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Sun-dried tomatoes, if you are not yet familiar with them, can revolutionize your mind and become one of your favorite dishes for the coming years. Usually, acquaintance with them begins with the purchase of a small jar in the store and, like any industrial product, they cannot be compared with a delicacy prepared at home. And do not be afraid of difficulties: preparing a jerky snack is not at all so difficult, and in every home, as a rule, there are certain devices that can be used in this culinary process.
Introducing Italian cuisine: sun-dried tomatoes
Among the many preparations for the winter, this one is infinitely popular, primarily because it combines the rich taste of aromatic ripe tomatoes and oil infused with herbs. In addition, if the proper temperature regime is observed, vegetables retain not only a palette of summer taste sensations, but also a set of useful elements contained in fresh fruits. And few people need to explain how important this is for the autumn-winter-spring period.
Although in Russia this dish has come to be loved under the name "sun-dried tomatoes", in essence, the fruits are rather dried, and therefore they can be stored, like most dried fruits (dried vegetables), in hermetically sealed containers or even paper bags. Oil filling is just one of the most common ways to prepare them for the winter, and in terms of taste, a specific dish is obtained as a result.
What to eat with and where you can add sun-dried tomatoes
The list of dishes in the manufacture of which you can use sun-dried tomatoes is inexhaustible.
- They are good in the form of additives to meat, fish and vegetable dishes. Traditionally, pasta (pasta) and pizza are prepared with them.
- A variety of salads with the addition of sun-dried tomatoes are very tasty, especially if arugula is also present there.
- They are also good for mixing into the dough when baking bread and focaccia - traditional Italian tortillas.
- Finally, sun-dried tomatoes are very tasty both as a snack and as a component of sandwiches with cheese, ham and herbs.
What varieties of tomatoes can be used for drying
You can use almost any variety of tomatoes for drying, just keep in mind that large and juicy fruits dry for a longer time. Therefore, it is rational to dry or dry dense, fleshy tomatoes of small and medium sizes.
Typically, cream-type tomatoes or hollow varieties are used for these purposes. In the Mediterranean countries, from where these recipes came to us, the varieties San Marzano and Prince Borghese are most often used.
Many Russian varieties will not be inferior to Italian ones in taste, but they will have time to mature in our cool climate. If you want to grow tomatoes that are suitable for drying, when buying seeds, take into account the following characteristics of the fruit:
- high content of solids and sugars;
Examples of varieties ideal for drying include the following plum or pepper varieties:
- De Barao (black varieties are especially tasty);
- Scarlet Mustang;
- Moscow delicacy;
- Italian spaghetti;
- Caspar F1;
- Uncle Styopa;
- Octopus Cream;
Good as dried and orange-yellow varieties of tomatoes:
- A barrel of honey;
- Minusinskie glasses;
- Truffles are multicolored.
They have an increased sugar content, their taste is a bit like melon.
The so-called hollow varieties of tomatoes, which are traditionally used for stuffing, are also great for drying-drying:
- Bourgeois filling;
- Figs pink;
- Sierra Leone;
- Yellow Stuffer (yellow hollow);
- Striped Stuffer
- Bulgaria (Crown);
- Yellow Bell Pepper
List of required ingredients
The first and main thing that you need for drying is the tomatoes themselves. They should be fully ripe, but not overripe, firm. To calculate the amount of fruits needed for cooking, keep in mind that they lose a lot in volume and mass. So, out of 15–20 kg of fresh tomatoes, you will get only 1–2 kg of dried (dry) fruits.
You will need more salt to make sun-dried tomatoes. It is necessary to remove excess liquid from the fruit before and during drying. It must be used in the natural drying of tomatoes in the sun. In other cases, it is added at will.
Advice! It is best to use coarse sea salt.
Sugar is used to soften the acidity of tomatoes, which are not gaining real sweetness in our northern latitudes; brown will give the tomatoes a spicy flavor.
When drying tomatoes, most often they take a traditional set of herbs from Italian cuisine:
It is also allowed to use any other aromatic herbs and spices of your choice:
- black pepper and chili,
If you use dry spices, they can be ground into powder, mixed with salt and used to sprinkle tomatoes before drying. When using fresh spices, they must first be poured with vegetable oil, insisted in it, and only then mixed with tomatoes.
