Sun dried tomatoes are SO good.
They bring back the powerful aroma of the summer tomatoes, concentrated and emphasized by the process and by the sweetness of the oil. Of course, they are better if they are home made. Not to talk about home grown and organic!
They are also easy to make. I prefer mine not blanched in vinegar and water, they already have enough acidity to keep and to be safely stored, no need to add anything.
Depending on where you live and on the season, you’ll dry your tomatoes under the sun or in a dehydrator. This year I made mine with the last San Marzano of the season, so the sun and the heat were not enough to assure a fast drying process, so I used my dehydrator.
The process is the same wether you use the dehydrator or you dry in the sun. Cut the tomatoes lengthwise (use pear tomatoes or datterini or cherry tomatoes, they shouldn’t be much more than 1.5 cm (1/2 2/3 inch) thick. Sprinkle with salt and put in the dehydrator or on a net tray in the sun (cover with net to avoid flies). If you put them out in the sun, you may want to take them inside during the night if your area is humid, to avoid mold to form during the night
To avoid having to rehydrate the tomatoes (and/or boiling them with vinegar) you want them dry but still chewy and slightly moist, as a fruit leather. Once they reach this status, put the sun dried tomatoes in a large bowl and add extra virgin olive oil (and garlic if you like it) and mix throughly. The idea is coating the tomatoes and filling any pocket that may keep some air once you jar them. Air is our enemy when we preserve in olive oil, so make sure that you use enough oil to throughly smear the tomatoes.
Put the tomatoes (and the garlic if you added it) in jars, leaving 3 or 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) to the top. Cover with oil and move with a fork to make sure that there are no air pockets. The oil should be 1 cm (1/2 inch) over the tomatoes. Close the jars and store in a dark and cool place for at least 2 months before eating.
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