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Sun Dried Tomatoes


JusMe

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I did a search of the forums and couldn't find anything, so ….

I'd really like to make some sun dried tomatoes. We can get good quality Roma tomatoes, and the sun is intense enough for good drying.

I tried earlier this week: washed & dried the tomatoes and cut them into halves or quarters, depending on size; spread them over a bamboo tray; then sprinkled some garlic salt and dried oregano over them; put them out in the sun.

Seemed to be drying well, but I took them in overnight and covered them with a tea towel (I think that might have been my mistake.)

Third morning, I lifted the towel to put them in the sun again, and most had a thin white or light grey cobwebby film of mould.

Not good, as I figured keeping going would result in some nausea, at the least. So, I tossed them.

I'd like to try again, and it should be quite simple, but don't want another kilo of mouldy tomatoes.

Any suggestions as to what I did wrong?

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Don't rely on nature - use an oven (if you have one).

Good idea, except ….

I've got a small great barbecue grill, and a small two burner propane stove. That's it. So, sun is the way I've got to go, if going at all.

Works very well for drying apple. I cut the apple into about eight pieces and simply let it sit for a few days in the sun. Dries up wonderfully, and adds an exceptional taste to some recipes.

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From another website:

"You'll want to cover them with cheesecloth, raised so it does not touch the tomatoes, to keep out any critters and provide proper ventilation. You will also need to bring them in during the night, lest the evening dew undo your drying process."

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Hello All, try without the garlic/oregano.

If you are using the round bamboo trays, use another

one to cover it, not cloth.

You can add your spices after the toms are dried or

use fresh spices.

rice555

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Rice...........

I got a new food dehydrator..................basically a hair drier blowing down to the drying shelves and found that tomatoes were the biggest challenge. Removing seeds and pulp helps a lot and the smaller the pieces, the quicker the dry. I would give them sun in the day, then the drier over night @ 750watts.

You can buy some nice dried cherry toms, but they are tainted with sugar.

JDJ

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Hello All, roma's can be a little thick and juicy for drying without a dryer or a solar box with a fan.

I've grown(see below) and they can handle the heat better than the average roma, but if your just buying

toms, you can always buy some more.

"Principe Borghese, Plum-shaped Italian variety favored for drying. Meaty tomatoes have very little juice and few seeds.

Small plants become extremely loaded with fruit. Determinate. 75 days".

About to plant masa corn JDJ.

rice555

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  • 7 months later...

Third morning, I lifted the towel to put them in the sun again, and most had a thin white or light grey cobwebby film of mould.

No way mould would appear in three days if you left them in the sun during the day. Are you sure it's not the salt? As it spreads within the tomato fluids when first applied, when the fluids evaporate , the salt is deposited throughout the tomato giving a crystallised effect.

As said a mosquito net is perfect to keep the covered outside during the day. Nighttime indoors out of dew in a cool dark dry place if possible. I do not take seeds or juice out - the drying process takes about 7 days. The tomatoes will firm up and take a maroonish colour.

To check if dry I use the bread test. Take half a dried tomato, drizzle some olive oil on it and smear it cut side down on a piece of bread. It should leave oily dark red tinged marks. Season with fresh cracked black pepper and tuck in.

To store, pack in sterilised jars and pour olive oil until completely submerged. You may wish to add extra herbs/garlic/chilli at this stage. Keeps indefinitely in a cool dark place. MAke sure you use clean utensils to fish them out of the jar and that everything inside jar is submerged in olive oil at all times.

I do love sundried tomatoes!

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  • 7 months later...

I know I'm coming to this thread very late, but I just stumbled upon it whilst looking for whole seeds to add to my bread - not sure how. Perhaps my comments on the bottom of the thread will be useful to anyone else searching for how to make or flavour them. I'd actually forgotten about this very helpful forum.

Anyway, I take a pride in my 'sun' dried tomatoes (I only ever tried that one once, never again) and everybody else seems to love them. Mine are actually mostly semi dried so they are still a bit leathery/chewy and always dried in the dehydrator. Of course there will be those who say they do it without one or they don't taste the same, but some people grow their own wheat and grind it to make bread because the flour doesn't taste the same. As long as the tomatoes are of good enough quality - not necessarily roma (can't get them on the markets in Chiang Mai) but ones that don't have as much as a speck of white inside them when they are cut. I would also disagree with removing pulp and seeds - it's trued that they dry much quicker and are a lot faster to prepare without it, but a lot of the flavour is lost in my opinion. I live over the road from the wholesale markets and buy tomatoes in 10 kg bags very cheaply, meaning the odd few that are a little bit white on the inside are thrown away, so I make a lot of them. People are often surprised when they see the huge bag waiting to be done, but their faces when I show them exactly how much end product you get are priceless.

