them for use in the desired dish. You may also choose to use dehydrated tomatoes without placing them in water to regain some moisture content, or reconstitute the tomatoes completely by allowing them to soak in hot liquid for a longer period of time, depending on your personal tastes.
Cut the dehydrated tomatoes into bite-sized pieces before placing them into a bowl. Drizzle the tomatoes with a light coating of olive oil. Chop or mince a few cloves of garlic and sprigs of fresh basil or oregano. The amount of herbs used will vary based on the amount of tomatoes used. However, there should be enough herbs and garlic in the tomatoes to create a recognizable flavor. Toss the olive oil and tomato mixture over freshly cooked pasta, or spread on small pieces of toasted bread for bruschetta.
Create a homemade dehydrated tomato dressing for salads. Combine 1 cup mayonnaise with 1 cup milk. Puree dehydrated tomatoes with cloves of fresh garlic, black pepper and dry mustard to taste. Mix the pureed tomato mixture with the mayonnaise base to create a creamy tomato-infused dressing.
Add dehydrated tomatoes to stews and soups. Place the desired amount of dried tomatoes into the hot liquid dish approximately thirty minutes before the dish is fully cooked. Tomatoes do not need to be reconstituted in other liquid prior to being added in soups or stews.
Finely chop dehydrated tomatoes for addition to dishes such as meatloaf, pizzas, rice, eggs and breads. Add the tomato pieces prior to cooking the dish and use as many as required to achieve the desired level of tomato flavor.