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The process of drying tomatoes can sound new to some people, but it has been around for centuries.
Sun-dried tomatoes can sometimes be treated with salt or sulfur dioxide before you place them in the sun to lose all their water content. There are a lot of dishes you can make with sun-dried tomatoes, but first, you need to learn how to store and preserve them.
Can sun-dried tomatoes go bad? Yes, just like every food item, friend tomatoes will go bad however they do have a very long shelf life with the right preservation. The moisture has been removed when sun drying it hence why it lasts longer than fresh tomatoes, however, it is likely to go bad in 3 to 5 days if it is not stored properly.
Sun-dried tomatoes are regarded as dehydrated tomatoes and this is because they lose all their water contents while drying in the sun. They can be just as sweet as fresh tomatoes and if you are trying to achieve a tangy chewy taste in your recipe then sun-dried tomatoes are the perfect options.
How you preserve any food item is quite important and sun-dried tomatoes are no exception. If you are sun-dried tomatoes that are not moldy or mushy after you bring them in, you need to know how to store them properly.
So, stick with us to learn everything about storing and preserving sun-dried tomatoes.
How Are Sun-dried Tomatoes Made?
Just as the name implies, sun-dried tomatoes are dried in the sun to remove all their water content. The sun is not the only place you can dry tomatoes, although it’s the most popular option. You can dry tomatoes in the oven and a dehydrator as well.
The flavor of sun-dried tomatoes is amplified which makes them more tasty and versatile. Here are effective ways sun-dried tomatoes are made:
1. In The Sun
The sun is the most basic and common method of drying out fresh tomatoes. Simply cut fresh tomatoes into halves and treat them with salt or sulfur and place them where there is the sun for it to dry.
The purpose of salt or sulfur is to maintain its quality in the sun and not go bad while drying out. This is a longer drying process since the heat level can be determined.
2. In The Oven
If you have an oven then simply have your tomatoes placed in it for 3 to 5 hours. This process is faster and saves time in case you plan to use your dried tomatoes immediately. Heat oven to 250 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, slice your tomatoes in half, salt or sulfur is not needed.
Bake until the moisture in it dries out.
3. In A Dehydrator
Using the food dehydrator method can take 6 or 8 hours which is still faster than sun drying them. Set your dehydrator to 135 degrees and place your tomatoes in it. Let it dry for 6 or 8 hours and no intervention or stress is needed. The length of time depends on the variety of tomato hence keep an eye on it.
Can Sun-Dried Tomatoes Go Bad?
Sun-dried tomatoes will go bad just like any other food or pepper however it takes a good preservation method to keep it as long as possible. Sun-dried tomatoes stored in oil have been discovered to last for 2 years, but after it is opened but stored properly, they can stay edible for 6 months.
Quality sun-dried tomatoes that are stored properly should last 1 year and study shows people have them sun-dried regularly to maintain their quality. Sun-dried tomatoes placed on the counter without any proper storage will go bad after 3 or 5 days.
In conclusion, Sun-Dried Tomatoes packed in a container with oil and unopened can last 2 years while opened ones stored in oil can go bad in 5 days or 6 months depending on their preservative method.
Preserving Sun-Dried Tomatoes Properly
How do you preserve sun-dried tomatoes for the long term? Tomatoes when they are dry lose 90% of their weight and water however this also means it won’t go bad as fast as fresh tomatoes would.
The fact that sun-dried tomatoes don’t go bad quickly is no reason not to have them stored properly.
Store-bought dried tomatoes will last 2 weeks since it contains a preservative, and it comes with an expiry date you can follow, but if you have it dried yourself, below are preservative tips you can follow to prolong its shelf life.
- If you are making sun-dried tomatoes yourself. make sure it is completely dry with no moisture left in it
- Store in an airtight container or bag (homemade and store-bought). This prevents air from coming in and making it go bad quickly
- For longer shelf life, place the container or bag in the freezer or fridge. Soak in warm water before using to get rid of the ice and soften it
- Store in olive oil to add flavor to it while keeping it from going bad as well
- If it is packed in oil, store in the refrigerator and keep for 2-3 weeks
- Dried tomatoes without preservatives should be stored in cool a dry area.
Signs That Sun-Dried Tomatoes Has Gone Bad
While taking all the preservative measures, you still need to watch out for signs that show your sun-dried tomatoes have gone bad and need to be thrown out. If you do not store your sun-dried tomatoes properly, they will expire fast, and below are obvious signs to show they can’t be used in cooking anymore.
- The Smell: This is the faster way you can know your dun-dried tomatoes are beyond saving. It is going to start smelling sour and bad. It can also smell old shoes and dirty feet, you have to throw it out when this happens.
- Texture Change: The texture will turn soggy and soft. It is meant to maintain its texture no matter how long it lasts since it’s dry so if it changes, it needs to be disposed of.
- Mold: This is the first sign that your sun-dried tomatoes have gone bad. If you see any mold growth on it, it has definitely gone bad and as time goes on, it will start to spread.
- Change In Color: When sun-dried tomato starts to go bad or past its expiry date, the color tends to turn darker, so this is another sign that will tell you sun-dried tomatoes can’t be consumed anymore.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use out-of-date sun-dried tomatoes?
If your out-of-date sun-dried tomatoes are stored in oil and placed in the freezer then yes, you can still use them. However, if there are signs that it has gone bad then you need to chuck them away.
How long are dry sun-dried tomatoes good for?
Frozen sun-dried tomatoes can last up to 2 years. While opened sun-dried tomatoes properly stored in the fridge can last up to 6 months. If it is opened or homemade but left on the counter, it can go bad in 5 days.
Can you get botulism from sun-dried tomatoes?
Sun-dried tomatoes stored in oil for too long might make you ill but can cause botulism. You can also store dangerous bacteria if it is kept in olive oil and placed on the counter. Sun-dried tomatoes are stored frozen and consumed are not linked to any form of disease or bacteria.
Do you have to refrigerate sun-dried tomatoes?
Yes, you should refrigerate sun-dried tomatoes for longer shelf life. Shop-bought sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil, and they can be stored in the fridge after opening for 2-3 weeks as it contains preservatives. Homemade sun-dried tomatoes can be stored in dry areas though.
Sun-dried tomatoes can make several dishes relatively easy and tasty which is why having them at home is recommended.
If you are buying your sun-dried tomatoes from a store then choose one with a good expiry date but if you are making it at home yourself then you want to make sure it is properly dried out. Store-bought or homemade tomatoes should be kept in an airtight container and placed in the fridge.
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