Oven-Dried Tomatoes


30 Jul Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Oven-dried tomatoes - TheMessyBaker.com

Brain, meet Fingers. Fingers, meet Brain. I hope you two become best of friends. Pronto. Because if you don’t start working together really soon, I will be forced to give up this blog and move to a remote region of the world where there is no Internet access and only tinned soup for supper.

What did I do this time? Despite finding the recipe in the index, reading the instructions and looking at the photo, my fingers typed “oven-roasted” tomatoes when Grow Great Grub clearly gives readers the low down on “oven-dried” tomatoes. I’m tempted to quietly correct this error and distract you with ice cream. But having asked you to vote and promising to post the results, I think you’d notice. Especially since the one recipe whose title I botched turned out to be the winner.

So, for those of you who were looking forward to oven-roasted tomatoes, here’s a refresher on how to roast vegetables. For the tomato version, I’d add chopped fresh basil, some crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. When done, top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And for those who intuitively knew what I meant, here is the recipe for oven-dried tomatoes. They’re different, but just as good. And last longer.

The Roasted Zucchini Dip (triple checked the title) will still be in the newsletter. Sign up, if you dare.

In the meantime, how do you use dried tomatoes?

Oven dried tomatoes - TheMessyBaker.com

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
Recipe type: Preserves
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5
  • 10 plum tomatoes*, halved
  • sea salt
  • dried thyme, oregano or marjoram
  • garlic cloves, optional
  • approximately 2 cups olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to the lowest heat setting (150 - 200 F). The goal here is to dry the tomatoes slowly but surely.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange tomatoes on top, cut side up. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  3. Bake the tomatoes until the edges have shriveled and the insides are still slightly moist but not juicy. Timing depends on the size of tomato; the drying time will take anywhere between 2 and 8 hours.
  4. Set the pan aside until completely cool and then transfer the tomatoes to a clean and sterilized jar. Add a few sprigs of dry herbs and a clove of garlic, if using, to the jar. Pour in olive oil, thoroughly covering the tomatoes to preserve them. (See note for alternative, no-oil method.)
  5. Store in the fridge for 4 - 6 weeks. Use up the remaining olive oil in dishes that can benefit from the savory tomato flavour.
* Dry grape and cherry tomatoes whole. Chop plum tomatoes in half. Cut large tomatoes into ½"-thick slices.

My note: Instead of packing the oven-dried tomatoes in oil, I put them in resealable freezer bags and froze them. They keep this way for up to a year.

This recipe is published with permission from Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trails ( Published by Clarkson Potter, 2010)

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  • Cheryl
    Posted at 12:58h, 30 July Reply

    Delicious, delicious, delicious. Who cares if they’re dried or roasted? They taste fabulous either way, as the sweetness and tomatoey flavor really concentrates. Dana McCauley even taught me last year that the roasted ones freeze well, and I enjoyed mine all winter long. This year, I’ll make roasted AND dried. Take THAT!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:48h, 31 July Reply

      Thanks so much for passing on Dana’s wisdom and vouching for its success. In addition to dried tomatoes, I think I’ll freeze some roasted tomatoes this fall so I have a variety to choose from when the endless, bleak Canadian winter hits.

      Or I could just join you in sunny California.

  • debbie
    Posted at 16:18h, 30 July Reply

    Must be something in the air–I blogged about oven-dried tomatoes today, too (though I called them slow-roasted). So did Simple Bites. Delicious roasted/dried tomatoes everywhere!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:45h, 31 July Reply

      ‘Tis the season. Sometimes these things cycle. And really, can you have too many roasted/dried tomatoes? I think not!

      Love the term slow-roasted, by the way.

  • Teresa Fontinato
    Posted at 19:55h, 30 July Reply

    Mine don’t last long enough to store in a jar! I make a sandwich with them with goat cheese and fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of EVOO, salt a fresh ground pepper of course. Oh and a bottle of white. I’m salivating now….

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:44h, 31 July Reply

      Sounds wonderful, Teresa! I ended up using half of mine last night in a chicken dish. The flavour was amazing.

      I’ll have to make some more when my tomato crop comes in.

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 23:26h, 30 July Reply

    Even I could do this, and they sound so yummy!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:42h, 31 July Reply

      I can’t believe how easy they are to make. Slice, shove in oven, go about your own business and viola — expensive dried tomatoes for next to nothing!

      I bet even Andrew couldn’t burn these.

  • Cheryl W.
    Posted at 20:40h, 31 July Reply

    I love oven dried tomatoes. I make a number of things with mine. I make a delicious oven dried tomatoe with mozzarella cheese wrapped in pancetta appetizer, homemade dried tomato/carmelized onion/ 5 cheese personal sized pizza and gnocchi with oven dried tomato and basil pesto sauce. Yum.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:14h, 01 August Reply

      @Cheryl W., drool. Love the caramelized onion idea. I’m now craving pizza.

  • Maggie
    Posted at 21:11h, 31 July Reply

    Is there a way to store these lovely morsels without packing them in oil? I would love to put some away for winter.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:19h, 01 August Reply

      @Maggie, Cheryl suggest freezing them. I checked a couple of sources and you can freeze the roasted tomatoes without added oil. They should keep for up to 6 months this way. That should get you through the winter.

