Monday, August 25, 2014

Drying Roma Cherry Tomatoes


 This is the time of year when you are reaping the benefits of all your hard work in the garden.  Or, if that didn't go so well, you are at least perusing the farmers market to reap the benefits of their hard work!  Either way, if you live in or near Michigan, it's Tomato time!

It used to be that we'd get so many cherry tomatoes that toward the end of summer I'd quick picking them as there wasn't much you could do with them.  That was before I discovered how wonderful they are dried!

Drying cherry Tomatoes is a simple process.  
 
#1 Start with incredibly flavorful cherry tomatoes.  I grow heirloom Roma Cherry Tomatoes that have incredible flavor.  Try to find some great tasting ones at a farmers market.  Most of the ones from the grocery store have little flavor.  The flavor will intensify with drying and you'll get a deep, rich, dark tomato taste.  

#2 Rinse them off.

#3 Slice them in half and place them cut side up on your dehydrator.  If you place them cut side down they sometimes stick to your rack.  Any dehydrator will work.  Mine is an inexpensive variety that you find at Wal-mart or Meijers for around $30-40.  We've had it for years.  There is no need to go out and buy some of these expensive ones you see advertised (at least not for this job!) 


#4 Turn your dehydrator on and let it work.  The time will vary to get them dry.  Usually I turn them on before bed and let it run all night.  By morning it's "almost" done.  You'll know because as you feel them there will be no soft or mushy spots, it will all be dry.  You don't want to go till they are hard as a rock.  The tomato can still feel "bendy" but shouldn't feel mushy at all.

#5 Lastly, place them in pretty clear jars, label and store.  They look so pretty in the jars I almost hate to use them.

So now that you have dried cherry tomato's what do you do with them?  Use them any way you would sun-dried tomatoes.  Just put as many as you want in a small bowl and cover the tomatoes with water.  Microwave for a minute just to get the water hot and then let them sit for 15-20 minutes (if you can.)  They are now ready to use.  You can also soften in oil and they will be like the oil packed sun-dried tomatoes.

We like them in hummus, on pizza, tossed in with pasta and a little oil and on bruschetta bread with some basil and oil.  You can also just toss them into soups and stews. ENJOY!

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