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Old 16.09.2020, 12:04
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Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

I've been drying my tomatoes for years with good results. This year, however, some have turned black in the dehydrator.

But not all in the batch turned black, many are just fine. I'm doing exactly what I've always done, no new procedures.

Chef Google suggests that low acid tomatoes might be the reason. I planted a couple of new varieties this year, and have no idea whether these are low acid or not. Anyone know how I would test for this?

Chef Google also suggests sprinkling low acid tomatoes wtih food-grade ascorbic acid powder prior to drying. Have any of you done this? Does it work, and where might one find food-grade ascorbic acid powder? Or would misting the sliced tomatoes with lemon juice be an alternative to the ascorbic acid powder?

Any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 16.09.2020, 14:08
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

Good tip, I do the lemon juice thingsy when dehydrating apples, prevents them from turning brown. I imagine this would work really well with tomatoes too.

I didn't have that problem this year. But my San Marzanos lacked potassium and thus some are inedible and have a black mass inside or black tips on the fruit itself
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Old 17.09.2020, 20:51
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

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...Chef Google also suggests sprinkling low acid tomatoes wtih food-grade ascorbic acid powder prior to drying. Have any of you done this? Does it work, and where might one find food-grade ascorbic acid powder?
I've not done it myself but BIL does a lot of drying, and he said you can buy the powder at any of the larger Coop stores.
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Old 18.09.2020, 09:40
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

Well, I brushed a batch of tomatoes with lemon juice before putting them in the dehydrator, and ended up wtih fewer turning black. So that's a step inthe right direction.

Some still turned, whether because I didn't get the lemon juice on evenly, or I am still not adequately addressing the low acidity, or these were simply too ripe with a higher sugar content, I have no idea.

In the first batch, without treating with lemon, the tomatoes that turned black were reds. I would have expected it to be the yellow tomatoes, as they are naturally lower acid.

However, in the batch treated with lemon the few that turned black were the low acid yellows.

FWIW, turning black happens around the 15 hour point, when the tomatoes are about three-quarters dry. Don't know if that means anything or not.

Thanks for the tip on where to find ascorbic acid powder. 3Wishes - I'll give that a try as well.

So - acidity, ripeness, drying time - who knows what is going on. Will keep experimenting.
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Old 18.09.2020, 22:38
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

What about the taste though? Do they still taste ok despite the colour?
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Old 18.09.2020, 22:47
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

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What about the taste though? Do they still taste ok despite the colour?
Unfortunately the blackened tomatoes don't taste right. Not a burned taste, but something is off. I'm starting to think that they might have been too ripe to dehydrate.

They are now compost.

It was a weird tomato year. We had a good harvest, but everything came in early and quickly. I'm now picking the last as the vines die back. Usually I'm racing the snow to get the last tomatoes, still on green vines in November.
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Old 19.09.2020, 09:01
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

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Unfortunately the blackened tomatoes don't taste right. Not a burned taste, but something is off. I'm starting to think that they might have been too ripe to dehydrate.

They are now compost.

It was a weird tomato year. We had a good harvest, but everything came in early and quickly. I'm now picking the last as the vines die back. Usually I'm racing the snow to get the last tomatoes, still on green vines in November.
Oh, glad we're not the only ones! I mean the fresh 'matoes, every year before you had a sunbursting, sweet flavour when biting into one. The San Marzanos are really a dissapointment also in this regard and tjis year's cherry tomatoes a close second
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Old 19.09.2020, 09:39
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

I am buying it here:
https://www.brauundrauchshop.ch/ascorbins%c3%a4ure-1-kg


(Brau und Rauch Shop)


but personally I wouldn't use it. Because for me, doing things by myself is exactly to avoid shortcuts that industry is using. Those shortcuts are for bigger yield and almost always compromise quality.



I somehow cannot imagine that too ripe tomatoes are not good for drying, but who knows.


Btw, check this traditional "table drying" method of tomato is done.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSDebP5bLUc


I am fascinated how they are drying them on simple wooden tables (around 2:30 in video).
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Old 20.09.2020, 10:00
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Re: Tomatoes turning black in the dehydrator?

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Oh, glad we're not the only ones! I mean the fresh 'matoes, every year before you had a sunbursting, sweet flavour when biting into one. The San Marzanos are really a dissapointment also in this regard and tjis year's cherry tomatoes a close second
It was a weird year. We had a good number of sunny days, but more extremes than we are used to. Longer stretches of dry and hot followed by longer stretches of dark and rainy. Very little 'normal' summer weather. I wonder if the tomatoes, even under the Tomatenhusli, just couldn't adjust.

Plus, we planted late because garden centers were closed until June.

Looking closer at the vines, I'm not sure the die back I now have is the normal 'all done now' that I usully get in November. The main vine on many of the plants has light brown patches, something I couldn't see when in full fruit. I wonder if there is some sort of disease or fungus involved.

Maybe I should just chalk it up to yet another '2020' disaster. Boy, will I be glad to see the back of this awful year...
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