It is best to choose refined oil, preferably olive oil. However, high-quality sunflower, corn, or grape seed will also work.
The main thing, perhaps, is to choose a method of drying tomatoes. Drying itself can take place both in the open air, in the sun (the cheapest, but also the longest process), and with the help of a variety of kitchen appliances: an oven, an electric dryer, a microwave oven, an airfryer, a multicooker. Usually, the unit that is available is chosen. The features of making sun-dried tomatoes in each of them will be detailed below.
Dried tomatoes in the oven: a recipe with a photo
The oven, gas or electric, is the most popular place for drying tomatoes.
It is good if a convection oven capable of maintaining temperatures between 40-60 ° C, otherwise you will not get classic sun-dried tomatoes, but rather baked ones. They will be delicious anyway.
The way in which tomatoes are cut depends on their size. Small to medium sized tomatoes are usually cut into two halves, sometimes into quarters. Larger fruits are best cut across into slices about 6–8 mm thick.
There is a lot of controversy about whether it is necessary to cut the center with seeds from the tomatoes before drying. It is in it that the maximum amount of liquid is concentrated, and without it the tomatoes will cook much faster. But the seeds often give an additional piquant taste to the finished dish. So it's up to you to choose. Keep in mind that removing the middle from chopped tomatoes will also take you quite a lot of time and effort, but the drying process itself will be about twice as fast.
Attention! The removed cores can be used to make tomato paste, adjika and other blanks.
Place the cut tomatoes, open side up, on baking trays or wire racks. The latter can be covered with baking paper to make it easier to remove the finished fruit later. After placement, the tomatoes are sprinkled with a mixture of salt and sugar, to which crushed dry spices are often added. The ratio of salt, sugar and black pepper is 3: 5: 3. The amount of spices used is controlled solely by your taste.
The cooking time for sun-dried tomatoes depends solely on the capabilities of the oven and your own choice.
- Long, but gentle (preserving all the nutrients) will be heating the oven to 50-60 ° C and drying tomatoes for 15-20 hours.
- If the minimum temperature in the oven is 100–120 ° C, then for many this is the optimal mode, since tomatoes can wilt in 4–5 hours.
- At a higher temperature, drying takes literally a couple of hours, but you need to monitor the tomatoes more carefully: they can burn easily, and nutrients evaporate at the same rate.
When choosing any drying mode, the oven door should always be slightly ajar for ventilation.
In addition, if you are drying tomatoes for the first time, then you need to constantly monitor the process and check the condition of the fruits almost every hour. Since it is impossible to specify exactly the drying time, one should focus on the state of the dried fruits. Tomatoes should shrivel, become darker. But it is also not recommended to bring them to the state of chips. They should remain slightly elastic, bend well, but not break.
Attention! During drying, the tomatoes can be turned over once to dry more evenly.
To increase the number of sun dried tomatoes, you can use the maximum number of trays and racks available in your kitchen. But keep in mind that as the number of simultaneous loads increases, the drying time can also increase by 30–40%.
The presence of the convection mode in the oven reduces the cooking time for sun-dried tomatoes by 40-50%.
How to cook sun-dried tomatoes in the microwave
In a microwave oven, sun-dried tomatoes are baked, not sun-dried, but this method is unmatched in speed. Use it if you are short on time.
It is better to take small tomatoes for drying; cherry and cocktail varieties are perfect.
The fruits are cut into two parts, the middle is taken out with a spoon or knife. Lay out the halves on a flat plate, sprinkle with oil, salt a little, pepper and add a little sugar, as well as seasonings if desired. Place in an oven at maximum temperature for 5-7 minutes.
Then the door is opened, steam is released, the resulting liquid is drained and the tomatoes are allowed to stand for about 15 minutes. Then they are again put to bake for 5 minutes, after which they are left to stand in the microwave with the mode turned off for about 10 minutes. This procedure should be repeated 3-4 times, each time checking the tomatoes for readiness, so that they do not dry out.
Tomatoes dried in a slow cooker
To cook sun-dried tomatoes in a slow cooker, you must use the "baking" mode. The preparation of the fruit is the same as for drying in the oven.
