How to make Sun dried Tomatoes

OR- What to do with an abundance of tomatoes?

 Sun dried Tomato Pic

We urban farmers spend hours, days, and months doing everything in our power to ensure the best yield from our garden.  We obsess over the planting,  pruning and plucking. Were we able to escape the ravages of the local critters and dreaded caterpillars? Did we water too much or not enough? Was Mother Nature kind to us? All this as we eagerly and literally await the fruits of our labor.

And then, the explosion! This falls under the “be careful of what you wish for” category.  Beautiful plants bursting with colorful tomatoes. Of course they are all ready at once, no matter how hard we tried to stagger the planting.

Now what?  So far, I’ve already canned over 30 pounds of tomato sauce and we have about another 50 pounds on the vine. And, if you’re on my website, you know that being the Tomato Mistress  is not my full time job.

So on to the next, slightly less time consuming but enormously less labor intensive sun drying process. Here is the simplest way to preserve those hard earned, luscious tomatoes.

A jar of these beauties makes for a great housewarming or holiday gift in the winter months when the tomato maze is just a chlorophyll scented memory.

INSTRUCTIONS:  (Please note I have not included quantities because that will depend on your yield.)

-Tomatoes (I find Roma and Cherry work best)

-Sea Salt

-Basil

-Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Wash, dry and slice tomatoes lengthwise, gently removing seeds. Place skin side down on a grid rack over a cookie sheet, keeping some space between each. This allows the most air to surround the tomato so it dries out evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Allow the tomatoes to dry slowly, about 4-5 hours depending on the size.  When it is dry to the touch, remove from the oven. Cool.

Place in a preserve jar. I love basil so I like to layer fresh basil with the tomatoes.  You can use other herbs if you prefer.

Fill the jar with good quality olive oil to cover the tomatoes.

Save and enjoy! (Or, you can always sell them as a fundraiser for your favorite charity:) Remember, Make It Count!