Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Oven-Dry Tomatoes

A couple of people asked about how I oven-dried my tomatoes last summer. I'm re-posting my method below. Thanks for asking!
(originally posted September 2012)

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I have never canned anything before, and I don't think I grow enough food to go through the trouble of canning. I like the idea of preserving fresh food for the winter, and we do freeze a lot of food. I have local squash, spinach, and broccoli in the freezer that I haven't got around to using yet. Peppers freeze very easily--we clean them, core and remove the seeds, and then slice or chop them up, put them in a container, and leave them in the freezer. When I'm ready to use my peppers, I often just run them under water to soften them up and then they're ready to chop and add to your dish.
I had several ripe tomatoes on hand and decided to try oven roasting them.

tomatoes for roasting
These are so many recipes online with varying times and oven temperatures, and after sorting through all of them, I decided to follow this one by David Lebovitz. The length of time is hard to gauge because it depends on the size and moisture level of tomatoes. I've read that Roma tomatoes are best because they have a lower water content than others. Unfortunately my pile of tomatoes was of different varieties and sizes, so I loosely followed his recipe, but mainly decided to wing it.

I had one beefsteak tomato, a few Romas, a handful of cherries, and some Pink Brandywine heirlooms from my garden. I waited until we had a cloudy, somewhat cool day so that running the oven for 3 hours wouldn't stifle us to death in the summer heat. Here's what I did:

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Cut the tomatoes in half horizontally, remove the stems, and remove the seeds. I patted dry some of the juicier tomatoes with a paper towel to remove some excess moisture.
- In an 8x8 pyrex baking dish, add about 3 tbsp olive oil, one clove of garlic, 1 tbsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp dried basil (from my garden!), and salt and pepper.*
- Toss tomatoes around in dish so that all sides are coated.
- Place tomatoes cut side down in the dish.
- Bake for 2 1/2 hours or until tomato skin is wrinkly. (Some of my smaller tomatoes were ready after 2 hours).


*Feel free to add your own combination of herbs and seasonings here. I think next time I'm going to use rosemary and thyme, or maybe do one dish with oregano only.


oven roasted tomatoes final
Here's the finished product. They don't look very pretty, but let me tell you, they smelled fantastic! The whole house smelled like olive oil, oregano, and basil, like a pizzeria! I almost hyperventilated from inhaling all that yumminess. I let them cool a little and then put them in a freezer bag. I think they'll be great in soups and sauces later this Fall.


9 comments:

  1. My mum dries little tomatoes in the oven - she dries them completely using a really low oven for about 4-5 hours for cherry sized tomatoes. She then stores the dried tomatoes in the fridge. They are really good too.

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  2. Oh, Angela, I can just smell them. You are so talented -- I have made a copy of this posting and placed it in my canning/freezing folder for next season. P. x

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  3. Angela I cannot wait for my tomatoes to be planted and to produce bushels this year...fingers crossed as I want to try oven roasting my own...we adore oven roasted tomatoes in so many things especially on homemade pizza

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  4. That sounds amazing.....I can't wait to try it myself....xxxxx

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  5. Thanks for the instructions. I can't wait to have fresh Tomatoes--one of the best parts of summer!

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  6. Oh I was laughing at myself when I first read this a few days ago. I somehow thought you were drying them to store them in the cupboard. I roast a lot of tomatoes with onion, garlic and herbs, but I don't take out the stems and seeds, which means there is a lot more juice. Then I store them in containers in the freezer. I can see the beautiful oven roasted colors on yours. That is such a great flavor. So I am wondering why you take the stems and seeds out. Do you do that to save freezer space or what? they certainly look beautiful and the smell and taste is sure to be a wonderful treat while there is still snow on the ground!

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  7. I tried pinning to Pinterest, but wasn't able to. It must be because the images are on flickr.

    I'll need to try this over the summer. I had lots of Roma tomatoes last year.

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    1. Hey Girl Sprout! I actually pinned it to my own Bumblelush pin board on pinterest. You should be able to get it from there...

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