01 Jan 2009

Mary's Homemade Summer Dried Tomatoes

Special Equipment:
Dehydrator (if unavailable, oven works fine!)


Heirloom tomatoes
Garlic cloves
Olive oil

A lot of people know the secret to sun dried tomatoes made in an oven, but too often they continue to use only cherry tomatoes or paste tomatoes as their source. I use the bits, ends, seconds, cat-faced and too-ripe heirloom tomatoes to create sun dried tomatoes with a very distinct tomato flavor that actually reminds me what summer smells like. Because we at Greensgrow go through literally thousands of pounds of tomatoes every season, I end up with more than the average person. For that reason, I use a dehydrator —but sun dried tomatoes can be made in a tiny apartment oven or a large commercial range.


Cut leftover heirloom tomatoes into wedges, fat slices and chunky ends. Salt with kosher or sea salt and place on rack in oven (or food dehydrator) at low temperature (125-150) overnight. Tomatoes are done when they have shriveled into chips and have no mushy parts. Drop in a bag and freeze until you have enough to fill a quart jar. In the meantime, drop 2 dozen garlic cloves in 2 cups of olive oil and bring to a simmer on stove. Adjust heat to low and continue to cook until soft, then let cool. Pour cooled oil and garlic over summer dried tomatoes and cover tightly. Add to sauces, soups, salads, toss with hot pasta —or eat right out of the jar all winter long.