TheLorax
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Sun Dried Tomatoes

I know this gal who is an exceptional cook. She claims one of the best tomatoes to sun dry is 'Principe Borghese'.

Found it here-
https://rareseeds.com/seeds/Tomatoes-Red/Principe-Borghese

Found some interesting comments about a drying process for this tomato here-
https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/08/04/HO6KR2Q7G1.DTL

I use sun dried tomatoes in a few recipes. I've always bought them before but might like to try sun drying them if the process is not too complicated. Anyone out there sun dried any tomatoes before and if so how did you do it? There's supposed to be a way to do it where you don't need to buy a dehydrator.

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JennyC
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I'm afraid I'll put them in the dehydrator, so no help from me. Euell Gibbons keeps singing the praises of spreading things out to dryy in a hot summer attic, but most of what I remember him talking about is leafy stuff -- I don't know if it would work with something as juicy as tomatoes.
Jenny C

TheLorax
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I don't know that I want to buy a dehydrator as I don't know that I'd use it all that much. I did find a little bit of info on line about sun drying and think a raised screen squirrel feeder might work well. Plenty of time to think about this.

Boy, you're really getting a lot out of that Euell Gibbons book!

cynthia_h
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I have a copy of In Nonna's Kitchen, a cookbook of traditional Italian recipes by Carol Field. On page 60, she has a sidebar about dried tomatoes:

"Dried Tomatoes (Pomodori Secchi): In the south, tomatoes are split in half, sprinkled with sea salt, placed on woven reed mats, then laid on roofs of houses and dried in the intense heat of the sun over the space of a week or two. Then they are put into widemouthed clay containers and immersed in extra-virgin olive oil, perhaps flavored with a little garlic and oregano. In the north, where the sun is not as strong, women dry tomatoes in the oven after the bread has been cooked and the heat has dropped to a very low temperature, leaving them to wrinkle and concentrate their flavors very slowly, 6 to 8 hours."

I love this book for its food lore even more than for its recipes. Check it out from a library (if possible) to see what I mean.

Cynthia H.
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Roger
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Like Cynthia referred to, I have dried tomatoes in the oven before. I cut them into inch [or less] thick slices and placed on a cookie sheet, give them a generous sprinkling of salt, and then set the oven to the lowest possible setting. You've got to watch them throughout the day to catch them before they go from "drying" to "cooked", but the smell in the kitchen is well worth the effort :)

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applestar
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I'm in a humid mid-Atlantic state so I'm not sure if I can reliably sun-dry tomatoes either, but do the SUN-dried tomatoes have better nutritional value vs. oven/artificially dried? I read somewhere that sun-dried shiitake mushrooms contain more vitamin D... or was it K? :oops: ANYway, it's more nutritious. Oh, and umeboshi (salt-pickled plum) is supposed to go through the hot sunny day-and-cool night dew cycles for minimum ... ummm 3 days/nights? ... to be properly processed. I wonder what the science behind all this might be and whether they are related....

TheLorax
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Thanks you three! I figured I could forgo the purchase of a dehydrator.

I don't have any 'Principe Borghese' but I read that 'Roma' could be used and if all goes well I should have some of those to experiment with in a few months.

I have a brand new squirrel feeder. It's a simple frame elevated off the ground that has screening/wire mesh as a tray to hold corn and sunflower seeds. It's not going to be used for the squirrels now! I have an asphalt driveway and my thoughts are that I can cut up the romas and sprinkle them with salt as described by roger then lay them out on the squirrel feeder and set them out in the sun on the hot driveway to see what happens. If they don't start shriveling up like raisins in a few days, I can haul them inside and use my oven. If humidity at night and morning dew becomes an issue, I can haul them in then set them back out the next morning.

Think if they dry up nicely that I'll go Cynthia's route by saving them in olive oil and tossing in a little garlic, thyme, and oregano. I think they would look nice in glass canning jars.

Don't know anything about sun drying shitake or umeboshi but I'd like to.

Here's one of my favorite recipes using sun dried tomatoes, I pulled it from the Internet a few years ago so I can't give credit to the person who created it-

Sun-Dried Tomato Ratatouille
INGREDIENTS:
2 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 large bell peppers, diced
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 C sun dried tomatoes
¼ C of olive oil for sautéing
1 C of stock
3 sprigs of fresh basil

Place eggplant cubes in a large bowl of salted water. Let set for about 15 minutes. Drain water and squeeze water out of eggplant pieces, being careful so they retain their shape.

Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat and add olive oil. Sautee eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions and carrots until nice and caramelized (about 7-10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Throw in the garlic, stir and cook for about 3 minutes or until garlic begins to soften. Add broth and sun dried tomatoes, reduce heat to low, scrape the bottom of the pan and reduce liquid until vegetables are nice and stewed (about 15-20 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve topped with fresh basil.

opabinia51
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Oh Lorax, post this in the recipes thread in the vegetable forum. Yum!
Feed the soil, not the plants.

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JennyC
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Good luck with the squirrel feeder (and with keeping the squirrels, birds, etc, off the tomatoes).

I like the olive oil idea, too. Roger, how do you keep yours?

I have a dehydrator already. I wasn't using it much for a long time, but I've used it twice this week. I'm hoping my fig tree makes; best use of a dehydrator I can think of.

I have Romas planted too. You try the driveway-squirrel feeder, I'll try the dehydrator, and we'll compare notes.

Re Euell Gibbons: I've read three of his books now. :oops:
Jenny C

TheLorax
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opabinia51, done!

You know, most people who garden are chow hounds. I got to looking at that thread over there and I'm thinking maybe it might be a good idea to consider creating a new forum down by the what doesn't fit elsewhere area just to round up all the recipes to keep them together. That's a pretty long thread that's a mish mash. Maybe something titled Fruits of our Labor- Recipes? Anything that would let others know the area is for recipes would be fine though.

OK Jenny, forget comparing notes. Let's swap. I'll send you my asphalt squirrel rack dried tomatoes and you send me your dehydrator dried tomatoes and let's see what we think. I can keep the critters out. I'll toss a chicken wire cage over the top. Somehow I get the impression you will be getting the short end of the stick and I'll be buying a dehydrator but who knows.

doccat5
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I dehydrate mine, but I've had this dehydrator for at least 15 years. It was a big buy at the time, but has more than paid for itself many times over. I use any tomato I have, but the roma/paste type really do the best. They are yummy. Since the boys are on their own, I might actually be able to have enough to put up, LOL

Every time I turned around they were into the dried tomatoes and zucchini chips. Including one of their buddies, who normally wouldn't touch a vegetable with a 25 ft pole.......what a hoot, LOL
doccat5

I'd rather be gardening!

TheLorax
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Zucchini chips? What are those exactly and how do you make them. I love zucchini. I would like to try those. Do you have to have a dehydrator to make them or can they be made in the oven? Oh oh oh, these sound tasty!

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Reptilicus
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Im not sure if i can sun dry tomatoes here. Im sure there would be a swarm of flies at the first tomato cut up.. :cry:

I wonder how much dehydrators are going for these days. It might be something good to purchase. You know, another kitchen gadget for my wife to trip over and be aggravated at me about.. :lol:

at least until she gets some serious foods off it. :wink:

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JennyC
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Ooh, yes, please spill the beans on the zucchini chips. I'm in full "how do I use it up?" mode here!

I can't tell you guys anything about the cost of my dehydrator (it came with my husband :P ). But it's a really simple device -- several stacked plastic racks, a fan, and a low heat source.

Here's an article on choosing a dehydrator from Mother Earth News: https://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Fo ... rator.aspx

And I found plans for a solar dehydrator made of cardboard boxes and plastic wrap:
https://www.thefarm.org/charities/i4at/surv/soldehyd.htm
Jenny C

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applestar
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Hmm. I have a few window screens I'm not using, some with holes... I wonder if I could set up a simple box frame use intact screens for top and bottom, and then put the holey one in the middle as a shelf.... 8) Do you think plastic window screens are bad (transfer of plastic, especially with acid food like tomatoes?) Would it be safer if I lay some cheese cloth on it first or would the cheese cloth soak up all the juice?

I read somewhere once that flies are sneaky/smart and will actually drop eggs on the food THROUGH the screen, so that's something to consider, too.

TheLorax
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I read somewhere once that flies are sneaky/smart and will actually drop eggs on the food THROUGH the screen, so that's something to consider, too.
Oh, now there's a pleasant thought, flies dropping eggs through screens. Ewwwwwwww ick! Now about the best food dehydrators that are affordable.... either that or I'm going to have to sun dry them inside of my screened in porch so flies can't fly overhead and drop eggs on my sliced tomatoes!

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