I can tomato jam and tomato salsa, make batches of green tomato relish and dry tomatoes to eat as snacks or use in cooking. Dried tomatoes are actually pretty handy. With a little minced rosemary, they can be delicious in rustic homemade bread. Dried tomatoes also make a satisfying snack. This last is my recommendation for the day.
How to Dry Tomato Snacks
I have some end-of-season grape tomatoes that aren't nearly as sweet as they would have been had they ripened a month ago. Rather than let them rot on the vine, I like to slice them (or small cherry tomatoes) in half lengthwise and dry them using a dehydrator. This takes 24 hours or so, and the equipment does most of the work. The result is tart, savory and salty. There is even a little more sweetness in evidence than in the ripe, fresh fruit. These small dried tomatoes can be noshed right out of a baggie, minced into sauce or ground up and added to soup (see photo). To make them tastier, I usually add an herb or two. The sample in the picture above is topped with chives, salt and pepper. I use basil, parsley or rosemary on occasion as well. It just depends on what's at hand.
I've also performed this process with standard sized, never-to-be ripe slicing tomatoes, the kind that tend to stay orange forever: Just slice them thin (a 1/4 inch thick should do it) and dry them widely
spaced on trays.
The dehydrator in the photo is the smallest I own. This style has no fan and is one of the most economical on the market. It works well if you remember to give the trays a quarter turn every few hours and rotate them bottom to top a couple of times a day.
I don't have a recipe for dried tomatoes because the procedure is so darned simple. Add what you like, or leave the tomatoes plain. For variety, I've dipped them in soy sauce, added a little brown sugar and sprinkled them with sweetened rice vinegar (or lime juice). Just watch for scorching and flip the tomatoes once through the process to help keep sticking to a minimum. (The herbs stay on top pretty well, fastening to the tomato meat as it dries.) Once dried, tomatoes will feel firm and have a somewhat leathery texture when flexed.
|Dried and powdered tomatoes|
Special note: If tomatoes appear dry on the surface but still look plump from moisture inside, prick them with the tip of a knife and place them cut side down on the lowest rack of the dehydrator for a few hours. That'll do the trick.