Sun Dried Tomatoes

Bottled Sunshine

Well, summer is finally here and with it comes gorgeous red and juicy tomatoes.  Soon we´ll have so many it will be time to set some by for the months when tomatoes are sadder and greener.

One of the ways I like to store tomatoes is by sun drying them.  Of course, if you live in a country that has less sun, or it´s winter right now, you can use your oven instead.  I have never dried tomatoes this way but understand that as long as you wedge the oven door open slightly with a skewer or similar, then they´ll dry out nicely rather than steam.

This is the way that I do it, it does take a little time but I like to think that the final taste includes a little warmth of the Andalucían sun.

Wash and dry your ripe but not squashy tomatoes – this time I had plum tomatoes (also known as Roma or Pear tomatoes in Spain).

Big Man chose well...

Cut into halves and then sixths or eights (or smaller depending on the size of your tomatoes). Don´t remove the centre core or seeds.

and cut!

Lay them out on a large tray lined with kitchen paper and sprinkle them fairly heavily with salt.  The salt will help to draw the liquid out of the tomatoes and they won´t taste super salty, I promise.  Use coarse salt (or kosher salt) if you can.

Now leave them in a sunny but sheltered spot.  If there is risk of wind or flies, cover them with a muslin cloth or net and take them in at night if you have humidity.

This batch took just over 48 hours.

After one hour of sunshine

After one hour

Sunbathing without protection...naughty!

After four hours

Day two...

Next day

A Blustery Day Three

Final day (after a windy morning!)

When they´re as dry as you want them (you may decide to leave them a little “juicy” for sun blush tomatoes) you are ready to put them in a sterilised jar (or canning them).

Sterilise your jar in the dishwasher or give them a good wash in very hot water then dry them out in a low oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Now pack your tomatoes into a warm jar.  Can you believe nearly 3kg of tomatoes fit into this jar?

Pack ´em in!

You can layer with basil, thyme or oregano if you want.

The you will fill the jar with olive oil.  I know it seems like an awful lot of oil, but in a few months time when you´ve eaten the last of the tomatoes in that jar you can use the oil for salads, drizzling over pizza, making pasta sauce….

As a final security measure, I put my jar into a deep pot of simmering water so that it´s almost covered and leave it in there for about 10 minutes.  This will ensure a good seal and that your tomatoes run no risk of fermenting.

Now, what will you do with your sun dried tomatoes?  Maybe some canapés, or crostini, or chop them up in a salad or sauce, or maybe serve them with a little flaked fresh parmesan and olives….the choice is yours!

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66 thoughts on “Sun Dried Tomatoes

  1. My favourite!!!! They also look so amazing in the jar that they must make a great display for the kitchen.

  2. Now I am envious not only of your vida andaluza, but also your tomato crop… I have a lovely recipe for bread (in breadmaker) using sundried tomatoes. Next spring will plant tomoatoes and dry some of my own. Of course, in the UK, we’ll have to use the oven method. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. I’ve dried Romas in the oven and it worked a treat. It took the better part of a day, but it was worth it. You can also fire-roast jalapeño peppers, slice them and pack in olive oil. They’re best refrigerated but they keep forever and the oil is wonderful… and I don’t usually like spicy!

    1. Good to know how it works in the oven and I like the idea of the peppers…will have to see what I can substitute as we can´t get jalapeño peppers, although have done this with my super spicy birds eye chilis.

  4. Your jar of sun dried tomatoes packed in the oil is so pretty. Our sun isn’t strong enough so I have dried tomatoes in the oven. It is amazing how fast your tomatoes shrunk in size. Thank you for sharing the process.

  5. My uncle would sun dry his tomatoes every year and this brought back so many memories! Now that you’ve shared the process and I’m really looking forward to trying this out. I could find many, many uses for these tomatoes and the full of flavor marinated oil!!

