Sun Dried Tomato
You Say Tomato
I say Peel Chop Dry!
Buying sun dried tomatoes is expensive! Holy cow! But adding them to a dish can turn an ordinary pesto into a pot of gold. Or, make that bland sauce bold with flavor. I know, that sounded totally corny. But totally true! Did you know that you can make your own sun dried tomatoes at home for FREE? AND eco-friendly, greeny, crunchy, (and all those other adjectives, too) Got a tomato plant or two? Sweet! There ya go! You’re 1/2 way there.
The basic process is super easy. If Grandma Juice can do it, anyone can right? Although, it does take at minimum a whole day. At max, two weeks! Yikes! However, if they are stored properly, they last a really, really long time. I think it’s worth it. Not only do you save money at the store, but you make magical tomato dishes that dance (corny!) And, if you do it old school style you’re even all eco-friendly and green! I know!!!
Photo found on Flickr.com, courtesy of La Grande Famer’s Market.
You can use any kind of tomato you’d like. Even the cute cherry tomatoes! The preferred kind is Roma. They tend to have less seeds and more flesh. Whichever variety you choose, make sure they are all about the same size so they dry at the same rate. You simply slice an average sized Roma tomato in thirds (don’t make slices to thin) and place evenly spaced out on a mesh screen. (do not buy one! take that old window screen you’ve been saving like they do on ‘Hoarders’ and BAM! you’ve re-purposed it) Sprinkle sliced tomatoes with sea salt (fresh ground) and herbs. (basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano.. you pick!) Then place those babies out in the hot summer sun! Depending upon where you live, this could take anywhere from 4-5 days up to 2 weeks. Here in the desert of Las Vegas, I’m looking closer to 4-5 days for example. Cover with a cheesecloth to keep the bugs off and let them dry baby dry!
That’s it! Told ya, super easy, super FREE is you are growing some of your own too! Sun dried tomatoes do NOT have to cost a small fortune anymore! And, if you want to speed up this process and not be all old school you can do the exact same process of slicing, seasoning then pop them in your oven instead. Set it at 180*. Place sliced tomatoes on non-stick baking sheet (no oil, no spray) and leave them in for approximately 8-10 hours. Also, a food dehydrator works quite awesome as well. I however prefer the ‘out in the ‘sun’ method for making sun dried tomatoes. Sort of like sun tea made in the coffee pot. Not really the same, ya know?
10-12 tomatoes will make about 1 ounce. To store, simply place sun dried tomatoes in an air tight zip-loc bag. Or, if you can place in jar with some olive oil, garlic, and a bit more of those herbs you picked and refrigerate.
Check back as well have be featuring some really super yummy recipes you can now make with those new sun dried tomatoes!