How to Make Oven-Dried Tomatoes
I like cooking with sundried tomatoes, adding them to recipes that call for their canned or fresh kin (like this recipe for risotto with cherry tomatoes). But I find that the store-bought ones are either preserved with sulfites (and a dark, unattractive color) or too oily. So I decided to try making my own in the oven. I found several recipes calling for baking times ranging from 4 hours to 16, and oven temps from 150 to 300. I split the difference and came up with this technique. It could not be easier, and it's a great technique to keep in mind as summer tomatoes begin coming into the market. (If you find yourself with some semi-ripe tomatoes and want to nudge them along, here's how to ripen garden tomatoes.)
Choose ripe tomatoes of your favorite variety, of similar size. I used 8 nice Early Girls, about cue-ball size. Cut in half, run a paring knife around the inside to remove the seeds, and place in a mixing bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 tsp. dried thyme (or herb of your choice) and 1/4 tsp. salt. Toss gently to combine. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat oven to your lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees). Place tomato halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Place in the oven before you go to bed and you’ll wake up to perfectly concentrated, tomato yumminess. You don’t want these babies totally desiccated, but still plump. (I put the tray in the oven around 10:15 p.m. and the tomatoes were just right when I woke up at 6:00 the following morning.) To store: Place in a sterilized glass jar and cover with olive oil; keeps for about 2 weeks. For longer storage, place in a zippered freezer bag and drizzle with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.
Bryn Mooth, writer & editor
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