Photo and Recipe by Tod Dimmick
This simple method enables amazing things – concentrated flavor, and the ability to easily store a million tomatoes well into colder months. The fact that the space required is dramatically reduced is an added bonus.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: Overnight
The quantities listed here are used as an example only, the method will work regardless of the number of tomatoes used. I like to use enough to fill every rack in the oven to make efficient use of space and heat.
4 lbs tomatoes (every kind will work, romas work better than others since they have a slightly lower water content).
Line baking trays with parchment paper.
Wash, dry, and slice the tomatoes into wedges or halves of roughly equivalent size to others on the same tray. If, for example, you have cherry tomatoes in your mix, put them all on one tray as you may want to remove them from the oven at a different time from other trays.
Arrange the wedges skin side down. Sprinkle with garlic salt. Place trays in the oven set at the lowest heat setting (150 works well. Use the convection setting if you have it available). Check the oven after a few hours to guage the dry rate – my oven takes about 8-10 hours. The resulting tomatoes will be almost completely dry, with concentrated, delicious tomato flavor.
Storage: Oven dried tomatoes can be stored in clean glass jars, covered with olive oil, for at least a couple of months. (The tomato oil also becomes a great recipe enhancer.) I am also testing using freezer bags in the freezer, which take even less space.
Variations: Oven dry garlic and rosemary with the tomatoes, and add to the oil.
Tip: Slice grape or cherry tomatoes in half for faster drying. In spite of their small size, keeping them whole allows their skins to keep moisture in.
Toss oven dried tomatoes with pasta, use in stews or on pizza, or serve with crumbled feta. Any way you slice ’em, they’re delicious.