It is better to combine all the components in advance and sprinkle them on the decomposed pieces of tomatoes.
Tomatoes are laid out both on the bottom of the multicooker, previously covered with baking paper, and in a container for steaming dishes (to increase the yield of the finished product). After sprinkling with spices, sprinkle all the tomato slices with a little olive oil. You can apply it with a brush.
Cooking sun-dried tomatoes in a slow cooker at about 100 ° C takes about three hours. This is usually sufficient for withering small fruits. Large tomatoes will take longer - 5-7 hours. If your multicooker model has a valve, remove it to allow moisture to escape.
How to dry tomatoes in an airfryer
In the airfryer, you can get a pretty good version of sun-dried tomatoes. The fruits are selected and prepared in the same way as in the previous recipes. They are dried
- or at a temperature of 90-95 ° C from 3 to 6 hours;
- or first 2 hours at 180 ° C, then turn the tomato slices over and dry for another 1-2 hours at 120 ° C.
The airflow turns on strong.
Important! During drying, the lid of the airfryer must be kept slightly open - for this, two wooden strips are placed horizontally between it and the bowl.
It is advisable to spread baking paper on the grates so that the finished tomato slices do not fall through the rods and do not stick to them.
Sun-dried tomatoes in the vegetable dryer
The experience of many housewives shows that the best results in making sun-dried tomatoes can be achieved using electric vegetable dryers, especially those called dehydrators. They do not require rearranging the pallets during the drying process, since the air is blown evenly. The dryer can cook a significant amount of sun-dried tomatoes at a time. Since the temperature regime in it starts, as a rule, from 35 ° C, fruits can be dried in very gentle conditions while preserving all useful substances.
Drying time for tomatoes at 40-50 ° C is about 12-15 hours, at 70-80 ° C - 6-8 hours. In such conditions, it is almost impossible for tomatoes to burn, and after the first portion, the process can be started in automatic mode, without controlling it and without worrying about the result.
How to dry tomatoes in the sun
The best and most delicious sun-dried tomatoes are obtained from exposure to the sun, but this method is long in time and is suitable only for southern regions with an abundance of hot and sunny days. If the weather forecast promises for the next week the temperature is not lower than + 32-34 ° C, then you can try.
You will need pallets or trays that are covered with paper. The already habitually processed quarters or halves of tomatoes are laid out on them. In this case, it is advisable to remove the pulp.
Important! It is imperative to use salt with this drying option, otherwise the tomatoes may become moldy!
Place the pallets with tomatoes in the sun, be sure to cover the top with gauze from insects. In the evening, before sunset, the pallets are removed to a room or greenhouse to maintain the temperature regime. In the morning, they are again placed in the same place. During the day, it is advisable to turn the tomatoes at least once, but you can not do this.
Tomatoes can be ready in 6-8 days and are best stored in regular paper or tissue bags and in glass or clay containers with lids.
In the presence of a greenhouse and free space in it, the drying process is somewhat simplified, since the tomatoes can not be brought into the room at night, but only close all the doors and vents.
Recipe for sun-dried tomatoes in oil
An interesting taste is obtained in the finished dish if the tomatoes are lightly marinated in an oil solution before drying.
- 0.5 kg of tomatoes;
- a few tablespoons of olive oil;
- sprigs of fresh basil, rosemary and thyme;
- salt, sugar, pepper to taste.
The tomatoes are washed by scalding them with boiling water, the peels are removed from them and cut into halves, while removing the seeds with excess juice from the middle.
The tomatoes are transferred to a bowl, adding oil, herbs and spices. In this form, they are kept for about an hour. Then they are laid out on a baking sheet, on baking paper, and the remaining herbs are placed on top.
The oven is turned on at 180 ° C for 20–30 minutes, then the temperature is lowered to 90–100 ° C, and the tomatoes are left with the door ajar for several hours. After 4 hours of drying, all moisture has usually evaporated. If you want softer fruits, you can reduce the drying time.
Sun-dried tomatoes with basil for the winter
There is also an option not just soaking, but cooking sun-dried tomatoes in oil. This recipe is hardly traditional and will require a significant amount of oil. The tomatoes are prepared in the usual way and are placed side by side in a high-sided baking sheet.
