Lynda Brown's Oven-drying Tomatoes
Dried ripe tomatoes, with their rich flavour and chewy texture, are now a fixture of modern cooking. Using a very low oven heat to semi-dry tomatoes gives a result similar to that of sun-dried tomatoes. Do a trial batch first with half the quantities.
Makes approx 900g (2lb)
Takes 10 minutes, plus drying and cooling time
Keeps 2 weeks (12 months frozen)
3kg (6½lbs) ripe, but firm, medium-sized tomatoes
2-3 tsp sea salt
Cut each tomato in half, round ones horizontally, plum ones vertically. Score the middle of each tomato with a cross shape and push the centres up from below with your fingertips to expose more of the flesh.
Arrange the tomato halves side by side, cut side up, on wire racks positioned over baking trays. Sprinkle each lightly with salt. Leave for a few minutes to allow the slat to start to draw out the moisture, then place cut side down without touching each other.
Put the trays in the oven on a low setting (60-80°C.150-175°F/Gas ¼-½) and dry for 8-12 hours. (Keep the door of an electric oven slightly ajar with a skewer to create an airflow). The tomatoes are ready when they have shrivelled to half their size but are still soft and pliable. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the racks.
When the tomatoes are completely cold, pack into sterilized jars and store in the fridge. For longer-term keeping freeze on open trays, lack into small bags, and freeze. Once thawed cover with olive oil, refrigerate, and use within 1 week.
From The Preserving Book (Dorling Kindersley, 2010)