Homemade Dried Tomatoes
I must say I do love dried tomatoes and homemade dried tomatoes are even better!! Plus they are so simple to make yourself, once you know how there is almost no reason not to do it!!
Tomato season is coming, though for me tomato season is all year round as I work in a tomato greenhouse for most of the year here in Iceland. But for most people tomatoes are a seasonal produce and when they do come, if you have your own plants, you usually have way to many too handle all at once and need something to do with them. Among many different things ways of preserving tomatoes is drying them. It is actually a very simple process to make your own dried tomatoes it just takes a long time to let the dry but the outcome is totally worth it.
Making them yourself allows you to be able to make them exactly how you want, you can make them only part dried where they will still be soft and squishy or go the all the way and make fully dried tomatoes, almost rubbery and chewy but with such a spectacular rich flavour!
I like my dried tomatoes very dried and quite chewy. There is something wonderful about they rich flavour and the texture. I find the chewer the dried tomato, the longer lasting the flavour will be!
I would say the way I dry tomatoes is ‘warm wind dried tomatoes’. I do not have access to strong dry sun to make sun-dried tomatoes so I use what I have, the oven. On a lot heat on fan bake you can generate some good warm wind to dry out your tomatoes.
So here is the very easy recipe.
You can change the flavour of these how ever you like, Try adding some herbs in with the tomatoes to change the flavour, or drizzle with a small amount of balsamic vinegar. The choice is yours and there are endless possibilities but this recipe is for simple dried tomatoes.
If you can get plum tomatoes I like to use these as I like their shape and find they can dry quicker than big round tomatoes.
You will need large flat or low sided oven trays. High sided trays are not ideal.
Homemade Dried Tomatoes
Tomatoes, as much as you can fit into your trays and oven.
Sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper and salt (optional)
Olive oil for storing (option but advised)
1. Slice your tomatoes, either slice them in half or if you are using large chunky tomatoes slice into wedges.
2. Lay you tomatoes out on your oven trays, you only want to lay them out one layer deep so they all dry evenly, if they are stacked onto of each other they will not dry properly.
3. Sprinkle over the salt and pepper, or any other herbs and flavourings.
4. Turn your oven onto 120decC and fan bake.
5. Fill your oven with the oven trays, you want to make sure there is space for the air to circulate between trays so don’t over fill your oven.
6. Leave to dry out for a very long time until desired dryness is achieved. For me this takes about 7-8 hours but it will also depend on how big your tomatoes are. The smaller the tomato, or smaller wedges will dry quicker so make sure you check every hour or so along the drying process.
7. Allow to fully cool to room temperature then transfer into container for storing. It is best to store the tomatoes in a jar or airtight container fully covered in olive oil, this way they will keep for a very very long time. If there is any moisture in the tomato and it is not covered with oil it will start to go mouldy.
If your tomatoes have no moisture at all left in them then they are fine to leave out of the oil but it is best to leave in an air tight container or a bag and squeeze out all the air. When open to the air this is what makes food go off quicker.
Now that you have your yummy dried tomatoes you can use them however you like! Eat them as they are, use them in cooking, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Make them into pesto. Again the possibilities are endless!