Tomatoes: That Inner Squirrel Again

Things go smoothly with my helper looking on and offering advice.

Things go smoothly with my helper looking on and offering advice.

The tomatoes are starting to come in strongly now and I have this time made a vat of soup for the freezer and dried tomatoes for winter use.  I found years ago, that a dried tomato in a tossed salad recalls summer for me far more than these pale globular pretenders the stores pass off as tomatoes in the winter.  I grow a certain type of tomato to dry called Principe Borghese.  It doesn’t have as much moisture content and has a small size, convenient to just cut it in half  for drying, but Romas and other drier paste varieties also work well.

Fill the tray completely as they will shrink

Fill the tray completely as they will shrink

Here is the finished product.  I pack them dry in plastic bags and freeze them although they are frequently stored under olive oil.

Here is the finished product. I pack them in dry plastic bags and freeze them although they are frequently stored under olive oil.

It is too humid here in coastal Connecticut to sun dry them but I invested in a desiccator many years ago and it has paid me back many fold in the money I have saved on winter tomatoes.   It takes about 14 hours to dry them at 135º.  It can be done in an oven, if yours has a low temperature setting below 200º.  If it is done in an oven, you can sprinkle some salt over them but I don’t with the desiccator for fear the salt will get into the fan and metal parts.   All I do is wash them, halve them and place them on the trays.  I begin to check them after about twelve hours, in case some of the thinner ones have dried early.  When they are ready there won’t be any moisture left and they will feel rubbery.  I store them in the freezer, just in case some aren’t completely desiccated to avoid possible bacteria.  Dried tomatoes can be snipped into a salad, used in pasta recipes and made into pesto among many other ways to use them.

Our everyday winter tossed salad has these snipped tomato slivers.  They really evoke summer  flavor.

Our everyday winter tossed salad has these snipped tomato slivers. They really evoke summer flavor.

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Mary said,

    All you need is the caption, “Charlo approves this method.” 🙂 I have been doing this ever since you first mentioned it and have found many uses for them. I mostly dry cherry tomatoes. They provide such an amazing burst of tomato flavor, they are a real treat in the dead of winter.

    Like

  2. 3

    Carla said,

    Charlo is looking at my feet again!! LOL!

    Like


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