'Tomaccio' Tomatoes Are All Dried Up

comments (6) August 27th, 2010

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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The Tomaccio tomato is a new sweet cherry tomato variety specially bred to have a highly porous skin to allow for easy drying.
Drying the fruit concentrates its sweet flavor; however, the drying process is still not well-defined.
The Tomaccio tomato is a new sweet cherry tomato variety specially bred to have a highly porous skin to allow for easy drying.Click To Enlarge

The 'Tomaccio' tomato is a new sweet cherry tomato variety specially bred to have a highly porous skin to allow for easy drying.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

Exploding tomatoes weren’t what I had in mind when I planted a new variety of cherry tomato this spring.

I first heard about ‘Tomaccio’ tomatoes last summer when I read a “tweet” from a gardening colleague about these sweet cherry tomatoes specially bred for drying. She wrote that her tomatoes didn’t dry on the vine and chalked it up to living in a humid climate. She mentioned gardeners in the dry West might have better luck.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to be part of a special introduction and sampling program offered by C. Raker & Sons, Inc., of Litchfield, Mich. The wholesale plant propagation specialist sent ‘Tomaccio’ (pronounced toe-mah-chee-oh) samples in the spring with instructions for how to grow them and how to dry them.

The literature explained it took 12 years of breeding work in Israel, using wild Peruvian tomato varieties, to develop this gourmet cherry tomato that could be dried into sweet tomato raisins. I could imagine how drying would intensify the fruit’s sweetness and pictured tossing the raisins on salads or eating them for a snack.

I planted two plants—one in a large container and one in the garden—and shared one plant with a colleague who lives in an even hotter and drier area of Colorado. All the plants did well and the vines lived up to their “extremely robust” reputation. The fruit grew on nice long clusters, the tomatoes were beautifully round, they resisted cracking, and the tomatoes were sweet and juicy when eaten off the vine.

However, I was disappointed with what was supposed to be the reason for growing these tomatoes—drying them.

Apparently, the recommendations for drying them are still evolving as the company gains more experience with them.

There were three different sets of drying recommendations that came with the samples:

  • The plant tag says dry for 3 hours in a 100 degree oven.
  • The Tomaccio flyer says dry for 2-3 hours in a 200 degree oven.
  • The press release says to dry for 3 hours in a 200-300 degree oven.

A dehydrator can also be used, but no specific directions were provided.

When my gardening friend tried drying three Tomaccio clusters, following the 2-3 hours in a 200 degree oven, she said the tomatoes were only roasted at the 3 hour mark. When she turned up the oven to 300 degrees, the tomatoes exploded.

When it was my turn to dry several bunches, I used a pin to poke a small hole in the stem end of each tomato to try to avoid the exploding tomato problem. I found the tomatoes took 9 hours and 15 minutes to dry in a 200 degree oven.

Because it’s the nearing the end of the growing season, I may try letting a few Tomaccio clusters dry on the vine or I might try drying them in a dehydrator just to see if I can get a good result.

It’s too bad Tomaccio didn’t live up to its star billing. I was really looking forward to having a nice supply of sweet tomato raisins to use throughout the fall.

 


posted in: tomatoes, drying tomatoes, Tomaccio tomatoes

Comments (6)

SwampGrower writes: Are these tomatoes worth growing for fresh eating?

Has anyone cooked them down into sauce?
Posted: 4:30 pm on January 26th
Sunsunnyday writes: So sorry, I forgot to give you the sites. Here they are:
http://www.gardensmart.tv/?p=articles&title=Tomaccio_Tomatoes

www.raker.com or http://www.raker.com/doc/raker.tomaccio.handout.pdf

Have a wonderful day!
Posted: 4:03 pm on January 17th
Sunsunnyday writes: I have three dehydrators because I dehydrate a lot for gifts. If you do not rush & just allow the dehydrator to do its thing, small tomatoes will dry like cheeries or blueberries. Blueberries are loaded with juice but I do not poke it, I just let it be & eventually it comes out so beautifully. I even put it in empty supplement bottles & ship it all over the US & inclouding to Ponape where my girlfriend teaches. I have done cherry tomatoes before & it turned out fine. My girlfriend just sent me an article about Tomaccio & this year I will try to plant it. If you wish to know more here are two sites to look at, which might help you.
Posted: 4:01 pm on January 17th
gardenbuddy writes: You can try it again and take out the pulp from the tomatoes, or try drying them longer and dry them outside. There are a lot of plans online for solar dehydrators you can make yourself. There are a few good books out there on preserving using dehydration:

Put 'em up
Preserving the harvest
Preserving food without freezing or canning

Posted: 9:56 am on February 4th
WesternGardener writes: Thanks for sharing your experience drying these specialty tomatoes. I especially appreciated the specifics of drying them in a dehydrator. I may give your technique a try.


Posted: 4:24 pm on September 2nd
btri writes: I grew a Tomaccio tomato this year. For dehydrating, I sliced mine in half lengthwise and then dried in my dehydrator. It took about 12 hours with my dehydrator set at about 140 degrees, which is normal compared to other things I dry. Drying fruit whole is difficult because the skin is preventing the moisture from escaping.

I didn't really see a big advantage of the Tomaccio over Black Cherry, of which I also dried some. The Black Cherry is a juicier and better eating fresh tomato. The Tomaccio dries nicely and is also good cut up and put directly on pizza as it is firmer and drier to start with.
Posted: 5:26 pm on August 28th
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