Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Oven Dried Tomatoes

(adapted from Café Beaujolais, by Margaret S. Fox and John Bear, 1984)

5 lbs small to medium tomatoes (about 2 to 4 ounces each)
Olive oil (and yes, it should be extra virgin olive oil)

Select firm tomatoes. Cut a 1/4 inch slice from the stem of each tomato. Cut each small tomato nearly in half lengthwise, leaving it attached at the opposite end, and opening flat so the cut sides are exposed. Cut larger tomatoes nearly in quarters lengthwise, leaving them attached at the opposite end, and opening flat so the cut sides are exposed.

Place on cake racks, cut side up, not quite touching each other, and place the racks on baking sheets. Sprinkle the cut surfaces of the tomatoes with salt, then place in a 200 degree oven, and dry for about 8 hours if you have a gas oven. If you have an electric oven, bake them for about 6 hours, then turn the oven off overnight, and bake them at 200 for another hour in the morning. They are ready when they have shriveled and feel dry, but are still flexible and not brittle. Some may take a bit longer to get dry. Regular tomatoes will still feel a bit squishy. Take the big tomatoes that you have quartered out before the extra hour of baking. They’ll still be a bit squishy, but they don’t hold up well to the extra cooking time.

Store in small jars in the fridge for up to a month or so or in the freezer for up to few months. They should be covered with olive oil if stored in jars. If you are freezing them, you can either put them in freezer bags without oil or in small jars with olive oil. If you are freezing in jars, be sure to leave enough room for the contents to expand as they freeze. Leave at least half an inch of head room, and don’t screw the lid on tightly until after they have frozen. Otherwise, the jars may break and you’ll not only lose the tomatoes, but have a mess in the freezer, too. After you’ve eaten the jarred tomatoes, use the oil in salad dressings. It will have a nice, rich tomato-y taste. You could put a clove or two of garlic each jar of tomatoes for a garlic-y tomato taste.

No comments:

Post a Comment