Monday, July 19, 2010

Tomatoes & Sundried Tomatoes

One of the easiest and most interesting vegetables or fruits, as the case may be, to dry and use is the Tomato.
As tomatoes dry, the flavor intensifies because you are eliminating all the water. They can then be used in chili, soups, stews or sauces, or can be blended and turned into tomato powder and used as a base for so many recipes. Another option is to make Sundried tomatoes with them.

Here is how I do it: I like to wash and dry the tomatoes, cutting the top core off and then slice them in about ¼” slices. Many people prefer to cut them in chunks or quarters depending on the size. I slice them because the dry faster and if I am using them in a soup or stew, I don’t care for big chunks of tomatoes. Also if I am making sundried tomatoes out of them, I prefer the slices. You can do as you wish. I slice them onto trays lined with paper towels, just to absorb some of the excess moisture. Lay the slices on your dehydrator trays and dry till the slices are crisp, or until there is no moisture left. You’ll want to have all the slices of a uniform size. Rotate trays occasionally to insure even drying. Tomatoes will also “crisp-up” a little as they cool.

At this point you can store them in airtight container for use in your favorite recipes or you can blend them to a fine powder and store the powder. Many people like to eat the tomato “chips” as a snack or with a dip. They are also excellent broken up a bit and stirred into soft cream cheese for a cracker or bagel spread.

To make sundried tomatoes, sprinkle them with your favorite seasoning such as an Italian Seasoning Blend. Don’t make up any more than you can use in a reasonable period of time because they can go rancid over time. For dried oil, put a clove of garlic in a small canning jar,(the Garlic is optional)place the dried tomatoes inside and fill with olive oil. Place the jar in the refrigerator for about a week. They are then ready to use however you wish. There are great in any of your favorite dishes, dips or sauces.

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