Do you ever have way too many tomatoes on hand that you don’t know what to do with them? (yeah, me neither)
But guess what? If you did have way too many tomatoes (because you either have a tomato garden or you just like to buy too many tomatoes), here’s what you do with them. You make homemade oven-dried tomatoes. They’re exactly like sun-dried tomatoes, except you can make them all year long, even when the darn sun is down. It’ll take anywhere between 2-6 hours, depending on how juicy your fresh tomatoes are, but they’re worth it. You can freeze them and they will last forever (at least I think. don’t sue me if they don’t last forever). Chop ’em up and toss ’em in a pasta salad, make sun-dried tomato basil pesto, or eat them as a savory snack. You can also store them in a jar and pour olive oil over them (just make sure you refrigerate it).
Patience is a virtue here, mis amigos. Don’t try to stare at your tomatoes as they dehydrate slowly in the oven at 250 degrees F. As they like to say, a watched pot never boils. In this context, I say: watched tomatoes never dry. (..that sounded funnier in my head)
Anyway, I hope I’ve convinced you to make these oven-dried tomatoes. Try using Roma tomatoes (aka plum tomatoes) or small cherry tomatoes, as I have in the photo above. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and dried herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme for intense flavor. Oven-dried tomatoes take all day, but you really don’t have to do anything else besides prep them. Try them out! If I were you, I’d do it on a Sunday afternoon when you’re busy doing other things, like, ya know, studying.
Get a lot of tomatoes. A lot. I had about 3 pounds here, but this project is not worth it if you have only 4 tomatoes. Grab some dried herbs like thyme, basil, and oregano. And salt! And olive oil.
Now remove the stem end of the tomato. Take a small knife and use your thumb to cover the stem end, going in a circle to remove the whole thing.
By using your thumb to hold the stem end in place and turning the knife in a neat circle, you’ll be able to get it out. This will also make it safe so that you won’t have a horrible accident.
Just like that.
Now halve your tomatoes lengthwise, end to end.
Place them cut side up on a lined baking sheet. It’s fine if the tomatoes touch. They’ll shrivel up anyway.
Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, using a few teaspoons of oil just to coat them lightly. Toss it all to coat.
Now sprinkle the tomatoes lightly with table salt. Don’t sprinkle on too much. Just a small sprinkling.
Now mix up 1 teaspoon each of dried basil, thyme, and oregano.
Sprinkle the dried herbs evenly over the tomatoes. Not too much, and not too little. Just a light sprinkling.
Just like this! Now throw it in an oven that has been pre-heated to 250 degrees F. It’ll take about 2-6 hours, depending on the size of your tomatoes. These tomatoes took about 6 hours. Remove from the oven once your tomatoes are still slightly pliable (dry and bendy, but not brittle) and still deep red in color.
Total time: 2-6 hours
Prep: 5 min
Cook: Time varies, depending on tomato size
Yield: 1 cup+ dried tomatoes
At least 3 pounds Roma tomatoes
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
½ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Adjust your oven rack to the lower middle level, and pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F.
Using a small knife, remove stem end of tomatoes. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise, from end to end. Arrange tomatoes cut side up on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Toss the tomatoes in a few teaspoons of oil. Lightly sprinkle the cut side of each tomato half with a pinch of salt. In a small bowl, combine dried herbs. Lightly sprinkle the cut side of each tomato half with a pinch of herbs.
Place the tomatoes in oven, and allow them to slowly dry until deep red in color and slightly pliable still. Depending on size and juiciness of tomatoes, drying time will take anywhere between 2-6 hours.