Don’t kid yourself, health food and specialty stores are out to make a buck and they are raking in plenty by selling you sun dried tomatoes! You may already know that sun dried tomatoes are high in antioxidants, namely Vitamin A & C that may lower the risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes; and that they contain Lycopene that has been proven to decrease the risk of heart attack. But did you know you can make them yourself for a fraction of the cost you’d pay in health food stores? That’s right, you can make sun dried tomatoes right in your own kitchen. It’s easy to do and you will soon have a cheap and easy supply of delicious sun dried tomatoes for all your recipe needs.
Granted, You may not be able to dry your tomatoes in the sun, unless you live at the equator, but you can make these delicious dried tomatoes at home with a food dehydrator or in a conventional oven.
Choosing the Right Tomatoes: Small meaty fruit make the best sun dried tomatoes. Plum and Roma are ideal. Larger beefsteak varieties contain too much moisture to make a good sun dried tomato.
Slice and Drain: Thoroughly wash and dry the tomatoes. Slice them into 1⁄2 inch slices and drain on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
Food Dehydrator Method: If you have a food dehydrator, layer tomato slices to cover the racks. Depending on the number of racks you choose to use at once, they may take up to 12 hours to dry. Check them every few hours and move racks around if necessary.
Oven Method: If you have a gas stove, you are in luck. Layer slices on wire racks or foil lined baking sheets. The pilot light on the oven will provide enough heat to dry your tomatoes in 12 to 20 hours.
If you have an electric oven, set the dial to warm. You may need to prop the door open slightly to prevent overheating.
Test for Doneness: Your tomatoes are ready when they are leathery. They should resemble the texture of a prune with some flexibility. Care must be taken not to remove them if they are still soft and squishy, and not to over dry them until they become brittle.
Storage: Once your sun dried tomatoes are cooled; they can be stored in plastic storage bags for up to 6 months, or stored in the freezer for up to a year
Flavored in Oil: If desired, sun dried tomatoes can be stored in flavored olive oil. Simply re-hydrate slightly until they are chewy, dip them in white vinegar and store in olive oil with your choice of herbs and garlic. These must be refrigerated to preserve flavor and color and to prevent spoilage.
To Re-hydrate Tomatoes: Simply soak dried tomatoes in warm water, sauce or oil for 10 to 15 minutes until they are plump and soft.
You will have a cheap and easy supply of sun dried tomatoes that you would have paid a small fortune for in health food or specialty stores. Use these tomatoes as you would any commercial sun dried tomato.
Sources:Health Benefits of Sun-dried tomatoes.ValleySun.com