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Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Drying tomatoes the old-fashioned way

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Sun dried tomatoes
Ursula Alter/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images
Normally, the thought of dried food does not bring to mind a gourmet meal. However, a relatively small amount of sun-dried tomatoes gives a gourmet touch and a burst of flavor to a variety of recipes. Easy to make, store, and use at home, this is an item you may wish to consider a staple in your pantry.

Homemade sun-dried tomatoes basic recipe

Although prices have come down in recent years, it's still worthwhile to make your own at home, particularly if you have a tomato garden. The basic process is easy enough. Most prefer to begin with Roma tomatoes, as there are less seeds and a higher ratio of flesh, but you can use any type of tomato, including cherry varieties. Choose tomatoes of a uniform size so they dry at the same rate.

Simply slice tomatoes in half, place on a raised screen, lightly sprinkle with salt and optional herbs, and place in the hot sun until dry. Depending on your weather conditions, this could take anywhere from four days to two weeks. You'll want to cover them with cheesecloth, raised so it does not touch the tomatoes, to keep out any critters and provide proper ventilation. You will also need to bring them in during the night, lest the evening dew undo your drying process. Plan on 10 standard tomatoes to get one ounce of dried tomatoes.

If the old-fashioned method sounds too time-consuming, you'll be happy to know you can achieve the same lusty results with an oven-method or a dehydrator in a fraction of the time. You'll find more detailed recipe instructions in the sun-dried tomatoes recipe collection.

Sun-dried tomatoes warning

The end product must be perfectly dry but not crispy, with no inner moisture in order to avoid bacteria growth. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes with fresh herbs or garlic added must be refrigerated.

More About Sun-Dried Tomatoes:

Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes Basic Recipe
Should sun-dried tomatoes be seeded?
Sun-Dried Tomatoes Cooking Tips and Hints
Sun-Dried Tomato Selection and Storage
Sun-Dried Tomato History
Sun-Dried Tomato Recipes
Sun-Dried Tomato Photo © 2011 Lindsey Carrasco, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Cookbooks

Sun-Dried Tomatoes
You Say Tomato : Peel, Chop, Roast, Dry, Freeze, Preserve, and Enjoy
The Tomato Cookbook
The Good Cook's Book of Tomatoes
More Cookbooks
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