Oven-Dried Tomatoes

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It happens every year. I get ready to clean up the garden and plant my cover crop, only to find that I have the biggest tomato harvest of the year out there waiting for me. 

Photo By Pier Jones

Green tomatoes are easy. They can become pickles or relish, frozen sliced or whole, canned, or put in boxes and slid under the bed in the guest room until they ripen. But what to do with all those cherry and paste tomatoes that seem to have appeared overnight? Especially when, by this time, I have likely canned all I want or need for the upcoming year.

Oven-drying is a quick way to get those tomatoes from the garden to the freezer, and since they take up very little freezer space, the fact that it is the end of the growing season is not a problem in that regard, either.

Here’s how to make oven-dried tomatoes:

Halve cherry or small paste tomatoes, slice larger paste tomatoes, and squeeze out the excess pulp. (If you are using heirloom tomatoes, this is a great time to save seeds, by the way.)  Place the tomatoes cut-side up on cookie sheets. Lining the pans with parchment paper is not necessary but sure makes for an easy clean-up. 

Photo By Pier Jones

Place the tomatoes in your oven, set to 175 to 200 degrees, and dry until wrinkled and leathery, which will take most of a day. That’s really all there is to it! 

Photo By Pier Jones

Before placing the tomatoes in the oven, you can sprinkle them with sea salt and herbs or drizzle them with balsamic vinegar or olive oil, but it’s not necessary. You’ll be amazed at the flavor these little tomatoes will pack, seasoned or not.

Photo By Pier Jones

I always pack one jar with tomatoes and cover them with olive oil to be refrigerated and used immediately. The rest, I just toss in plastic freezer bags and freeze until winter when I crave something that tastes like summer. 

Pier Jones is an Oklahoman who is passionate about many things—her family, gardening, yoga, food preservation, herbs and all things food-related. Like most Southern women, she lives to feed people! Follow her on her Facebook page, A Year of Traditional Living

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