- Take a bunch of fresh basil (it is better to use a mixture of several varieties), three cloves of garlic and peppercorns.
- Before cooking, chop everything thoroughly, mix and sprinkle the tomatoes with the mixture.
- At the end, pour the vegetables with olive (or other) oil so that they are covered by ¾.
- The oven heats up to 180-190 ° C and the baking sheet is placed in it for 3-4 hours.
- If the oil level decreases, then it must be gradually added.
After spreading the slices of tomatoes in sterile jars, pour over the same oil and roll up. This snack can be stored all winter without a refrigerator.
Recipe for sun-dried tomatoes with garlic and spices
Prepare the tomatoes for drying in the usual way and mix separately a variety of spices, peppers, salt and sugar. Cut 3-4 garlic cloves into thin slices across.
Put a piece of garlic in each half of the tomatoes and cover with the spice mixture. Arrange the vegetables quite tightly on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 90-110 ° C for 3-4 hours.
To save finished tomatoes for the winter, you can apply the following recipe. Prepare small jars, with a volume of 300 to 700 g. Sterilize them, put a few peas of black and white pepper, mustard, rosemary sprigs on the bottom and fill them tightly with dried tomatoes, sprinkling them with additional spices if desired. At the last moment, pour in heated, but not brought to a boil, oil and seal the jars.
Sun-dried tomatoes with balsamic vinegar
So that your billet with sun-dried tomatoes in oil can be stored under normal room conditions and acquired additional piquant taste, you can use balsamic vinegar when pouring. Its taste goes well with tomatoes and herbs.
A 0.7 liter jar will need about two tablespoons of it. After all the finished tomatoes with spices are tightly packed in the jars, pour balsamic vinegar on top, and fill the remaining space with oil.
Attention! If you use fresh aromatic herbs, then it is better to pre-pour them with oil and insist in it all the time while the tomatoes are drying.
15–20 minutes before the tomatoes are finished drying, the herbal oil can be placed in the oven (at about 100 ° C) to warm up. In this case, your billet with sun-dried tomatoes in oil will be stored even without a refrigerator. Keep in mind that 5 kg of fresh tomatoes will usually yield one 700 g jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil.
Dishes with sun-dried tomatoes: recipes with photos
The most common dishes with sun-dried tomatoes are various pastas and salads.
Sun-dried tomato pasta recipe
For 200 g of boiled spaghetti (paste), take 50 g of sun-dried tomatoes, a clove of garlic, 2 young onions with herbs, 50 g of Adyghe cheese, a sprig of parsley, salt, black pepper to taste and a little olive oil.
Boil the spaghetti, at the same time heat the oil in a pan, add chopped garlic and sun-dried tomatoes to it, then onions and cheese. Fry for a few minutes, add parsley and boiled spaghetti at the end. Stir for a few minutes, decorate with a sprig of herbs.
Avocado salad with sun-dried tomatoes
To prepare this tasty and healthy dish, take 150 g each of lettuce leaves (arugula, lettuce) and sun-dried tomatoes, 1 avocado, half a lemon, 60 g of cheese and spices of your choice.
Put lettuce leaves on the dish, add diced avocado, pieces of sun-dried tomatoes divided into parts. Sprinkle all this with spices and cheese, sprinkle with lemon juice and oil, in which the tomatoes were stored.
How to store sun-dried tomatoes at home
Naturally sun-dried tomatoes are best stored dry in fabric bags in a cool place. In the same way, tomatoes are well stored, dried to an almost fragile state using other kitchen units. You can use glass jars with vacuum lids for storage.
A popular method is to preserve sun-dried tomatoes in oil. It was described in detail above. If the oil has been pre-heated well, then the workpiece can be stored without a refrigerator. If you use fresh garlic and fresh herbs, then it would be better to play it safe and keep the jars of sun-dried tomatoes in the refrigerator or cellar.
For use in dishes, it is easiest to leave sun-dried tomatoes soak in water overnight.
Sun-dried tomatoes are just gaining in popularity. Perhaps, over time, this dish will turn into the No. 1 preparation of tomatoes, since it combines a delicious taste and versatility of use, and also retains all the useful properties of vegetables.