Monday, October 17, 2011

Oven Dried Tomatoes

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on less than $10/day.

So I've got a bunch of really ugly tomatoes ripening in my basement right now.

Which is why it was so perfect that I got Miz Helen's Country Cottage this month for the Secret Recipe Club. She hails from Texas and is thereby obligated by Texas state law to provide plenty of stick to your ribs kinds of meals/desserts (the brownie torte I'm going to make comes to mind), though hers tend to have plenty of finesse (and they're not all of the stick to your ribs variety). Like her oven dried tomatoes.

This recipe was especially appealing to me because--did I mention my ugly tomato situation--but also because I often dry my tomatoes in a dehydrator. That's all fine and good, but I've often wanted to do some that were accessible to the non-dehydrator-owning crowd. Perfect.

And you know, I liked hers even better. They weren't as thoroughly dried as their dehydrated counterparts (Miz Helen says they'll keep for 3 months in the fridge, but mine kept for 12 hours and were gone--2 pounds all mine), but because of the roasting they come out with this more complex, roasty flavor, which I LOVE.

I do have one note. Miz Helen says to leave them in the oven at 250 for 3 hours. And she says you can leave them up to 6 hours. But don't think this means you shouldn't check them at 3 hours, because you should. You might even want to check that at 2 1/2 hours. Or you should set the oven to 200. This is especially true if your tomatoes are not all sliced, um, exactly in the same thicknesses, not that I happen to know anyone who might slice her ugly tomatoes in such a careless way.

I checked mine at 3 1/2 hours and the outer ones and little ones were crispy and a little blackish around the edges. I happen to like blackish around the edges where roasted things are concerned and I ate those ones that night as a sort of tomato chip (mmm, tomato chips). The rest I ate the next day like this, and--oh--they were pretty much beyond amazing.

Oven Dried Tomatoes
from Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Cost: nearly free, you ugly tomatoes, you

2 lb Roma tomatoes (they work best since they have the fewest juices and seeds; if you want to use another variety, you may want to remove some of the seeds/juices, though not all as they add to the flavor of the tomatoes)
olive oil
spices (Miz Helen recommends a whole slew as options--basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme. I thought that was a great idea, but went simple with merely salt and pepper)

1. You're going to remove the grody parts of your ugly tomatoes. Get it all gone. Good job.

2. Next slice them lengthwise. Try to keep your slices as uniform as possible, but don't stress if they're not.

3. Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet (do this or you will be beating yourself with a spatula later on).

4. Brush olive oil onto the top of the tomatoes.

5. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper (generously, people) and then with whatever other seasonings you wish.

6. Bake at 200 or 250 for 3-4 hours. Give them a check at 2 1/2 hours. If some are already dry and ready to come out, remove them and then put the rest back in to finish drying.

7. Allow them to cool and eat them plain as snacks or throw into a meal. They go great with pasta, rice, or salad.

How I Ate Mine should anyone care to know what one might do with oven dried tomatoes

1 C cooked spaghetti
1 generous Tbsp pesto
1-2 tsp cream
1 Tbsp Parmesan or Romano cheese
as many tomatoes as you can cram in there

Mix all together and eat.



  1. I just spent $7 on a very tiny jar of sun-dried tomatoes - I wish I had this recipe before that!

  2. Hi Jeanie,
    I am so excited that you posted my Oven Dried Tomatoes, you did a great job I am honored! Thanks for sharing and it is fun cooking with you in the SRC. Hope you have a great day.
    Miz Helen

  3. I love sun dried tomatoes, but those cost an arm and a leg. I love that these are oven dried!

  4. We make them like this and they are completely addictive - better than candy!! I love Miz Helen's blog. Great SRC pick! Hope you'll stop by and see my reveal.


  5. So cool that you made these, never in my wildest dreams... haha! Now maybe I will have to try them!

    Thanks for being a part of my SRC group... stop by and see my Frozen Breakfast Burritos.

  6. Because my dehydrator bit the dust this year, I am thrilled to see that you can make "sun dried" tomatoes this way.

  7. Oh, I made sundried tomatoes in a similar fashion two weeks ago. You are right, they are amazing! I only did mine for an hour, so I think if I'm going to try to keep them, I'll use your method. Thanks!

  8. hmmm, I did not have good luck with this. I was watching them closely, and they just weren't "drying out," and then they were blackening but still not "dry." But don't worry, tomatoes flavored with salt and I have a very forgiving relationship. They still tasted yummy, just seemed a little roasted but weird.

  9. I can't even blame it on your wonky TX oven anymore. Did you have the oven at 200 or 250. I think they might work best at 200, and they won't be dry like dehydrated tomatoes are, but they should be dry-ish and able to be used in the same way a sun-dried tomato would be.

  10. How do you store these and how long will they keep? I'm making them right now and I know I won't eat them all in one shot. Can they be frozen as well?

    1. I store them in a baggie in the refrigerator. I honestly don't know how long they will keep since I have an addiction problem with dried tomatoes. They should keep a good week in the fridge and if you put them in a jar with olive oil, they should keep longer. Also, I expect they will freeze well, although I have not--admittedly--tried this.



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