In the Dryer: Roma Tomatoes

This week, I'm launching a new recurring feature entitled, you guessed it, In the Dryer. Our dehydrator is one of our busiest appliances! More often than not, it's full of tasty seasonal fruits and veggies that we're prepping to save for the month's to come. Readers and friends frequently ask how things taste when dried and "what the heck" you're supposed to do with them. I've decided to use this feature to help answer some of those questions.

In the dehydrator this week: Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes a variety of plum tomatoes and are usually egg-sized and shaped. Because they contain relatively few seeds, they make awesome fresh sauces and work well in salads and on pizzas. Any variety of tomatoes can be used for canning or making sauces, but I think romas are particularly nice when dried! I sliced them lengthwise, from tip to stem, in 1/4" slices. I lined my dehydrator trays with parchment paper to prevent any sticky messes and set my trusty machine to 125°F.

In my house, tomato slices like this typically take about 24 hours to dry completely. After they are dried and cooled, they can be stored in a number of ways. Plastic zip-top bags are a popular choice, but I prefer to keep ours in glass jars. If you like, you can stuff them into a jar and pour (good quality!) olive oil over them to create an at-home version of the expensive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes available at your local supermarket.

So, how will we be using these savory little gems throughout the winter?

  • Diced and added to salads (especially when walnuts or pine nuts are also invited to the party)

  • Whole or sliced, as pizza toppings with dried basil, oregano and thyme

  • Rehydrated (in warm water) and added to soups

  • Make a sun-dried tomato pesto with olive oil, garlic, dried basil and walnuts

  • Steep in warm vinegar with thyme and dried capers for antipasto

  • Infuse olive oil or vinegar with tomatoes, drain off and reserve for salad dressings and sauces

Can you think of other tasty ways to use dried tomatoes later in the winter?

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