Who knew gourmet Sun-Dried Tomatoes were this easy to make? The secret to making them at home is actually baking them and we show how to do that the right way.
Sun-dried tomatoes add a depth of flavor to any recipe they’re in. Whether it be pasta, salad, vinaigrette, sauce or on a sandwich, they tend to really make the dish. Substituting fresh tomatoes just wouldn’t be the same. Why you ask? Well, it’s all due to the long process in which sun-dried tomatoes are made.
Traditionally, sun-dried tomatoes are ripe tomatoes that are placed in the sun to remove most of the moisture from the tomatoes. Although the true origin of sun-dried tomatoes is uncertain, historians speculate that as far back as 700 AD the Aztecs salted and sun-dried their tomatoes to preserve them. The Italians dried tomatoes on their ceramic tile roof-tops in the summer sun.
By drying tomatoes, these foods were able to be eaten and provide important nutrition all year long, especially during the winter months when growing fresh produce was near impossible.
Methods to drying tomatoes has come a long way since then and can now be done in your own home while still getting that rich, deep flavor you’re looking for. Unlike Roasted Tomatoes where we bake the tomatoes at a higher temperature, the key to sun-dried tomatoes is low and long heat. Set your oven temperature low and leave them in there for a long time, up to 10 hours or more.
While it may take a long time to make these flavorful tomatoes, the majority of the time is hands-off. You’ll surely appreciate the end result as you taste the richness these homemade sun-dried tomatoes impart to every recipe you add them to!Print
- 5 lbs plum tomatoes (such as roma)
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Prepare two baking sheets by lining with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
- Wash tomatoes and remove stems. Slice into quarters lengthwise. Gently using your finger, remove seeds from the tomatoes. Place tomatoes cut side up on prepared baking sheets.
- Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, turn over the tomatoes and gently press to squeeze out some of the juices. Return to oven, rotating the baking sheets so the one that was on top rack is now on the bottom rack. Continue baking for an additional 4-8 hours, or until completely dried, turning over the tomatoes and rotating the baking sheets as desired/needed. Be sure to check on the tomatoes every so often for doneness. The tomatoes should still be flexible, but not brittle.
- Once dried, remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to cool completely before storing. Optional: sprinkle with spices/seasonings before storing, such as oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary, red pepper flakes, and/or garlic.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for 6 to 9 months. If the tomatoes come out of storage too dry, you can rehydrate them by placing them in some olive oil, broth or water for 15-30 minutes (you should be able to pierce with a fork when fully reconstituted).