Creating a Life of Plenty

Summer Harvest: Drying Tomatoes!

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My patience is paying off…the heirloom tomatoes (which have matured at a snails pace) are finally bearing their ripe fruit to the tune of 1-3 beauties per day…some orange, some yellow, others striated red and still others a beautiful blush. I know in a week or so I will be over run and making sauce night and day to put up, but for now, I am using the tomatoes as they come. I have taken to eating a low acid Kellogg’s Breakfast tomato for breakfast along with a boiled egg which is just yummy, having a nice salad every day with the lettuce from the garden as well as a nice ripe plum tomato!

I still have an overabundance of this nutritious and delicious crop, so I needed to preserve them. I could freeze whole tomatoes (and I do), but I love sun dried tomatoes in breads, pasta, etc. so I decided to make my own.

I do not have a sun powered dehydrator (even though I looked up plans to build one) and I have not saved enough points from my bankcard to get one for free from Bed Bath and Beyond (soon though!) so I am left with using my oven. I am blessed to have a convection oven which circulates air while things bake…it makes this task so much easier. To oven dry tomatoes, preheat the oven on the lowest temperature (175 degrees F). Wash and slice the tomatoes thin and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or better still Silpat liners. Place the tomatoes in the oven and bake until completely dry (between 6-7 hours).
Once dried, allow to cool, then peel off the dried tomatoes and place in a jar. Cover the tomatoes with olive oil and keep in a cool dark place for up to six months or store in the refrigerator for up to a year. Let the tomatoes come close to room temperature (allow the oil to clear) before extracting the delectable treasures and enjoy in your favorite recipes!

Happy Gardening!

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