It’s my favorite time of year: tomato season! I kicked it off a week or so ago when I was cleaning out my office and found a rather expensive software license that I got for free at a seminar last year. I remembered a classmate was complaining about having to buy her own software, so I offered it to her. She remembered my passion for tomatoes and gave me two pints of cherry tomatoes as a thanks. Then I thought that maybe other people had an overabundance of tomatoes and decided to put up my first wanted posting on Freecycle asking for tomatoes. Soon I heard back from a local chef who has more tomatoes than she can handle, and offered me 10 pounds. Yay!
One of the least labor intensive ways of dealing with fresh summer tomatoes and really capture their flavor is to dry them. I don’t have a fancy dehydrator, or the space to set up a drier in my yard, so I opt for oven drying. All it really takes is patience and a day when you’re going to be at home.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
- ripe roma or cherry tomatoes
- sea salt
Preheat oven to 225 F and cover cookie sheets with tin foil. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise, arrange closely on the cookie sheets then sprinkle with sea salt. Place in oven and do your best to resist opening and closing the oven unnecessarily. Cherry tomatoes were dried in about 2 to 3 hours, romas in 6 to 8 hours. As tomatoes finish drying, pull them off the sheet and store in Ziploc bags and return the rest to the oven. If you dry them sufficiently, they have a practically infinite shelf life, but I prefer to leave them in the freezer, just in case. When you’re ready, use them as is, or soak them in olive oil for 24 hours to soften in order to chop, etc. Enjoy!