Dried Cherry Tomatoes

Dried Cherry Tomatoes

By 15 October, 2017

A friend of mine who lives on a farm near Siena in Tuscany picks the surplus cherry tomatoes from her summer garden, strings them up in bunches and hangs them against the walls of her stone house to dry. In a humid climates, it's difficult relying on the sun to do the drying as too often the mould gets there first.
One solution, as in this recipe, is to dry them in a very slow oven  and preserve them under olive oil. 
They make lovely gifts and look wonderful, red and bright against the golden olive oil. You can also dry egg (Roma) tomatoes in the same manner.
Make sure to use salt flakes, as ordinary salt is too harsh.

Instructions

It is best to use a convection (fan-forced) oven set at 60degC-70degC (140degF-160degF). It needs to be low enough to enable you to put your hand in without burning. 
Or you can use a food dehydrator - follow manufacturer's instructions.
Wash and dry the tomatoes, remove the calyx (green top) and cut into halves. Place the tomatoes cut-side up on racks and sprinkle with equal quantities of sea salt and white sugar.  Add a little finely chopped thyme or oregano. For every 300g of tomatoes, allow two peeled garlic cloves.
Put the racks in the oven with a baking tray underneath to catch the juice and leave to dry for up to 24 hours. The time will vary - sometimes they may need 8- 10 hours of overnight, depending on your oven. You will need to experiment with the first batch to get the heat and timing right.
The tomatoes should be dry and a little fleshy, but not withered.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. When cool, place the tomatoes in sterilised jars, cover with olive oil and seal. Store in the refrigerator.

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