Dried tomatoes are a delicious option to accompany meats, salads or sauces. Although you can get them already made in dietetics or supermarkets, they can also be prepared at home with ease.
Further, if you use tomatoes from your own garden you will achieve a special flavor. Therefore, if you like to consume them, in this article we will tell you what steps you have to follow to make them.
Dried tomatoes in Mediterranean cuisine
In general, dried tomatoes are popular in Mediterranean cuisines, especially in the Puglia region of Italy. It is common to see the roofs of houses full of tomatoes drying in the sun.
Exposure to dry and hot air causes these fruits to decrease in volume and enhance the flavor. In addition, thanks to this process they can be preserved for long periods of time, beyond harvest time.
In this sense, there are regions in the world in which the temperature and humidity conditions are optimal for producing dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Dried tomato is one of the foods that is having the greatest acceptance in the national and international market, as indicated by several documents.
In addition, according to an article published in the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), this fruit is a source of lycopene, a plant pigment that has antioxidant properties, so it helps prevent chronic and degenerative diseases. In the case of dehydrated tomato, this substance has greater bioavailability, which means that the body can assimilate it better.
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How to make dried tomatoes at home?
Traditionally, tomatoes were dried in the sun and then combined with olive oil and aromatic herbs. Nowadays they can also be done this way or using an oven to speed up the process. Likewise, the tradition of accompanying them with oil, herbs or other condiments is maintained.
Keep in mind that to obtain 1 kilo of dried tomatoes you need between 13 to 20 kilograms of fresh tomato. It is cheaper to select and discard those that are in poor condition in the washing stage than to do it after processing.
10 ripe tomatoes.
1 clove garlic.
5 fresh basil leaves.
Pepper to taste
1 pinch of salt.
Olive oil: quantity required.
First, wash the fruits to remove the remains of soil. For this it uses drinking water and remember to discard those that are in poor condition.
Then dry them with a clean cloth and cut them into lengthwise halves manually or automatically. You do not need to remove the skin, peduncle, or seeds. Try to make them all the same thickness so that the drying is even. You can even use whole or halved cherry tomatoes.
The next step is to immerse them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. This process is known as scalding or bleached and it serves to stop the enzymatic degradation of vegetables and fruits.
Place the tomatoes on trays, in a single layer without crowding them, convex side up. Sprinkle the pepper and salt over them. The product obtained will tend to darken when you add these ingredients.
Next, it is dehydrated which, as we mentioned, can be done in the sun or in ovens.
In the first case, you have to make sure that at least in the first 4 days there are no rains to avoid the development of fungi. This step takes 1 week and to do it the right way you should keep them at night so they don't absorb moisture. You can cover them with a tablecloth so they don't get dirty.
If you decide to dry them in the oven, do it at 66 degrees. According to studies, at this temperature you will prevent them from oxidizing and darkening too much. This process takes 6 to 8 hours, and you should turn them every now and then during this time. Although the method is faster, the conservation of the tomatoes will last less than in the traditional way.
Once you have the dried tomatoes, place them in a sterilized container and add the minced garlic clove, the basil leaves and cover them with olive oil. The idea is that there is no air to avoid the development of microorganisms.
Wait 10 days for them to taste and then you can consume them. Store them in a dark, insect-free environment (for example in the refrigerator). If you keep them in a suitable place they last up to 20 days.
Read also: How to protect home canning to avoid botulism
In what recipes can you use them?
As we mentioned, you can use them in different recipes. We propose 3 of them in which you can enjoy its exquisite flavor.
1. To make a crispy salad
If you replace the fresh tomatoes with the dried ones, you will achieve a salad with more flavor. Try combine:
3 dried tomatoes.
4 leaves of arugula.
50 grams of ricotta.
1 strip of chives.
Apple cider vinegar to taste.
2. To add to pizzas and their sauces
In this case you can use them to make the sauce or to add them on top of the already cooked pizza. If you decide the first option, we suggest you combine them with fresh tomatoes:
1 fresh tomato without skin grated.
3 dried tomatoes.
1 small onion.
1/4 of bell pepper.
Salt to taste.
Chop the ingredients, sauté the onion along with the bell pepper and when they are cooked add the tomatoes and salt to taste. You can also use this recipe to accompany pasta.
3. With toast
A quick option is to eat them along with toast. If you want, you can add fresh cheese, a grilled egg, and green vegetables for a complete meal.
Try making dried tomatoes at home
As you will see, you can make dried tomatoes at home to preserve your fruits for longer or if you just enjoy eating them. Do not forget that for this recipe you have the quick option, which is the one that includes the oven, or the traditional one in which you need time and sunny days. You choose the method that is most convenient for you.
Do not stop adding them to meals, whether they are pasta, rice, pizzas or salads. You will notice that it provides another flavor, color, texture and that thanks to this ingredient you achieve different versions in your usual recipes.
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