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Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Anyone familiar with my oft-stated disgust for tomatoes is probably a little taken aback by this tutorial but I have found that almost everyone who shares my revulsion for the nightshades in their seedy, chunky, gloppy form (seriously, I feel faint) have some conditions in which tomatoes are not only fine, they are delicious. I am one of those people. I love salsa and marinara (as long as it’s there is a minimum of chunky action) and I also love sun-dried tomatoes. This is why we grow tomatoes every year. Sun-dried tomatoes are full of bright, rich, summery flavor without triggering my gag reflex like regular ol’ tomatoes. They are great to add on salads, into hummus, in vegan omelets, on sandwiches and more. If you’re used to the oil-drenched marinated sun-dried tomatoes or the too-parched ones you might find at the grocery store, these will be a revelation. Made simply and without any added fat, they are cooked at a low temperature over a long time to preserve the natural moisture and lock in the flavor. We’re using an oven for this recipe, which would typically be made in a food dehydrator, as I don’t have a food dehydrator and simply do not need another appliance that is going to take up valuable real estate in my kitchen. The best kind of tomatoes for dried tomatoes is the Roma variety as they are less seedy and pulpy. Those are the ones I used in my recipe; if you use bigger or smaller tomato varieties, adjust your cooking times accordingly. You will need about ten hours with intermittent flipping so beginning early in the morning on a day that you are home will work the best.

Oven-Dried Tomatoes

3 pounds of Roma tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper
Dried rosemary
Dried oregano
Dried basil
(Use the amounts of seasonings you like; I used about two teaspoons each of the dried herbs.)

Line a flat baking pan with a Silpat or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.

Remove the green tops off the tomatoes and cut in half length-wise. You can also decide to cut these further into quarters to reduce the cooking time. Try to keep them the same basic size so they can cook at about the same rate.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes with your salt and pepper and herbs.

Arrange the tomatoes on your baking pan with the cut side facing up. Cook for three houses with your oven door ajar a few inches to allow moisture out, then flip. You will continue to flip every three hours with the oven door ajar until the tomatoes are at their desired degree of softness and dryness. Keep in mind that due to differing moisture content, they may dry out at different times. Try to remove them as you cook them as they reach a more dry but still plump pliable state, which for me is between 9 – 10 hours.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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