Make Your Own Sun Dried Tomatoes
Everyone loves sun dried tomatoes and they make a great addition to side dish recipes like pasta and rice dishes. It’s so easy you’ll wonder why you never did it before. Sun dried tomatoes, oven dried tomatoes; much the same.
Sun dried tomatoes are delicious and you can make them at home, any time of year. They’re great in holiday side dish recipes, adding concentrated flavor and bright red color. Sun dried tomatoes are fat free and good for you, as well, and it‘s a great way to use a lot of cherry tomatoes.
First you need to get good fruit. Good fruit is fruit that is ripe and firm, and has no scrapes, scabs, bruises, spots, splits or punctures. When buying (or picking) fresh tomatoes take off the green stem because it’ll always poke into another tomato. Wash the tomatoes before use.
Quick and Easy Recipe
- A sharp knife,
- Cutting board,
- A saucer,
- A bowl (for tomato seeds),
- A baking sheet or two,
- Nonstick spray or a tablespoon of cooking oil,
- A warm oven preheated to 250 (f).
Line the pan with foil and spray or wipe with the oil so the tomatoes won’t stick.
Any kind of tomato will work; cut the tomatoes in half and clean out the seeds and juice, then cut into eighths by cutting the halves in half and then cut the quarters in half. For larger tomatoes, cut in half and clean, then cut into strips ¼ inch wide.
Lay the strips on the baking sheet in rows, fitting as many as possible without the tomatoes ever touching each other. Sprinkle with some garlic and/or onion powder and put them into the oven. Set your timer for 90 minutes and wait. Don’t open the oven door to look at them, the low heat will escape and the oven will have to warm up again, making the element come on. That could cause prematurely brown or crispy tomatoes.
Watch Them Closely, Oven-dried Tomatoes Burn Quickly
At the end of the 90 minute period take them out of the oven. Look at them, some will be obviously dried all the way and some will be brown. Brown is alright, it still has great flavor and is not burned, so it doesn’t taste burned. Some of them just have to turn brown, no matter how careful you are (and the commercial ones are brown, too), so don’t fret about it, but remove them from the pan and put them and all the other obviously dry ones on a saucer.
Put the pan back in the oven and look at them every 15 minutes until they’re all done, taking them out and removing the done ones each time. Try to get them out just as they’re fully done but not brown, yet. It’s really nice to have bright red ones in your side dishes.
Set Aside Some Sundried Tomatoes for Dinner Tonight
If the tomatoes have been dried properly all you have to do is store them in an air-tight container in a dark place that doesn’t get too warm. If you’re not sure if they’re dried all the way, but you don’t want to risk spoiling the whole batch, store them in extra virgin olive oil (evoo).
Put the tomatoes in a jar and fill the jar with evoo, covering the tomatoes. You can even flavor this evoo and it’s really good. Add a few crushed peppercorns or a minced clove of garlic in the jar. Keep it in a dark, cool, dry place for 3 weeks, shaking it occasionally. When it’s done, use it on pasta or rice for a gourmet dish in minutes, or put some in a meatloaf or soup.
You can put it all in a pretty jar, put a pretty ribbon around it and give it as a hostess gift or holiday gift this season. Many cooks love getting someone’s else’s makings as gifts.
Have fun and enjoy!