Sometime around mid-August, the tomato train finally pulls in and there are SO MANY. This year in particular, the Sweet 100’s and Sungold cherry tomatoes seem to be in overdrive and we can’t eat them as fast as they are producing! I decided to make sun dried cherry tomatoes in the oven so we could enjoy them all winter long. It was much easier than I expected!
I don’t know if was because I trellis trained my tomatoes this year, but they are going crazy! To oven dry cherry tomatoes , pick the ripest ones and wash and dry the tomatoes. Slices in half as evenly as possible.
Place the tomato halves on the sheet lined with either parchment or foil evenly spaced. Lightly salt the tomatoes and place in the oven.
Set the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer for 2.5 hours. You’re basically baking the tomatoes on a low temperature until they are dried out as opposed to roasting them. After 1 hour start checking the oven drying tomatoes at regular 15 minute intervals because they are so small.
The oven dried tomatoes are done when they are free of moisture and are chewy and leathery. Just like a tomato fruit leather.
Once the tomatoes are dried. Let cool on the stove. They do shrink quite a bit. An entire baking sheet full yielded about a half a cup, so make a lot. I have to admit, when I tasted one I was hit with an intense tart, tomato-y flavor. It was so flavorful I started salivating. I can’t wait to try them in a few recipes.
For long term storage of the oven dried cherry tomatoes, you can see this blog post by Gimme Some Oven. I prefer to preserve mine in a freezer safe canning jar in the freezer (for up to 3 months). You can also use a plastic freezer bag. I did notice due to their small size that some of the tomatoes were the perfect dried consistency, and others still seemed to have a little moisture in the very center, which can get moldy if left out, so the freezer storage option seemed like the best one. I also get nervous about storing the oven dried tomatoes in oil due to the fact I’ve read it can cause food poisoning like botulism.
Use the oven dried tomatoes like any others from the store , and reconstitute in water or oil an hour or so before using. I am excited to try them in a few recipes. I think I am going to try this creamy garlic and sun dried tomato pasta recipe by Pinch of Yum. It sounds like it would be right up my family’s alley! I might also add it to our herb crust flat breads.