Thursday, September 11, 2008

Storing up Local Delights: Dehydrating Tomatoes

In addition to eating local fare during the Eat Local Challenge, we've decided that it would behoove us to do a bit of "putting up" as well (to supplement our supply of local foods during the long Wisconsin winter).

One of the things that we've been harvesting in abundance from our backyard garden is tomatoes. These lovely Italian drying tomatoes were just begging to be "sun-dried," so we decided to try our hand at some version of that process.

We were lucky enough to have inherited a food dehydrator from my mother a few years' back (she got it during the food dehydrating "trend" of the 1980's). So, we had the perfect vehicle for drying those sweet young things.
After chopping them in half and arranging them neatly on the dehydrator screens, we forgot about them for about 12 hours.
While we weren't looking, they transformed into these delightfully wrinkly little treats.To ensure that they make it through at least part of the winter, I've packed them up into bags and placed them into the freezer. Some of them will be noshed upon like raisins. Others will be re-hydrated in herbed olive oil and used in pastas, on bruschetta, and in sandwiches.
But, there is little doubt that, whichever way we choose to consume them, they will be a pleasant reminder of summer!

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  1. I never would have thought to do that to the tomatoes, you think of everything. I bet those tomatoes in olive oil will be good!!!

  2. Lori and Paul, you are geniuses. I also inherited a food dehydrator, this summer, and wasn't sure what exactly I'd do with it. A brilliant idea!


  3. They look gorgeous and I love your gadget!

  4. hi! I did the same thing a few months back.

  5. Southernoise - OK, I looked. And I can't believe my eyes. Same photos and everything :)

    I do like the idea you used -- simply slitting the whole tomatoes, rather than slicing them in half. Might have to try that!

  6. Do you have to use a food dehydrator? How did they do it before?

  7. Amanda - I know that you can dehydrate tomatoes in the oven, rather than a dehydrator! In fact, I used to do it that way myself (pre-dehydrator) -- usually I let the oven go all night while we were sleeping.

    The Basics: Set your oven as low as it will go, spread your tomatoes on a rack (a lined cookie sheet will do as well), and allow to bake for 12-14 hours, or until the tomatoes are dried.

  8. I'm going to do this with some of my tomatoes today! Thanks for the inspiration.


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