Thursday, September 16, 2010

Preserving tomatoes

Ripe tomatoes that don't taste like a cardboard box are one of the joys of summer. So, as the leaves start to turn and the weather grows chillier, I start to get a little spazzy about how to preserve tomatoes so we can have a taste of summer during the long winter.

In addition to putting up some canned whole tomatoes for sauces last month, I did some slow-roasting and drying yesterday.

I use Molly Wizenberg's recipe for oven-roasted tomatoes, using small yellow pear or yellow cherry tomatoes rather than romas, and roast them for about 3 hours at 200 degrees. Words cannot express the flavor. They are fantastic as an appetizer, with goat's cheese on toast. Last night I put them on a flatbread, spread with ricotta and topped with arugula and parmesan cheese for an easy, heavenly pizza.

New for me this year are the marinated dried tomatoes shown in the photo. I decided to try them as I already own the Ferrari of food dehydrators.

[True story aside: Two years ago, one of my coworkers excitedly told me that she got diamond earrings for Christmas. I, even more excitedly, told her I got the Ferrari of food dehydrators and went on and on about making jerky. Funny, we didn't remain close...]

I did about two pounds of romas and, even though it took 22 hours of drying, these are wicked, wicked good, with just the right amount of spice and literally oozing with a deep, smoky tomato flavor. I almost can't wait for a cold, gray day in February to pull these tomatoes out of the freezer and rehydrate them in a creamy sauce with chicken over pasta.

Almost. I need to buy a down coat first.

Marinated Sun-dried Tomatoes (courtesy of Kristina McLean, the Mouth from the South)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/2 tablespoon chopped rosemary
Red pepper flakes to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cloves of garlic
About 2 pounds of tomatoes, cut into approximately 1/4 inch slices

Combine all ingredients except the tomatoes in a large bowl. Add tomatoes and marinate for at least several hours, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator. Remove tomatoes from marinade and spread out on dehydrator trays and dry until desired doneness (anywhere from 12-24 hours). Store the dried tomatoes in the freezer to keep all winter.


  1. Must.Stop.Coming.Here. I always get so hungry!! These sound great, I'm adding them to my list.

  2. Ooh, I put a batch of tomatoes in the dehydrator this morning but I will need to try these next. Thanks for another great recipe!

  3. Can I use my oven to dehydrate the tomatoes...I don't own a dehydrator:(

  4. Yes, Michelle, you can. Most folks dry tomatoes in the oven at about 200 degrees, but it takes quite a while. The marinated version above would take even longer, because of the added oil. If you're crafty, try googling "solar food dehydrator" -- you will find lots of plans for building your own. And let me know if you try the tomatoes in the oven!

  5. I wonder if you could do half fresh red peppers. I love red peppers with tomatoes.

    1. I don't see why not, Matt -- sounds like a good combination. Give it a try!