Traditionally sun dried tomatoes were made by laying out freshly cut pieces of the fruit in the sun to bake in the natural heat for days (the pieces were first covered in cheesecloth). Nowadays, we use the oven. In just a few hours, you can have bags to freeze or jars full packed in olive oil. Use in pastas, on top of pizzas, in sauces, etc.
If you have a bumper crop from the garden, dehydrating/drying them in the oven is a great way to preserve them for future use.
- Preheat oven to 200° F.
- Gently wash & pat dry the fruit, cut into pieces then scoop out the seeds.
- Oval (Plum): Cut lengthwise; Round: Cut into quarters.
- Place the pieces cut side up on a rack or cookie sheet, do not allow them to touch each other, drizzle or brush a bit of olive oil over them then lightly sprinkle with salt.
- Place in oven and cook 6 to 8 hours or when done–they will be shrunken, leathery looking yet still flexible.
- Pack the pieces in sterilized jars, cover with extra virgin olive oil (make sure each piece is fully covered in oil) and seal. For extra flavor, add herbs such as basil. The flavored oil can be used in cooking and on vegetables or salad. Keep the jars refrigerated bringing them to room temperature before using.
- Pack in freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, then freeze.
Here’s a good video showing you how to make them, steps and ingredients are slightly different than above.
For those of you who can’t watch the video, here are the instructions:
- Cut the fruit in half and scrape out the seeds and as much of the liquid as you can (this will help them dehydrate faster).
- Cover a cookie sheet with several layers of tinfoil.
- Arrange pieces cut side up on the cookie sheet.
- Season with garlic pepper or fresh slices of garlic.
- Next sprinkle with Herbes de Provence, fresh thyme (including stems) and coarse sea salt and black pepper.
- Drizzle good extra virgin olive oil (be generous).
- Place in the oven at 200° for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until done. The texture will be leathery and the pieces will have shrunk at least 50%.
- When they are at room temperature, store in a clean mason jar, with fresh thyme layered between them. Pour extra virgin olive oil over tip, pushing pieces down to get rid of the air.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.