Traditionally sun dried tomatoes were made by laying out freshly cut pieces of the fruit in the sun to bake in the natural heat for days (the pieces were first covered in cheesecloth). Nowadays, we use the oven. In just a few hours, you can have bags to freeze or jars full packed in olive oil. Use in pastas, on top of pizzas, in sauces, etc.
If you have a bumper crop from the garden, dehydrating/drying them in the oven is a great way to preserve them for future use.
- Preheat oven to 200° F.
- Gently wash & pat dry the fruit, cut into pieces then scoop out the seeds.
- Oval (Plum): Cut lengthwise; Round: Cut into quarters.
- Place the pieces cut side up on a rack or cookie sheet, do not allow them to touch each other, drizzle or brush a bit of olive oil over them then lightly sprinkle with salt.
- Place in oven and cook 6 to 8 hours or when done–they will be shrunken, leathery looking yet still flexible.
- Pack the pieces in sterilized jars, cover with extra virgin olive oil (make sure each piece is fully covered in oil) and seal. For extra flavor, add herbs such as basil. The flavored oil can be used in cooking and on vegetables or salad. Keep the jars refrigerated bringing them to room temperature before using.
- Pack in freezer bags, remove as much air as possible, then freeze.
Here’s a good video showing you how to make them, steps and ingredients are slightly different than above.
For those of you who can’t watch the video, here are the instructions:
- Cut the fruit in half and scrape out the seeds and as much of the liquid as you can (this will help them dehydrate faster).
- Cover a cookie sheet with several layers of tinfoil.
- Arrange pieces cut side up on the cookie sheet.
- Season with garlic pepper or fresh slices of garlic.
- Next sprinkle with Herbes de Provence, fresh thyme (including stems) and coarse sea salt and black pepper.
- Drizzle good extra virgin olive oil (be generous).
- Place in the oven at 200° for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until done. The texture will be leathery and the pieces will have shrunk at least 50%.
- When they are at room temperature, store in a clean mason jar, with fresh thyme layered between them. Pour extra virgin olive oil over tip, pushing pieces down to get rid of the air.
- Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.
More Goodies To Check Out:
How to make sun-dried tomatoes in 4 steps
Cut plum tomatoes in half and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice beef or vine tomatoes into segments and remove the seeds. Halve cherry tomatoes but don’t deseed.
Arrange cut-side up on greaseproof-lined baking trays, then sprinkle with salt.
Place in the oven at 100ºC. Leave the tomatoes to dry out for around 7 hours.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then place in sterilised jars. Cover with quality olive oil, seal and store in a cool dark place. Once opened, keep in the fridge.
Read on here for more ways to use a glut of tomatoes, plus hints and tips for storing.
Love making your own pantry staples? Why not try Malou’s DIY guides to preserving lemons, making your own blackcurrant cordial, yoghurt, mayo or even butter. Try your hand at your fermenting, from making apple cider vinegar to kombucha to water kefir. Or add instant flavour to your cooking with these DIY flavoured salts. The possibilities are endless!
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What are the health benefits of sun-dried tomatoes?
Sun-dried or oven-dried tomatoes are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, vitamins C and K, and iron. Their flavor and the nutrients are very concentrated, so they pack a lot of nutritional value into a small package!
How do you make sun-dried tomatoes in the oven?
Making oven-dried tomatoes is SO easy to do, and I highly recommend it. It just takes a few simple steps.
- Slice the tomatoes, pat them dry, and give them a generous sprinkling of salt.
- Once that’s done, place on a rimmed baking sheet and leave them in a 225 degree Fahrenheit oven for 5-6 hours.
- When they’re wrinkly and dried, you just store them in the fridge – either dry in a plastic bag, or with some olive oil in a sealed container.
You do want to make sure that you slice the tomatoes evenly, if some are thicker than others, they won’t dry out evenly. I like this tool (affiliate link) for making sure the tomatoes are even, and for cutting down on the time it takes to slice a lot of cherry tomatoes.
