Do you ever find yourself at a loss for what to do with fresh tomatoes? Despite this predicament, you continue to grow them in your garden year after year, hoping for that magical solution. Well, fear not! I’ve got a delightful and healthy suggestion for you: homemade sun-dried tomatoes packed with flavors and goodness. And the best part? They are suitable for various lifestyles like keto, paleo, Whole30, and vegan. Let’s dive into the enchanting world of sun-dried tomatoes and uncover the secrets of this delightful culinary creation!
Unveiling the Tomato Mystery
Let’s be honest, have you ever wondered what to do with those homegrown tomatoes? While pasta sauce and salsa are popular choices, there’s a world of possibilities waiting to be explored. Imagine taking those fresh tomatoes, drying them, and infusing them with a medley of herbs, salt, and real olive oil. This is the secret to crafting exquisite sun-dried tomatoes that will elevate your meals, pastas, and salads to new heights. So let’s embark on this flavorful journey together!
The Art of Selection
Now, let’s talk about the best type of tomatoes for sun-dried tomatoes. While we can’t be certain about the varieties used by commercial manufacturers, it’s safe to say that Beefsteaks or Brandywines aren’t their top choices. For our homemade endeavor, we recommend smaller varieties that are ideal for tomato paste, such as Amish paste, Hungarian heart, and San Marzano. These tomatoes, purchased from reliable sources like Baker Creek, deliver the perfect texture and taste for our sun-dried tomato masterpiece.
Crafting Homemade Sun-Dried Tomatoes Packed in Oil
Let’s get down to business and discover the secrets of creating these delectable sun-dried tomatoes. Now, I must confess, we won’t be relying on the sun’s rays for drying. Instead, we’ll opt for the convenience of a dehydrator. But if you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to try the traditional sun-drying method and share your experience with us!
Start by thinly slicing your tomatoes, ensuring they are no more than 1/4″ thick. Lay them on the dehydrator trays, making sure they don’t overlap. The goal is to achieve a thorough and uniform drying process. Set your dehydrator to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and let it work its magic for approximately 24 hours. Once your tomatoes are dry, you’re just moments away from the mouthwatering delight that awaits you!
Now, tightly pack those dried tomatoes into a 12-ounce glass jar. Press them down with all your might until you’re sure that jar cannot hold a single tomato more. After all, we want these to be truly sun-dried tomatoes, packed to perfection in olive oil!
To infuse our tomatoes with a symphony of flavors, add salt, garlic granules (not powder), dried basil, and dried oregano to the jar. Finally, fill every crevice with real, luscious olive oil. Seal the jar, place it in the refrigerator, and let it rest for 24 hours.
The Versatility of Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Now that you have your homemade sun-dried tomatoes packed with love and flavor, let’s explore the various ways to enjoy them. Of course, blending them into creamy Italian sauces for pasta is a classic choice. But why stop there? Here are some creative ideas to inspire you:
- Chop them up and add them to a refreshing salad.
- Blend them into a homemade, tangy salad dressing.
- Enhance your pasta salad with a burst of vibrant flavors.
- Combine them with lightly sautéed veggies, butter (or olive oil), and grilled chicken or shrimp for a tantalizing pasta dish.
- And if you’re feeling generous, consider sharing the magic by offering these exquisite homemade sun-dried tomatoes as a thoughtful gift.
FAQs – Unraveling the Mysteries
Let’s address some common questions about this sun-dried tomato adventure:
Q: Do I have to store sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil in the fridge? Aren’t they shelf-stable?
While store-bought sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil may be shelf-stable, the homemade variety requires extra care. Given the absence of commercial processing methods, it’s best to store these delicious delights in the refrigerator. This ensures their longevity and preserves their quality, allowing you to savor them whenever the craving strikes.
Q: How do I know if I have REAL olive oil?
Not all olive oils are created equal. To ensure you’re using the real deal, opt for reputable sources like Wildly Organic (don’t forget to use my code NOURISHING for 10% off!) or check for the California Olive Oil Commission seal on the label. By choosing wisely, you guarantee authenticity and the pure essence of olive oil in your sun-dried tomatoes.
Q: Can I use fresh garlic, basil, and oregano?
While fresh ingredients are tempting, we want to keep things dry. Fresh garlic and herbs introduce moisture, which may compromise the preservation of our sun-dried tomatoes. Instead, embrace the convenience and affordability of garlic granules, dried basil, and dried oregano for this remarkable recipe.
Embrace the Tangy Splendor
Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge and the recipe to create your own enchanting sun-dried tomatoes, it’s time to embark on this culinary adventure. Unleash your creativity and infuse your dishes with the tangy splendor of these homemade delights. Don’t let your garden tomatoes go to waste; let them shine in their sun-dried magnificence!