The cobwebby film the OP describes is indeed mould. I got it a couple of times last year and was searching google to death and racking my brains for what was happening until I realised that whilst cleaning it,I had knocked the heat setting to 1 instead of 2; they were quite simply taking too long to dry before the mould was developing. It also explained why they were taking so long to dry, both times they had been on overnight and were hardly started. No questions, throw away the entire batch and try again. Just as well that they're so cheap for me.

I haven't found any difference in taste by adding salt, dried basil and black pepper before drying the tomatoes or after. As 95% of the ones I make end up in olive oil, it's actually easier for me to add most of it before, sprinkling the cut surfaces when they are on the trays ready to go in, because I've found that the resulting clumps of dried herb when added to tomatoes in oil stick in bulk to some pieces and stay away from others, so I usually add before drying and store like that. Then as required I put some of them in oil with extra salt, fresh basil and garlic already in the oil. I can't tell you how much oil to add, only experience and getting everything to your particular taste can tell you that. Years ago was initially surprised at how little oil I used for the 'make as much as you need' method, until my husband came into the kitchen one day and started freaking out about how much oil I was putting in with the tomatoes. The other 5% are stored separately and added to curries or stews at the end of cooking if there seems to be no defining texture or if the taste just needs a little bit of something extra and I can't think of anything else that would improve it. Or they are just munched on straight from the jar, no oil, no water, just tomato. The plain ones (both types are salted before drying) are not as nice without oil as the pre-seasoned ones, but still good. Either of the dried ones can go into a bowl chopped up with some extra virgin olive oil, seasoning, and fresh basil leaves for the quickest pasta stir though sauce you're going to come across

Last thing - if adding fresh garlic to the oil, be aware that you can get botulism from this if you leave it for a couple of weeks or longer. Only ever make it a few days before you want to use it (needs a couple of days for the taste of the garlic to get right into the oil, then another day or even 2 for the garlic-flavoured oil to really get nice and deeply into the tomatoes). Having to plan and get themready a couple of days in advance means you're less likely to just eat and eat and eat them. Storing it in the fridge will, in theory, give you extra time - as in storing when they are ready to eat, not while the oil and garlic flavours are incorporating - this needs to be done at room temperature. Although I've personally never heard of anyone being ill from home made dried tomatoes, botulism kills and should not be messed about with under any circumstances. Also, f you forget to take them out of the fridge 15 minutes before you want them they really aren't going to taste the same as they will be cold, with the oil starting to solidify. The best idea really is to dry and store the tomatoes, then just make up a small batch needed and you don't have to put them into the fridge. I've never experimented with putting any in the freezer after the oil and garlic were added, if anyone has experience of this, please share, although I have frozen dried tomatoes (they don't freeze very solid). Sorry, but I don't know if using fresh herbs can open you to botulism because they're fresh or if it's just the garlic that does that, I've never needed to look it up.

PS crushing garlic and adding it along with some olive oil just before serving won't taste the best - it really is a slow process for the flavours to combine and develop. And use tasty, extra virgin - it really does make a difference.

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I used my Otto circular glass electric oven - I think it was 100 degrees for about 1.5 hours - some time since I 'did' them but I used the small tomatoes cut in half - not the real thing but I'd say it worked!

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I used my Otto circular glass electric oven - I think it was 100 degrees for about 1.5 hours - some time since I 'did' them but I used the small tomatoes cut in half - not the real thing but I'd say it worked!

As long as you enjoyed them, it worked! I have a bigger version of the oven you have and use it for making bread, cakes and biscuits. I keep saying I'm going to get a full sized oven, but no movement on that yet. Mine goes down to 65 degrees as it's lowest temperature but I think that may be too low;it would take too long and as they are not ventilated as they are in a dryer, they would possibly cook before they dried. That however, moght be an interesting taste and texture to try. A cook who sticks to the exact recipe in the book is missing out on a lot of hits and misses.

I find the cherry tomatoes too sweet for drying, but as I said, if you enjoy them you succeeded - congratulations and enjoy.

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