Preserving food is an age old art steeped in history and culture that is far too often lost in our fast paced modern world of convenience. It’s not that we don’t consume preserved food. We do. Every day. Look around the shelves at your local supermarket. Almost every product on the shelf has gone through some kind of preservation process. If food preservation is so “common,” why should we do it ourselves? To take control of our food. To take control of the added chemicals that are put in almost everything that is on those supermarket shelves… to take control over the way our food tastes.
Nothing tastes as good as homemade. Nothing. And what better way to start than with tomatoes? I love a good semi-dried tomato all year around. I’ve just made a beautiful batch… and you could too, a great way to preserve that beautiful local produce that is available right from the vine. Right now.
I have used a dehydrator for this recipe, it is a more efficient way to dry produce evenly in an unpredictable (often humid) climate. If you don’t have one there are other methods of semi drying produce, you can use the oven on a very low heat (about 15 hours) or create your own drying box (about 30 hours).
4 cups of cherry tomatoes of mixed variety
Sprinkle of sea salt
3 tbsp white peppercorns
4 sprigs of rosemary
Wash tomatoes and slice in half. Lay face up on the racks of your dehydrator ensuring the tomatoes are not crowded and air can circulate all around them. Sprinkle sea salt on the face of each tomato, this will help with the drying process.
I found it took about 10 hours on a medium heat in the dehydrator to get the tomatoes to a semi dry state I was happy with… where they were dry but still a bit plump in the middle. Semi dried tomatoes need to be packed into sterilized jars with white peppercorns and rosemary and then filled with good quality olive oil. You can experiment with the herbs you pack into the oil with the tomatoes for different flavours. The tomatoes should keep in the fridge for about 6 months if packed correctly.
Delicious on their own, as an addition to a cheese platter or added into stews, sauces or on top of pizzas. Enjoy!
Want to join me in the little food revolution going on in my kitchen?
I’ll be sharing my preserving tales over the coming months along side some pretty great family friendly recipes that I’ve been developing that take full advantage of local produce… I’d love to hear what’s going on in your kitchen right now too!