Tomatoes simply taste best when they are at the peak of ripeness in summer. Juicy and, you know, full of tomato flavor – unlike their siblings from the winter season, which taste watery and bland.
Sun-dried tomatoes are a great way to preserve tasty summer tomatoes. After drying, they can be used any time of the year and will still taste great.
To make sun-dried tomatoes, ripe tomatoes are left in the sun to dry for a few days, where they will lose most of their moisture. Since most people simply don’t have the option to do so (Hello, tiny Boston apartment without garden), or don’t want to wait for so long, you can achieve the same results by drying out the tomatoes in the oven.
I prefer semi-dry tomatoes to fully-dried ones since they are a little softer and moister and therefore a perfect addition to grain salads, pasta, or pizza. Also, they are ready quicker ;-)
Halve the tomatoes, brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and herbs.
Put them in the oven for 1 1/4 to 2 hours (depending on their size) to get rid of most of the moisture. Voilà!
You can use any size – from plum to cherry/grape tomatoes. Just keep in mind, the larger they are, the longer they have to dry in the oven. I made these semi-dried tomatoes with little grape tomatoes and it took 2 hours at 300°F (150°C) until ready. Update 9/19/2018: Tiny cherry tomatoes with 1/2 to 3/4 inch (1.5 – 2cm) only take 1h 15 m to 1h 30m in the oven until ready.
Update 9/19/2018: After using a different brand of herbs and a new oven I’ve updated the recipe. Since the herbs got pretty dark after 2 hours of baking, I now sprinkle them after one hour baking time. You can also use a fan-oven (reduce temperature). If using tiny tomatoes (1/2 to 3/4 inch / 1.5-2 cm), the baking time will reduce to 1h 15m to 1h 30m. Also, I reduced the amount of salt slightly.
Semi-Dried Tomatoes (Oven-Dried)
These oven-dried tomatoes that are ready in 1¼ to 2 hours. You can use any size you want (from plum to cherry/grape) – the larger they are, the longer they will need to dry. I use small grape or cherry tomatoes. The dried herbs in the recipe are optional; however, I recommend using them.
These tomatoes are a perfect addition to grain salads, pasta, or pizza (add after baking). My favorite way to eat them is on a slice of bread or toast, topped with cream cheese (or ricotta).
Recipe: Ursula | lilvienna.com
- 1 ¼ lb (570 g) small grape or cherry tomatoes, all the same size
- 1/8 teaspoon fine salt (updated from 1/4 tsp)
- 1/4 teaspoon each: dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano (optional)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil for brushing
- Oil for covering (optional, see note)
- Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. If using larger tomatoes, cut out the core.
- Arrange the halved tomatoes over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cut sides up. (Do not use an aluminum baking sheet as the acid in the tomato will react with the metal.)
- Brush (or spray) lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, then with the dried herbs. Update: Sprinkle the herbs after 1 hour baking time to prevent the herbs from getting too dark.
- Preheat oven. Bake for 2 hours at 300°F (150°C) or 275 °F (135 °C) if using a fan-oven, until semi-dried. Update: If using tiny tomatoes (1/2 to 3/4 inch / 1.5-2 cm), the baking time will reduce to 1h 15m to 1h 30m. If I don’t need them right away, I turn off the oven and let the tomatoes sit in the oven to dry in the residual heat for another half hour (depends on how dry they already are).
- Store in the fridge for up to a few days. (see note)
Store in a jar or container in the fridge for a few days. Be aware, they still have some moisture inside so they will get moldy when stored longer without submerging them in oil. For longer storage, place them in a jar tightly packed and cover with olive oil. Add a garlic clove and more dried herbs (basil, thyme, oregano) if you like. Update 09/30/18: Meanwhile, I prefer a less-intense tasting oil like sunflower oil or a mix of sunflower oil (3/4) and olive oil (1/4).
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Katrin: "I made these half dried tomatoes last weekend. They turned out delicious, and it's a great way to preserve some of the harvest."
Click to enlarge.