Dried Garden Tomatoes: Save A Fortune, Come Winter

Took a walk through the Veggie Garden of Wunx last night. She had plenty of pretty flowers but what struck me when I rounded the garden corner were tomato vines, taller than me. She must have had 300 luscious tomatoes, ripening on the vine.

It got me thinking about how tricky tomato seedlings can be.

Sneaky, conniving little monsters. They act so sweet and innocent in the springtime. So tiny. There's room! Let's plant a few extras!

Twelve weeks later all hell breaks loose and, well, you can run but you can't hide.

So, it IS Labor Day weekend and these tomatoes SHOULD be red by now. They'll probably get there but how does one cope with a truckload of tomaters?

Never fear. Hazel is here. She dries tomatoes in her oven and Wunx can, too. :)

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
  • Start with firm, ripe (not overly ripe) fresh-picked tomatoes.
  • Slice cherry tomatoes in half, slice larger tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Sprinkle sea salt to improve flavor and speed up the drying process.
  • Set the oven to 175 - 200 degrees (F).
  • Place tomatoes, skin side down, on a baking sheet. Perforated pizza pans are great because they allow air circulation.
  • Slowly roast these babies. It could take anywhere from 3-12 hours (depending upon the size of the tomato slices.)
How to Know if You've Screwed Up:
√ Dried tomatoes are done when they feel pliable, kind of leathery.
√ If your tomatoes are brittle, they're over-done and you get an A for effort, nothing more.

To Rehydrate Dried Tomatoes:
Soak in water for 1-2 hours or toss directly into soups and stews.

You can dry green tomatoes. However, you might be a whole lot happier if you ripen them the old fashioned way and dry them when they're ready. That's why windowsills were invented, way back when.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Great directions! My mother dries tomatoes as well. She'll usually leave them in olive oil. How do you store your dried tomatoes? How long do they keep? I wonder if you could do somehting yummy with brittle tomatoes if you screw up - like grind into a powder or something. I'm feeling like summer after reading this post!