Have you noticed a little bit of a tomato theme here lately? I’m knee deep in ’em, people! The cooler weather, particularly the nights dropping down into the 50s, has slowed down the 14 unwieldy plants towering over the Tomato Envy gardens, but I’m still getting tons and tons of cherry tomatoes.
Just last night, I harvested almost 14 pounds of them. My total harvest for the season now stands at nearly 115 pounds. If you haven’t already done so, you should enter our tomato harvest contest!
Luckily, I’ve discovered my new favorite snack: oven dried cherry tomatoes. They are sweet, chewy and packed in jars with olive oil. I can eat a whole jar of them standing over my kitchen sink.
Drying tomatoes condenses the natural sugars within, and cherry tomatoes tend to be sweeter to begin with than their full-size counterparts. Oven dried cherry tomatoes are like guilt-free candy!
Drying tomatoes in the oven is not as convenient as using a food dehydrator, but it’s still super-easy to get great results and an irresistible snack.
- Start by rinsing your cherry tomatoes and halving them. You can also leave them whole, but the drying process will take longer.
- Line the tomatoes up on baking sheets in a single layer. If you have metal racks like the kind used for cooling freshly baked cookies, place these on your baking sheets first. Warm air from your oven can circulate around the tomatoes more freely, but it’s not a must.
- Heat your oven to its lowest possible setting. For me, this is 175°. Although not required, if you have a convection option on your oven like I do, select that too. Convection baking circulates air through the oven which will dry the tomatoes more quickly.
- If you have a wide variety of tomato sizes, try to sort them onto separate baking sheets. The tiny ones will dry out first, and it’s easy then to just remove the entire sheet instead of trying to pick them out as they are finished.
- Shower the tomatoes with a little coarse sea salt or Himalayan pink sea salt. I also like to sprinkle on fresh thyme and oregano from the garden.
- Dry the tomatoes in the oven for many hours. Sorry for the lack of precision there, but it will vary greatly on your oven and the size of your tomatoes. Mine usually take a good 14 hours with the convection setting at 175°. It’s best to start this project in the early morning so you have enough time. You want the tomatoes to be dry and kind of leathery but not crispy.
- Pack the oven dried cherry tomatoes and herbs into clean jars, cover with olive oil, and store. It’s best to store them in the refrigerator where they should keep for many weeks, although mine never last that long.
If you don’t inhale them mindlessly as I do, you can use your oven dried cherry tomatoes as a topping for a frittata, tossed with pasta, layered on sandwiches, and thrown into soups or salads. Because they are sweet, they make a wonderful hors d’oeuvres when paired with a bold cheese like parmigiano reggiano or gorgonzola. The tomato-herb infused oil can be used to make homemade salad dressings, too.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Tomato Envy? Not Me! - Tomato Envy : Tomato Envy | October 3, 2014
- 21 Ways to Use Fresh Tomatoes - Tomato Envy : Tomato Envy | October 17, 2014