""Italian style"" dried tomatoes are very much in vogue. It has to be said: they are delicious and are real concentrates of flavour to put into your recipes. You don´t need an aging aunt in Calabria to have a feast: make them yourself!
Italian style dried tomatoes are very fashionable. It has to be said that they are delicious and they are real concentrates of flavour to add to our recipes. You don´t have to have an aging aunt in Calabria to enjoy the feast: make them yourself!
In Italy, and particularly in the south, drying tomatoes is the traditional preservation method. Unlimited sunshine, dry air and a slight breeze are the ideal conditions that we don´t always have at home. Thankfully there are other solutions.
Drying in the sun
Ideally, you will use baskets. Simple woven frames that can be placed high up on trestles are perfect for the job. For small quantities, you can use crates or better still, drying trays for fresh pasta. What is essential is to encourage the air to circulate. Cut your washed tomatoes, remove most of the pips and place them, cut side up, on your baskets. In direct sunlight, if possible in a well-aired spot, your tomatoes will soon lose their water content. Keep an eye on them. To avoid them becoming damaged, you will want to move them around regularly and avoid them touching each other. At night, under normal weather circumstances, you should bring them indoors because the morning dew will ruin everything. Protect the tomatoes with a mosquito net and leave them in a draught if you can.
In a drier
This is by far the best solution. The weather conditions do not matter in a drier and your tomatoes will dry without any problem. Place them on the drays, cut side up and switch it on. The only precaution to take is regarding the temperature. The goal is not to cook your tomatoes in hot air, but to dry them while preserving the flavours of fresh fruit. At low temperatures, dehydration preserves vitamins better than any other traditional means of preservation. Stay below 50°C.
When to stop drying
Italian style tomatoes should remain supple. At this stage, the taste is already quite powerful but the tomato still contains too much water to keep for long