Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Yep, just what it says. Homemade sun-dried tomatoes.
Why would you make them when they’re so easy to buy? Sometimes there are ingredients in them you don’t want or oils that aren’t so healthy. And if you have a bumper crop of tomatoes, it’s pretty satisfying to make a lot of things out of them.
I ran across this recipe on a lovely blog I found through Daring Bakers and I had to try it. The fact that I’m posting about them tells you that they turned out well, although they took a lot longer than I thought. The recipe suggests 8 hours in a warm oven, but mine took 12 hours in a warm oven and then an addition 8 after I turned the oven off and went to bed. They could have dried a tad bit longer, too, but I was antsy and took them out.The lady that posted this recipe lives in India. I guess this only takes 8 hours in India. Maybe I should have tried this in the summer when it isn’t rainy. And when tomatoes are in season. Yeah . . .
Anyway, they turned out delicious! They don’t have as strong of flavor as the store-bought ones do, so I may salt them a bit more next time. You can chop these puppies up and throw them in salads, on a pizza, as a soup garnish. Or buzz them up into Homemade Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto! (There are six recipes in that pesto post where you can use the pesto!)
Sun-dried Tomatoes Without the Sun
Yield: Makes 1 pint
Make your own homemade sun-dried tomatoes preserved in healthy olive oil! It’s a perfect use for all of those tomatoes spilling out of the garden.
16 plum/Roma tomatoes; cut into halves, or quarters if they are too big
2 Tablespoons olive oil
5 sprigs of thyme
4 cloves of garlic peeled
about a cup of extra virgin olive oil
Generous pinches of sea salt & black pepper
Red chili flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven between 50-60C (see comment).
Place the cut tomatoes on baking sheets lined with parchment, cut sides up, & drizzle liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper.
Place into the pre-heated oven & leave to dry for at least 7-8 hours or until most of the moisture has gone. Be careful to leave some moisture in them so they taste nice & juicey when preserved. They should be roughly the consistency of raisins. If they are wet & sloppy, they are underdone; if they are dark & brown, they are overdone.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven & leave to cool until they can be easily handled.
While the tomatoes are cooling, you can sterilize a pint-sized mason jar. Wash it in hot soapy water, & place it upside down in a preheated oven at 50C. After 10 minutes remove it form the oven & leave it to cool.
Sprinkle a little salt & pepper into the jar, add the peeled garlic cloves, the thyme & the chilies/pepper.
Place the tomatoes in the jar, & pour enough olive oil to fully submerge them. They should keep for six months in the fridge as long as they are always covered in oil.
1. The temperature suggested is roughly 120 degrees F. Most household ovens just go down to 170. I dried my tomatoes at this temperature (170), and I thought it did fine. (I thought it would actually be faster if my oven was hotter than 120, but um . . . humidity is a huge factor, I think.)
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