Well, I knew this day was coming. I even had to scrape the frost off my windshield the other morning. Even though I don’t really believe the weather reports “claiming” we’ll get down to the mid-30’s this week, I figure I’d better be prepared. Most years I cover the tomatoes with plastic to keep the rain from splitting the fruit as they ripen, this year we’re getting right into the frosty weather.
Under the plastic we have six tomato plants, two pepper plants and a lemon grass. It’ll all be worth is if we can get at least ONE MORE ripe tomato.
As you can see, I didn’t cover the roma or cherry tomatoes since they’re too wild to enclose. These guys ripen a lot easier anyway.
Hiding Tomatoes From the Frost
I’ll let you know if it works. I may end up making green tomato jam instead.
Just recently I heard about drying tomatoes in the oven and when looking for a recipe to borrow, I found that everyone does it different. Most people skin the tomatoes first and cook at a really low temperature (200°) for many, many hours. This is for patient people – not for me.
I got a recipe from my friend & co-worker Barb and found it was perfect for me with a couple slight modifications. To start, I LEFT THE SKINS ON. After making BBQ sauce a couple weeks ago, I will never remove tomato skins again.
As you can see by the picture, I cut the larger tomatoes into chunks, cut smaller ones in half and left the cherry tomatoes whole.
I drizzled olive oil over the tomatoes and made sure the surface of the pan was covered as well. Then sprinkled with a little course ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Since I left the skins on, I made sure the skin side was down when possible. Then placed the pan in the cold oven.
Next, I turned the oven to 450° and waited until the oven was preheated. This caused a real stink in my house – literally. It got pretty smokey, so if you’re like me and don’t clean your oven, you’ve been warned.
Once your oven is preheated, turn it down to 325° for about an hour and a half. Since I like mine a little softer, I turned it down to 200° for another hour and a half (three hours total). If you like them crispy, keep it at 325° for a full two-three hours. During the last hour, I checked the tomatoes often and pulled the smaller pieces off as they were crispy and dark.
You can tell when they’re done based on if they’re crispy, dark and taste wonderful. When mine were done, I put them on a cooling rack for about an hour and then put whatever I didn’t eat in the freezer.
I love how the dried tomatoes tasted sweet, zippy and then spicy. I wasn’t expecting that. Even though I put mine in the freezer, some folks put theirs in olive oil and store in the fridge (they do spoil faster this way).
Thanks Barb for the great recipe!
— Posted from the road