Food

Nutritious, Delicious, and Filling: How to Make Your Own Sun Dried Tomatoes

I’ve had mixed success with tomatoes this season. My heirloom tomatoes I grew from seed have produced “meh,”  (good but not prolific) but the two vines of organic, non-GMO roma tomatoes I bought from Home Depot as starter plants have taken off. These were supposed to be a determinate variety, meaning that they won’t keep growing until it reaches Jack’s giant in the clouds…but…these were supposed to only grow 24-36 inches. But I’m 5’3 and these are now taller than I am. IMG_9729 And while my pasta sauce is a great big fat hit with The Hubster and the kids, I’ve always wanted to try using some of my produce to make sun dried tomatoes. They’re so sweet and chewy and make for a great, healthy snack. Problem is, it’s super expensive in the stores. That’s the beauty of home-growing. After an initial steep investment for a top-line food dehydrator, this stuff is costing me about $1. However, you don’t need to buy an expensive dehydrator if you have a decent stove with a convection feature. But note that some stoves (like mine) won’t go lower than 170 degrees, which might be too high for some food items. Sundried Tomatoes Sun dried tomatoes are excellent when infused with olive oil and Italian spices like dried oregano and basil. Since I’m growing those spices as well, I throw them in at the end.

Prepare:

I adapted this recipe from The Dehydrator Bible. The best type of tomatoes to dry are roma, because they have a lower water content and more “tomato meat.” With the size of my Roma’s–much smaller than you buy in the stores, I cut them in half lengthwise, and then slice each half in four more slices. You can remove the seeds if you like, but ain’t nobody got time for that in my house. đŸ˜‰ I set my machine for 130 degrees for about 11 hours. But you’ll have to gauge yours by the type of drying medium you’re using. It might be more time, but probably not less. The best way to know is to taste them yourself after about 10 hours. If they’re chewy and you can no longer feel a watery pulp, then they’re done. They should be about the consistency of a raisin. After the tomatoes are dry, I put them into a small, wide mouth mason jar, and then fill it with olive oil and Italian spices.  Be sure you add enough olive oil to completely saturate the tomatoes. Let it sit out at room temperature for the day to allow the spices to infuse, then refrigerate. This should be good for a couple weeks in the fridge.

Oh! And after you’ve enjoyed the whole jar, don’t dump the olive oil! You’ll have a delicious infusion of tomatoes and Italian spices to cook with. Waste not…

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