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Sun Dried Tomatoes: Trays Outside Or Better In The Oven?

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 are covered in cheesecloth to keep the insects off them). You may still do that (I have the instructions for how listed towards the bottom of this page) but first I’d like to discuss a more up-to-date method that cuts the time dramatically but doesn’t skimp at all on flavor.

Drying tomatoes indoors (using the oven) takes just a few hours and they are oh-so-delicious!

Some years I just don’t want to bother with canning but I have a mountain of tomatoes from the garden to work through. This is the easiest, tastiest method I’ve found for dealing with all that bounty.

Not only will you be popping them in your mouth all day while making the batches, you’ll be dreaming up ways to use them in pastas, pizzas, sauces and more.

In just a few hours, you can have bags to freeze or jars full packed in olive oil.

If you’re dealing with a bumper crop from the garden, dehydrating/drying them in the oven is a great way to preserve them for future use.

How-To Oven Dry:

After covering them in olive oil and seasoning with salt, I like to generously sprinkle them with dried or fresh herbs. An Italian blend is especially delicious but experiment and use whatever you like.

There’s no hard and fast rule how thick or thin to make the slices, I like quartering the tomatoes and then cooking them low and slow. This takes longer, but boy do they ever deliver in flavor!

Some people prefer blanching then removing the skins before prepping them for the oven but I leave them on.

Storage Tips:

Video Tutorial

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:

Outdoor Method

If you want to try the tradition way (outdoors) and have a couple weeks to work with them, here’s how: