Sun dried tomatoes – an experiment in the Arizona sun

21 Jun
sun dried tomatoes - before

Fresh tomatoes quartered and sprinkled with dried herbs

The universe works in very funny ways. Last month an über clever friend treated me to some tomatoes she had dried out in the oven. I gobbled the little morsels of goodness like they were candy; I couldn’t get enough. Then, last week I was trolling the ‘net for [insert whatever here] and I stumbled on a blog post about drying tomatoes in the oven as opposed to outside in the sun. Fast forward to yesterday last week when another gal pal gifted me with a bag of tomatoes fresh from her garden.

I live the desert. Instead of the oven, I figure I ought to get some benefit of the 108 degree weather so I decided to take said bag of tomatoes and dry them out the old fashioned way…in the sun.

Step 2 - provide for air circulation

You can find numerous articles online about the best types of tomatoes to use and the best way to slice and dice them. I’m happily working with the ones I received as a gift. I washed the tomatoes and quartered them. I then sprinkled them with regular table salt (sea salt would have been better but I’m out) and dried rosemary and basil.

Apparently its not as easy as just plopping them on a plate and leaving it in the yard. For the tomatoes to dry properly, there must be adequate air circulation underneath.

Old window screen keeps the bugs out

Since the bugs would probably love the tomatoes as much as I do, some sort of screen would be necessary to keep them out. I improvised by placing a stackable cooling rack inside a shallow plastic storage container. I covered it with an old window screen weighted down with the closest gardening implements. The whole contraption looks a little ghetto but I’m hoping the results will be worth it.

Here is the progress after day three. I’ve decided that next time instead of quartering the tomatoes I would probably slice them in 1/2″ slices. That would make them more uniform and probably cut down on the drying time.

Sun dried tomatoes - day 2 in the desert sun

And finally, we have the finished product after 3 days outside. I did end up leaving some of them outside for another day since they were obviously juicier to start with and needed a little more time.
Sun dried tomatoes
Oh, to not eat them all in one sitting!

I’d love to hear if you’ve experimented and how it turned out!


Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Appetizers, Kitchen Basics



2 responses to “Sun dried tomatoes – an experiment in the Arizona sun

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