Sundried Tomatoes

Toward the end of the san marzano tomato season, right about now, I have lots of cases of canned crushed tomato and spicy tomato sauce, but there are still more tomatoes coming in. Soon the vines will come out, and the green tomatoes will go into chutney, but the last 30 pounds of tomatoes I dry.

Sundried tomatoes went out of style after being over-used (nearly to death) in the late 80s and 90s. Now some sad version of them still lurks in the corners of your local grocery store, but they area usually hard as leather, and dark in color, a far cry from freshly made dried tomatoes. The key is to dry them just enough, rather than to dry them until they are completely dessicated.

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I use the smaller tomatoes and cut them in half, or the larger and cut them into thirds. They I pick a few stalks of the overgrown basil so that the plants will start new, tender growth.

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There are still lots of tasty leaves if you are willing to pick them off.

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To six pounds of sliced tomatoes, I added 1/2 oz. of basil chiffonade, 1 t. of kosher salt, 1/2 t. of black pepper, and 1 1/2 oz. of EVOO.

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Then I tossed everything together to coat evenly.

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I bought the cheapest dehydrator available on Amazon that had high ratings. It has six trays and holds about 6 pounds of sliced tomatoes. It takes about 24 hours to get the tomatoes where I like them, and I rotate the order about half way through, bottom to the top, etc.

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It is also important to check each layer as you get toward the end of the cycle. Some sliced will dry out an hour or two before others, depending on thickness. I store them in a zip-lock bag, and keep them in the refrigerator. They will last most all winter like that.