All summer I have been waiting for the tomatoes to show their rosey faces, but my crop-share didn’t have a tomato in sight until well into August. Last week we finally received a large container of grape tomatoes and another of roma tomatoes in our weekly share. And this week we received even more tomatoes, leaving me with a surplus that I cannot complain about. After the ceremonial first batch of gazpacho (my husband’s favorite) and several plates of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella drizzled with basil-infused olive oil, we still have plenty left. In the middle of winter, when tomatoes from the grocery store usually taste like shoe leather, I will be missing the earthy taste of summer tomatoes. For the past few years I have been oven-drying several pints of tomatoes at the end of the summer and freezing them for my winter stash. They are excellent in soups, stews, on pizzas, in sauces and baked into quiche. Oven-dried tomatoes are simple to make – they just take several hours of unattended time in a low-heat oven to dry out their juices, which concentrates their delicious flavor. Oven-drying is a great way to preserve a little summer flavor with very little effort. After the oven-dried tomatoes have cooled, I put them in a glass container with sheets of waxed paper to divide layers that I can remove a little at time, as needed.
- 2 pints (or more) of tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet (or more than 1 baking sheet if you are making a large batch) with tin foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- Cut tomatoes in half and place on prepared baking sheet(s), cut side up. Sprinkle with Kosher salt, then place in oven on the top rack. Bake for about 2-3 hours, depending on the side of you tomatoes, or until tomatoes are shriveled and most of the juice and moisture are gone from the tomatoes. Cool, then store in freezer bags or air-tight containers for up to 6 months.