27 September 2015

Sun-drying tomatoes

One of the tomato varieties I regularly grow is Principe Borghese (I seem to recall that these were a gift from another garden blogger, some years ago). In one of the descriptions online was a note that it used as a sun-dried tomato in Italy. Ever since I read that I've been thinking I should try this, but haven't got around to it until this year.

My oven has a dehydration setting, which is what I used for my first batch, but it was not very successful: even after 24 hours the tomatoes weren't dry and I wasn't impressed at having to leave the oven on for so long. (I did learn that my oven automatically turns itself off after being on for 12 hours, so that was vaguely interesting.)

So, Plan B. Which involves the sun. Much more satisfactory.

My set-up is about as low-tech as it gets. Small tomatoes, cut in half and arranged on a baking tray in the greenhouse. I've put the tray on top of some small plant pots - thinking this might deter crawling insects - and I have loosely wrapped horticultural fleece over the tray. The fleece allows the sun through, while letting moisture evaporate off. It also stops flying insects landing on the tomatoes.

They've only been out there for eight hours and are already looking drier than the first batch did after 12 hours in the oven.

If this works, it really is ridiculously easy!


Beth at PlantPostings said...

Sun dried tomatoes--that sounds tasty! I usually freeze mine or make salsa. But dried is another option. Thanks for the idea. :)

pat@siteandinsight.com said...

I make a sauce that starts with drying tomatoes. slice in half, sprinkle with coarse salt, let them sit for an hour or so, then dry them partially in the oven at 300F for an hour or two. Saute some onion and garlic, add the partly dried tomatoes and herbs (I use rosemary, oregano and thyme), plus a bit of water if needed. Cook for maybe 30 minutes, then put through a food mill. The resulting sauce is thick, strongly flavoured and fabulous on a heavy pasta with sausage. It sounds like a lot of work but it really isn't.

Amanda said...

Hi Pat

I always make roasted tomato sauce, too: it really concentrates the flavour. I bought the food mill to make baby food with (and then didn't!). It has finally come in useful, 15 years later!

Lisa from Iroquois said...

Any chance you can pop in a picture of one of these luscious tomatoes? If you have any images. I have a single plant of Principe Borghese in the garden this year but having never had it I am curious to see if yours looks like mine.

Amanda said...

Hi Lisa

Photo of the fruit added!