Sunday, August 9, 2009

Drying tomatoes

I love sun-dried tomatoes. They have all sorts of flavors that regular tomatoes just can't compare to - they're slightly bitter, very earthy, and have much more pure tomato flavor than a regular (80%+ water) tomato does. However, sun-dried tomatoes are very expensive. I can get regular tomatoes here for $2-3 per pound at the farmer's market, but if I could find sun-dried tomatoes anywhere for sale (which I can't), it would easily be several times that. Solution: dry my own! The oven works brilliantly for this. Simply slice your tomatoes through the middle (not through the stem connection), turn your oven to about 200 degrees, and put the tomatoes on a baking sheet or roasting pan. (Make sure to use parchment paper!) After 8-12 hours, they'll look like this:

I could have kept going, but by then it was about 11:30pm, and I had to go to sleep soon. These took ten hours - they weren't as dry as sun-dried tomatoes usually are, but they were chewy and delicious and homemade! We here at From Bach to Stock have a serious penchant for do-it-yourself cooking adventures: our current project is vanilla extract*, if that says anything. Here's another picture of a beautifully shriveled tomato.

I love how the skin deflates as the water evaporates. Several of these tomatoes were chopped up and thrown into baingan bharta the other night. There are no pictures of that, as I was too busy making sure my eggplants didn't burn up in the oven...although also, baingan bharta isn't really that pretty.

*We're infusing vanilla beans into a bottle of Bacardi. After two days it's already turning brown and smelling like vanilla! I've been told it takes several weeks to properly mature, though. I can't wait!

No comments: