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)
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.
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:
- 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.