After my last post
, I got a couple questions about how to make your own marinated dried tomatoes. They're simple to do, and give you such a great, flavor-filled reminder of homegrown tomatoes throughout the year.
First step is to dry the tomatoes. You can do this in the oven on low heat (200 degrees) on a foil-covered pan for anywhere from nine to ?maybe 24 hours? The length of time depends on how big and how juicy your tomatoes are. You want them to end up the texture of raisins, with all the moisture sucked out of them.
Here they are, getting there. The two in the upper right corner look about done.
If you're fortunate enough to have access to a dehydrator (big thanks to my friend Angie for lending me hers this summer), you can use that to do the drying. It still takes quite a while -- maybe 24 hours or even longer, depending again on the tomatoes' size and juiciness -- but if you set up the dehydrator on a deck or in the garage, you won't be heating up your house throughout August and September.
What you end up with are flat little discs of tomato goodness that will be way smaller than the slices you started with.
Once you're done snacking -- and you will want to snack on a few -- grab a jar. I like to use wide-mouth pints. The wider mouth makes it easier to get your hand in there, and I think the pint is just a nice size.
No offense, you quart jars, or cute little eensy jars.
Pack the tomato slices pretty tightly in the jar and cover completely with olive oil. No part of the tomato should stick out; the oil is what preserves them. In the picture above, I still need to top off the jar with another inch of oil before closing 'er up. Any little bits of tomato sticking out must be jabbed down until they're fully immersed (and staying) or else removed from the jar. If you leave any part of the tomato out of the oil, it will get moldy and you'll have to throw out the batch.
And we certainly don't want that.
These should keep just fine in your pantry throughout the winter. I like to keep a couple on the window ledge above my kitchen sink. They make me smile.
As for The Prudent Homemaker
's question about how many homemade dried tomatoes to use for the cheese ball recipe
, I just eyeballed it based on a store-bought jar of roasted peppers I had in my fridge -- I'd say I used maybe 12-15 of the marinated, dried slices.
And that's probably way more than you really wanted to know about marinated dried tomatoes. Have a nice day.