Thursday, October 05, 2006

Oven-dried tomatoes

Finally, I have time to post again--whew! Before the Live and Learn Conference I harvested and processed as much as I could, just so I could be away for a few days without worrying about all that was going on in my garden without me. Obviously, I made lots of paste and whole tomatoes from the San Marzanos, and I froze many of the sungolds raw. The grape tomatoes weren't quite as big as I would hoping they would be. I'd planted them, hoping I could stuff them with some goat cheese like cocktail tomatoes, but they were pretty small and not as good fresh, imo, as the sungolds.

It began to look as if they would languish on the vine, so I decided to try drying them. Not wanting to buy a dehydrater, I made do with my ovens, though they only go down to 170 degrees, not the 140 recommended by most sources. I left them in for somewhere between 12 and 24 hours, and though not all of the tomatoes dried completely, the ovens did a pretty good job.

When all was said and done, I couldn't have sealed the oven-dried tomatoes for dry storage because of the moisture still left in several, but they turned out to be absolutely delicious! I opted to vacuum seal and freeze them and look forward to trying them out this winter. I'll definitely be planting these again next year, as Jim and I love sundried tomatoes on sandwiches and in pasta. How wonderful to be able to use those from our very own gardens!

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