Tasty, Ripe, Homegrown Tomatoes… A Force To Be Dealt With?

It’s that time of year when the tomato plants (or seeds) you carefully selected, planted, supported and watered are coming into their FULL bounty – sharing their glorious fruits bowl after bowl day after day!  It’s amazing that as long as we wait for home-grown ripe tomatoes, they can quickly become an overwhelming force to be dealt with.

A good combat strategy…get into the kitchen (even if it is beautiful outside) and employ some creative methods to preserve the plentifulness of the tomato harvest.

Of course, sharing the grand tomato bounty with friends, family, neighbors (or a local food bank) is also a good strategy that is fun and can easily help with ‘oversupply’ issues. But in the case you have more tomatoes than “easy sharing” can take care of, how about  creating some tasty “sun-dried” tomatoes via your own oven

A friend shared this easy method for “sun-dried” tomatoes with me last year.  I tried it and was very pleased with the results.  The tomatoes taste wonderful when prepared this way and can be easily frozen for later use in pastas, soups, or spreads or consumed immediately on top of a cracker spread with a little chèvre!  A tasty snack or light lunch depending on how many you eat!

Homemade “Sun-Dried” Tomatoes

  • Wash and thinly slice (lengthwise) a large bowl of fresh tomatoes.  I use any type (except cherry) of which I have too many. (San Marzano, Orange Blossom and Juliet pictured here.)
  • Lightly coat cookie sheet with olive oil.  (I pour a tablespoon directly on sheet and wipe with paper towel so a thin film covers entire pan.)
  • Place tomatoes on pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Place a bit of fresh basil on top each tomato and sprinkle all with a small bit of salt. (You can also add a few cloves of garlic at this point by just lying them on the cookie sheet amongst the tomatoes.)
  • Now sprinkle tomatoes (entire sheet) with 1  teaspoon of sugar.
  • Place in oven at 150° or 200° for 2.5 hours.  May want to check tomatoes during last hour to make sure they are not sticking to bottom of sheet.

After the 2.5 hours the tomatoes should be nicely dried but still a bit moist on the underside that was lying on the cookie sheet.  Carefully remove them from the sheet and place on wire rack.  Put this rack back in the oven for another 2 hours to shrivel and finish drying tomatoes.

And Voilà!  You now have scrumptious “sun-dried” tomatoes to be used in a variety of ways now or in the future.  You can keep in the fridge this way for about four days or if you want to use them in the future place in a freezer storage bag and freeze.

Or, if you are set on having the finished look of sun-dried tomatoes I believe you could seal them in oil in a sterilized jar however I do not know the steps of that process.  I opt for the freezer.

Savor the Flavor – Whatever method you choose to deal with the force of homegrown ripe tomatoes remember to savor their tasty goodness because somewhere off in the distance Winter is approaching and tomato-less months are sure to come along with it.

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