Its summer and that means tomato time! If it’s not summer for you, then you can try this with sweet cherry tomatoes.
I had to find a way to cook a lot of tomatoes fast. Some were already over-ripening.
This is one of the best ways to preserve tomatoes. They roast slowly in the oven and the sugars concentrate. Even people who usually don’t like tomatoes love them this way. They are sweeter, and less acidic than raw tomato.
The prep is up front. You need to slice and remove the core and seeds from the center.
This way they dry much faster in the oven. But, don’t throw out all the tomato insides. They would make a great salsa or Pico de Gallo.
Here’s the short list to make these oven-dried tomatoes
- quarter some ripe Roma tomatoes
- remove core, seeds, and juice
- place on baking sheet in a single layer
- sprinkle with very little salt
- roast in the oven for 2.5-3.5 hours at 250 F
Then, you can choose to store them in the fridge for a week or two just like that. Or store them in olive oil and will last 2 weeks in the fridge like that. Covering them in oil and putting them in the fridge will preserve them longest.
Use these just as you would sun-dried tomatoes.
These tomatoes are perfect for chicken pesto sandwiches, balsamic glazed pita wraps, a cheese board, or frittata. A pastry chef I knew even made a sun-dried tomato and olive oil gelato one time. If you like tomatoes, you’ll find a way to use them!
Yield: about 2 cups dried tomatoes
- 3-4 lbs. tomatoes (Roma is best)
- About 1 tsp. salt
- Herbs like thyme and oregano (optional)
- olive oil (optional)
2 Baking sheets
Parchment paper or silicone mat
1. Quarter the tomatoes. Remove the stem and core, seeds, and juice. You can save this to make salsa. But, you want the tomato “petals” to be as dry as possible.
2. Place tomato petals on the parchment lined baking sheet curled up. Make sure they are not overlapping. Sprinkle with very little salt, a few grains per petal. Don’t over salt because it will concentrate as it dries.
3. Place in the oven at 250 F for 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours or the tomatoes have almost no liquid in them. Add a couple sprigs of thyme or oregano in the last hour of drying. Toss and then spread them out again. Dry more time if you are preserving them longer. The less liquid they have, the longer they keep.
4. After they are dried, turn the oven off and prop the door open. Just let them cool in the oven.
5. Once cooled, place in a jar. Pack well and top with olive oil. Or, just place in jar. Keep them in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. If the olive oil solidifies in the fridge and looks weird, its okay. Take the jar out for 30 minutes or so and oil will liquify and be fine.
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