How long can you store oven-dried tomatoes?
- If you store them in the refrigerator or freezer in a sealed plastic bag, these should keep for about six months.
- If you store them in a jar with oil, these should be consumed within two weeks.
- For safety reasons, my recommendation is to store them dry in plastic bags, and then just add them to oil right before you want to use them.
- You can read more about storing these sun-dried tomatoes here.
These oven-dried tomatoes do have a nice long shelf life, although I can’t vouch for that because we ate ours up pretty quickly!
These are like little bites of summer sunshine. The tomato flavor is really concentrated, and they are a little bit sweet. They’re kind of addictive, actually, and I think they’re more flavorful than the store-bought variety.
Can you dry any type of tomato in the oven?
Yes, I think so! Just make sure to slice the tomatoes very thin, and pat them dry. I think this recipe will work with Roma tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, and other varieties as well.
These oven-dried tomatoes are:
- perfect for putting in salads or on pizza
- a great way to use up extra tomatoes from your garden
- a flavorful addition to pasta
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- olive oil for storing if desired optional
- Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Rinse the tomatoes and pat dry. Slice lengthwise and place on the cookie sheets, seed side up.
- Pat the tomatoes with a paper towel to absorb some of the juice. Sprinkle with sea salt.
- Bake at 225 degrees until dried and deep red – about 5-6 hours.
- Check the tomatoes regularly after the 4 hour point. They will look wrinkled, dried, and rich red. Some of them may dry faster than others, so you can remove those so they don't get burnt. Once they are all dried, dark red, and wrinkled, remove the pan from the oven.
- Let cool completely. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, or in a glass jar with some olive oil, about 3-4 tablespoons. They can be stored safely for about a month in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup of dried tomatoes.
Check the tomatoes regularly after they have been baking for four hours. Depending on how thick they are, some may be done before others. Feel free to remove any that are done before the baking time is completed.
Store these in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator or freezer. If you store them in olive oil, they must be consumed within two weeks.
Total Carbohydrates 5g 2%* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This post was originally published in September 2014. It has been updated with more tips and information.
Have you been preserving any summer produce? Have you ever made oven-dried tomatoes?
What is Pesto Rosso?
Hearing “pesto,” most people tend to think of basil pesto (Pesto alla Genovese). Pesto Rosso (literally, “Red Pesto”) is a Sicilian variation that starts with sun-dried tomatoes. It has a rich red hue and a deep, sweet, tangy flavor.
Like all pestos, Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto recipes also vary by region and cook. The sauce typically calls for almonds instead of the pine nuts used in basil pesto. Some cooks add basil, while others complement the tomatoes with other herbs, like rosemary. A few recipes add oil-cured black olives for an even deeper flavor.
My favorite Pesto Rosso recipe is a simple one: sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, roasted almonds, and olive oil, chopped in the food processor to a hearty, spreadable texture.
Dry-Packed vs. Oil Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes
You’ll usually find two types of sun-dried tomatoes at the market: dry-packed and oil-packed. Either can be used for this recipe.
In my market, the dry-packed are stocked in the produce section with other dried fruits. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are generally sold in jars, and are found in the canned vegetable aisle, or where you would find antipasto ingredients, such as marinated artichokes and mushrooms.
Be sure to read the labels; sometimes the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes have garlic or herbs added. They’re delicious, but remember that they’ll introduce those flavors to your dish. I usually prefer to control the quantities of seasonings in most recipes myself, so I buy the plain version when using oil-packed.
Since they’re steeped in oil, jarred sun-dried tomatoes tend to be plumper than dry-packed. When using dry tomatoes, you can easily reconstitute them in water to use in recipes. (See: The Best Way to Rehydrate Sun-Dried Tomatoes from Cooks Illustrated.) For Pesto Rosso, you don’t need to take this extra step, as the sauce is blended with olive oil.