15 March 2014

31 Days of MOO No. 15 - Easy Semi-dried Tomatoes

It may be autumn but my tomato bushes are still producing fruit and flowers. Last year I was still picking tomatoes in July, and it looks like I could be doing the same thing this year. There are only so many fresh tomatoes a family can eat in a week. And when the harvest slows, as it will, making sauce isn't feasible (and the freezer is already stacked with enough for a year).

Wasting them isn't an option. When you take the time and energy to grow your own food you value it too much to just compost it.

So what to do with the late tomatoes? Turn them into semi-dried tomatoes of course. They'll keep well and add a richness to casseroles and gravies as well as being delicious to nibble on with olives, crackers and a little cheese. They'll give winter salads a nice flavour boost too. There are so many ways to use semi-dried tomatoes, especially when they cost just a fraction of the deli price!

You will need:
Tomatoes - ripe off the vine, doesn't really matter what type
Olive oil

Step 1.  Slice tomatoes into slices the same thickness so they dry at about the same rate.  I used a mandolin, you can use a knife if you don't have one.  Place the sliced tomatoes into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil (drizzle, not drown) and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toss gently.

Step 2.  Place on dehydrator trays or on a biscuit tray lined with baking paper if using your oven.  Set the temperature on the dehydrator or oven to 110 degrees Celsius. This is slightly higher than you would normally use because tomatoes are a particularly moist food and need to dry a little faster, to prevent them going mouldy.

Step 3.  Dry until no moisture remains, but tomatoes are still flexible. (Don’t worry – if they get stiff and dry, they still taste great!)

Step 4.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for long term.

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