Are there any tender sundried tomatoes or do they all have a tough skin? Could they be peeled before drying?
Do you dry your own, or are you buying them? The oil packed ones are more tender than the ones that aren't. Also, the ones I make at home are much nicer and more flavorful than what I can buy.
I'm buying them. Have never tried to make any, but would love to. How do you dry them?
Jankey, At the height of production from my small tomato garden (3 earth boxes), I eagerly harvest them for oven drying. It's a relatively simple process that yields a flavorful product...like eating candy! There are numerous ways to sundry them, but I find simple is good enough for me.
I grow cherry tomatoes but grape or small Roma tomatoes work well. You can put herbs on them although they are so flavorful that I don't.
Whole gloves of garlic, unpeeled
Preheat oven to 225ÃÂ°F. Halve each cherry or grape tomato crosswise, or Roma tomato lengthwise and arrange on a rack on a parchment-lined baking sheet along with the cloves of garlic. *I like to put them on a rack so the heat surrounds the tomatoes. Mist tomatoes with olive oil, just enough to make the tomatoes glisten.
Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about three hours. You want the tomatoes to be shriveled and dry. This could take more time depending on the size of your tomatoes.
Either use them right away or let them cool, cover them with some extra olive oil and keep them in the fridge up to a week, or freeze.
Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin for a yummy spread of garlic bread or bruschetta.
*Years ago I would bring sundried tomatoes home from my business trips to California because this was one of many products that haden't made it to the East Coast yet. My mother, who is from Naples, Italy, asked what they were. I said "they are only the coolest thing, they are sundried tomatoes!!" and I thought "oh, you peasant!".
Well, later she told me that as a child in Italy, her job was to look after the racks of tomatoes as the literally sundried. My grandfather had made the racks and grew the tomatoes, grandma prepared the tomatoes, and my mom carted the out to the yard to "sun dry" then bring them in when dried. So who was the "peasant?"...yeah, me.
Martha S did an oven-dried plum tomato that I just LOVE. Split length-wise with seeds removed. Liberally tossed in nice olive oil. Onto a rack over sheet pan. Liberal S&P and sprinkling of brown sugar. Into low oven... like 250.. till shriveled up but not dry. Like candy... and usually eaten right off the rack!?!
Nice story mustangs.
So many methods of sun drying/oven drying/dehydrating.
Usually done for storage as a way of preserving when the harvest is full-on and/or much cheaper to purchase locally. Best dried when ripe and sweet. The ones you purchase are usually romas, smallish paste tomatoes that are dense in meat and dry with lots of flavor.
I dry mine similar to mustangs. Low oven heat, long and slow. I prefer them still soft, drying on parchment on a 1/2 sheet pan. Then freeze them in small amounts.
Some dry them all the way to crisp for different cooking uses.
I've bought different styles over the years, in oil, etc. Often the oil is of pour quality and i find them just hard skinned and greasy. Yet full of flavor if sliced very thin.
Recently bough a small amount at a local roadside stand that are moist and tender. No brand name since they obviously buy a large quantity and re-package with their own grocery label.
Nuts.com has a few (see link). The second one down are the ones i like. 4.99lb. A good price for the quality.
"Great for cooking, but better watch out because you may eat these moist and soft sun dried tomatoes as soon as you open up the package!!!"
The final quality is what you start with. Grocery romas this time of year would not be a great end result. (but much better than their watery bla no-flavor selves)
If you want to experiment with oven drying, try some cherry tomatoes cut in half, cut side up, on a cookie sheet. And some big table grapes. Bought some big black ones recently. Oven dried with a few cherry tomatoes, just dried till half their size. Still moist. Delicious on a winter salad with goat cheese or fetta and toasted nuts like a pecan.
Here is a link that might be useful: sun dried tomatoes
Thank you so much for all the info and advice. Will try drying next year and will try Nuts.com now.
Here is a recent Nuts.com post.
I've not ordered from them but many have and they get great reviews.
Wish they had a retail store! I was in their neighborhood recently.
Here is a link that might be useful: nuts etc
Not to brag, but I bought 600 g of sun dried tomatoes from a market in Naples as a tribute to my mom. Thankfully it was one of the things that made it through customs. I just opened them to make Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Cream. They are fantastic!
Go to the Harvest Forum and search for Sun Dried Tomatoes, there is an excellent procedure that yields a superior product. If you can't find it, repost and I'll post it here.
skeip - thank you - read several interesting posts in Harvest. Considering the weather and bugs where I live I'll be buying, not growing, sun dried toms.
Do you think it is totally not worth making these from romas that I can get at the produce market, probably coming in from Mexico at this point? I'm having a dinner party and it would be kind of cool to make something like this to give out as party favors. I couldn't find many takers for my Christmas cookies this time of year, everyone was like me, trying to get rid of the mountains of sweet treats sitting around!
Laurie, I feel your frustration about toms from Mexico; when I'm in between harvest, I have to buy whatever is available too.
Drying intensifies the flavor so much that you may be okay using store-bought. Report back if you do this.
mustangs, brag on! Good score.
Would love some new recipes for sun-dried toms.
I usually use them in salads...chicken, tuna, etc.
Slice and add a bit of flavor bombs to some soups.
Not sure about using winter romas for oven dried. Might find a good price but i would have to give them a boost.
A dressing splash during the oven roasting/drying. Evoo, ac vinegar and something fruity like white balsamic. I have a small bag in the door of my fridge that is maybe, loose count, 30ish sun-dried halves. That is 15 tomatoes for a tiny bag. I'd look at cost and see if it is worth it.
Nothing wrong with zesting them with honey or an invented combo of spices....honey, sriracha, and thyme?
Cute, maybe a dozen or so skewered on a fancy tooth pic in a bag?
I would use them in your meal somewhere so those that are in love with them will have a recipe to relate.
We are seeing big boxes of sweet potatoes now, so soon i will give in and make some batches of sweet potato chips....need good mandoline skills. I've often made so many that i will send bags home with those that like them.