  6. Wow!!! I remember the last time I was in Calabria, my calabrese friend’s mother used to make all kinds of bottled vegetables. She used to make sundried tomatoes, just the way you made them!!

  7. I’ve never made sundried tomatoes, I don’t know why. They would probably be ready in about an hour with the heat today! What a scorcher, might as well be good for something, wiil definitely try this, thanks!!

    1. It´s true … with the heat we´ve got they don´t take long. Although today we´ve had lots of wind…not so good for drying tomatoes as they fly all over the place 😦

  8. Oye, Chica! Loved this post! Thanks so much for the beauty of it and the careful instructions. Never ever thought of staging food outdoors, but how inviting it looks!
    Love your DRY humor!
    I have only ever dried peaches. Mmm! But for windy days, and to keep wasps off them, I placed the tray between two old screen window, and supported all on the luggage rack of our car in the hot sun. Then for dampish nights, I simply popped the tray into the back hatch of the car to wait for morning. Too easy. When it was dusty, I dried indoors. But then you don’t get that taste from the sun…
    Well, thanks for the “like” on my blog. I will be back here!

  9. Beautiful! And it’s so easy. I live in India and we have plenty of sunshine year-round. I’m going to make some of my own this weekend!

  10. These look gorgeous…so pretty you could just grab them off the page! I LOVE sun dried tomatoes and you’ve inspired me to give making my own a try, through your easy instructions. We have lots of heat and sun, but also humidity, so that may mean using the oven. Thanks for sharing this fun and beautiful post.

    1. It was a liitle humid when I did them, but it didn´t seem to matter. But maybe the oven would be a good idea if the humidity was high. Thanks for your kind words!

  11. OMW!!!! These are awesome – again, I can’t wait for warmer weather so that I can try making them! I think our climate is close enough to yours for this to work here. Can one add garlic as well as herbs to the oil? Thanks so much for the recipe 🙂

  12. Those look fantastic – I did some myself about 10 years ago, but the recipe I had, suggested adding sugar – I didn’t like them very much as a result. I’ll definitely try your method!

  13. Mmmmmm, I love sun dried tomatoes, and use them to make an Italian sun dried tomato and spinach salad. This is wonderful! I’m going to get to work!

    1. If you have the weather to do it (and I´m heading over to your blog now to find out more!) give it a go – the flavour is so intense, so different from most shop bought dried tomatoes.

  14. Thank you for this recipe and you make it sound so easy. Can you believe that is what we have (had) been doing to our skin? Thank goodness I have not sunbathed in a couple of years, probably stopped sunning to late anyways! Maybe we should put ourselves in a tub full of olive oil and soak awhile would that help?….RaeDi

  15. Me Too! Wouldn’t we be a lovely set beside the pool? The big hats, skin the color of paper and big sunglasses, nice cold drinks… wait that sounds pretty good meet you pool side! ….RaeDi

  16. That is so cool to watch the progress of the tomatoes! I don’t live somewhere where I could do this, but I’ll bookmark it, and when the day comes, I must try this! Fresh sun dried tomatoes sound and look amazing!

  17. I am from Malaysia and we have lotsa sun here. I love sun-dried tomatoes but the one from the store is very expensive. It’s great to have this recipe.

    May I ask how should I store the sun-dried tomatoes? In the fridge or can I just leave it in the kitchen? Our temperature average is about 30 degree Celcius.

    And do I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil or just Olive Oil will do? Appreciate your reply. I am keen to make my own sun-dried tomatoes. I love them with bread or in salad. Thanks!

    1. Hi there and thanks for visiting. Apologies for the delay in responding – I have been away! The sun dried tomatoes are best stored in jars under oil, and yes, just regular olive oil will do. If the jars are sterilised (run them through the dishwasher or put them into a hot oven or microwave or even just fill them with boiling water) then they will keep for months. Try to store them away from direct sunlight and you´ll be enjoying them all year round like us! Let me know how it goes.

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