Monday, 1 April 2013

... Using Summer Produce: Oven-dry Tomatoes

Home-grown Tomatoes
This seemingly endless summer has been tough on farmers and produce growers. But winemakers are expecting an excellent vintage from this year's grapes, and home gardeners are thrilled with their tomato crops. All that sunshine has made the grapes and tomatoes sweet and delicious.
  I'm growing Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes and a miniature acid-free Italian type. We've eaten them almost every day for months; raw in salads, roasted, chopped up for guacamole, in tarts and cooked in olive oil with garlic and parsley for pasta sauce. We are almost all-tomatoed out! And still the plants keep producing!
  So I decided to oven-dry some and see what they were like. Here's what I did. You don't need to be precise about quantities.

Oven-dried Tomatoes

As many ripe tomatoes (smaller are better than bigger ones) as will fit, halved, on a wire rack
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
a good sprinkling of fresh thyme (less if you're using dried thyme) or mixed herbs
olive oil

  1. Halve the tomatoes & place cut side down on a wire rack to drain. I use the cake cooling rack I have for baking.
  2. Leave for about 1/2 an hour.
  3. Turn tomatoes cut side up.
  4. Mix the sugar, salt and herbs together and sprinkle over tomatoes.
  5. Stand the wire rack on a baking tray and bake for several hours at 50 degrees centigrade.
You'll know when the tomatoes are done as they will be shriveled up and almost dry to touch. You want them with a leathery, not crisp, texture.
Layer into sterilized jars and fill with olive oil till the tomatoes are covered.

We really liked these. They give bursts of sweet, concentrated tomato flavour in dishes. Another recipe to add to my tomato repertoire.

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