Dehydrated sliced tomatoes deliver a big punch of flavor to your cooking, adding depth to stews, soups, pizza and pasta. Dried tomatoes are also nutritious snacks, and are easy to take on trips. If you grow your own tomatoes and have a bumper crop this year, dehydrating and freezing the slices will ensure some homegrown garden goodness for up to a year. Farm stands offer bushels of locally grown tomatoes for low prices late in the season.
Rinse tomatoes thoroughly in warm water and snap off any stems. Slice the tomatoes in 1/2-inch slices, from the top to the bottom of the tomato, with a serrated knife on a cutting board.
Lay paper towels on your kitchen counter and place the cut slices on the towels for 10 minutes. Turn the slices over and leave them for another 10 minutes to remove excess juices.
Cut a piece of parchment paper with scissors so it fits a rimmed cookie sheet. Place the tomato slices on the parchment paper in a single layer, with the slices placed as close together as possible. Sprinkle the slices with sea salt.
Bake the tomato slices in a 150 degree Fahrenheit oven for 6 hours. Put the cookie sheet in a freezer for 30 minutes to keep the slices separate for freezing.
Place the dehydrated tomato slices in a jar and cover them with olive oil, adding garlic and basil if desired, to keep for up to a week. Place the slices in freezer bags and store them in the freezer, to keep for up to a year. Crush the slices in a coffee grinder for tomato paste. Tomatoes slices can also be dried in a dehydrator instead of an oven.
Always refrigerate tomatoes and garlic in oil to avoid any possible chance of botulism.