“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Oven Dried Tomatoes - Or - How to Stay Warm When The Temperature Cools!

I love the intense flavor in roasted vegetables, and sun dried tomatoes are right up there in taste. Its also a great way to store those too many tomatoes. A couple weeks ago, when we had some cooler days, I got started on this storage project. First I picked and washed a colander full of the small varieties of tomatoes from the garden. I had quite a bounty, and we just couldn't eat them fast enough. For most of the tomatoes I just sliced them in half, but some of the bigger tomatoes were cut in slices for quicker drying. Next time I will quarter them instead.Then I placed them in rows, not touching, in Pyrex dishes where I had sprinkled a layer of salt, and gave them another sprinkle of salt on top. When you type in "oven dried tomatoes" in your "search" box, you will not find one recipe alike. Some have you marinate the tomatoes; heavily spice the tomatoes; oil the tomatoes; peel the tomatoes. I did none of this. I would not recommend peeling the tomatoes though. The slices that exposed the flesh to the glass were reduced to almost nothing, and were difficult to pry from the glass. Resting the tomatoes on their skin make them easy to collect. The first batch I made followed a dinner that had been cooking at 400 degrees. I popped the tomatoes in and let the oven cool to 200. I looked up several recipes that gave temperatures from 130 to 200F, and I would recommend 200F with occasionally moving things along with a temperature boost to 400 and then turning it back down to 200 for a couple hours. One thing you need to be sure of is that the pieces are totally dry. You retrieve the pieces one by one, depending on size, and I think the process took at least eight hours. Maybe more. Some recipes said it would take 16 hours, so you may want to leave them on your lowest setting overnight. I did this on a dry day, so I'm sure that helped.I then let them cool before I put them in a freezer bag to keep frozen for when I need them in a recipe. Again, some recipes stored the tomatoes in oil and I might do that another time, but I wanted mine to keep as long as possible without spoiling.
There is nothing like the taste of summer food in the cold of winter.
I can't wait!

4 comments:

Lois Evensen said...

Great instructions. I'll have to try it the next time we have way too many tomatoes to eat before they naturally begin to spoil.

Lois Evensen said...

Hi!

I just stopped back to tell you that I left something for you on my blog today. ;)

Hugs,
Lois

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi, just stopped by from Lois' blog and found this recipe. If we have any tomatoes left in our garden, it's one to try.

We've been on a road trip through Maine since late Sept. The colors in your previous post are similar to ones we've seen on our trip.

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} said...

these look fantastic!

i really want a dehydrator...i think i could have much fun with one:)