This is the time of year when things are coming in from the garden so fast that it’s hard to keep up – I’m putting the corn, beans, squash, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and raspberries into the pantry or freezer in various forms as fast as I can. So, sun-drying tomatoes is a nice method of preservation because it requires little work, they’re a lot less expensive homemade than from the store, and there are a couple of recipes that I like to have them on hand for.
The only problem is, we live in Ohio, and sometimes there’s very little sun – so I make them in the oven. They’re still very little work, and provide that intense tomato taste of the real sun-dried ones. A Roma or paste type tomato works best – simply slice them in half and lay them out on baking sheets skin side down. They shrink a lot so they can be crowded on the baking sheets to start.
After slicing them, they simply go into a 200°F oven until dried – approximately 12 hours depending on the type and size of tomato used. I like to start checking them after about half the time – the photo below shows what these looked like at 6 hours.
I continue checking them and removing any that are ready until they’ve all dried to my liking. Then I store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer, and they’re conveniently on-hand whenever I need them. Simply remove as many as needed from the ziplock and soften in a small amount of oil or water (depending on the recipe) prior to using. The photo below shows the final product before being packaged for storage.