  • Andrew Thomson
    Posted at 12:44h, 01 August Reply

    Hey! I would point out that of the things set on fire in the new kitchen I have been responsible for none.

  • Pam @ best cookware guide
    Posted at 01:04h, 04 August Reply

    You have simplified the process to make it easy for anyone, including myself to make oven dried tomatoes at home. I agree store bought are either too stiff, pricy and too oily. Thanks for sharing.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:23h, 10 August Reply

      @Pam @ best cookware guide, I couldn’t believe how simple these were either. The only draw back is they take up the oven for the better part of the day. Fortunately, we have a BBQ so dinner wasn’t an issue.

  • Heidi
    Posted at 14:40h, 08 August Reply

    Question, which probably has an obvious answer: I should remove the seeds from the tomatoes, correct? How about if I am roasting them with the quick method linked? Do I need to flip them like other veggies? Thanks!!!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:07h, 08 August Reply

      It’s not as obvious as you’d think. I have made the oven-dried tomatoes twice this week (ate the first batch in two days) and I left the seeds in both times. The seeds in plum tomatoes aren’t a big deal. Plum tomatoes are also fairly small so they will dry out. I tried one beefsteak just out of curiosity and it didn’t dry at all.

      With both roasted and oven-dried tomatoes, I don’t flip them because they’re so juicy and could get very messy. Instead, I cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them cut side up on a rimmed sheet. This way the skin catches the juice. Make sense?

      Hope you enjoy your tomatoes. I’m going to be drying a bunch more this fall since they’re so flavourful.

      • Heidi
        Posted at 00:20h, 09 August Reply

        @Charmian Christie,
        I tried the roasted version tonight: sliced up some Early Girl, Garden Peach, and San Marzano tomatoes with EVOO, S, P, garlic and sweet basil. They were delicious! Thanks!

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 22:07h, 09 August Reply

          Sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know your results.

          Be warned, you might become addicted.

  • A Teenage Gourmet
    Posted at 17:47h, 09 August Reply

    I started these at 8:50 this morning, and they still are finished! [It’s 5:50 now] An hour ago, I increased the temperature to 250 degrees. They’re taking forever, but they’re looking good!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 22:06h, 09 August Reply

      Mine took about 6 hours. Small plum tomatoes work best. If they’re thicker than an inch, you could have issues.

      Also, if you have a convection function on your oven, you might want to try that to speed things up. I used convection on my second batch and managed to dry three pans at once.

      Good luck and I hope you enjoy the results.

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 16:42h, 10 August Reply

    I actually oven roast tomatoes all. the. time. In fact, a quick cherry tomato and pesto blend, roasted for 20 minutes or so is one of my fav quick-y pasta sauces.

    My hubby has a brilliant use for dried tomatoes though. He cuts them up into little bits and uses them instead of bacon on a Caesar style salad he sometimes makes. Really yummy and company friendly if veggies or jewish pals are on the guest list.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:04h, 12 August Reply

      @Dana McCauley, your husband is brilliant (as are you). This is a great alternative to bacon for salad. I’m definitely going to try this dried tomato trick.

      And I love the cherry tomato/pesto idea for pastas. Thanks so much for sharing these!

  • Teresa Fontinato
    Posted at 00:37h, 14 August Reply

    After all this talk of tomatoes, I just had to make a big batch! The apples of love were quite large, so I cut them in quarters. They were divine. I served them up as a side dish and made a sandwich with the remainder. Even if I made a bushel, I don’t think they’d last long!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:59h, 24 August Reply

      @Teresa Fontinato, I’m going to buy a bushel of tomatoes to do just this myself. Glad you liked the results!

  • Alyssa McPherson
    Posted at 18:00h, 28 August Reply

    Hi there,

    When I put my oven-dried tomatoes in the fridge in olive oil the olive oil goes solid. I know this is normal, but how long before I want to use them do I need to take them out of the fridge?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:52h, 29 August Reply

      @Alyssa McPherson, a lot depends on how many you’re going to use. The more surface area exposed, the faster they come to room temperature, so I’d take out as many tomatoes as you need and place them on a rimmed plate (to catch the oil). If the tomatoes are in a single layer, they should be ready to use in about 10 minutes.

      Hope this helps and that you enjoy your oven-dried tomatoes.

      • Alyssa McPherson
        Posted at 12:22h, 29 August Reply

        @Charmian Christie, The main problem that I have is that the whole jar of oven-dried tomatoes in olive oil is pretty much “solid” so I can’t take any out. I have to sit the jar out so that it “thaws” every time I want to use some. Not a major problem, but I’m used to seeing them in a jar at room temp and mine in the fridge just don’t look like this.

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 13:07h, 29 August Reply

          @Alyssa McPherson, I see your issue now. Not sure if this is an option for you, but the next time they “thaw”, could you transfer them to a few smaller jars? By now the oil would be infused with any garlic or herbs you added, so you wouldn’t be sacrificing flavour.

          Another option for next time is to skip the oil, put them in a ziplock bag and freeze them. You won’t get the herb/garlic infusion and there will be no oil for other purposes, but I find they’re handy this way for pasta sauce and pizza topping. This might not suit your purposes but it is handier.

          Oh, one other option, is to use another oil, like canola, which stays liquid in the fridge. It’s a very neutral oil. While you won’t get the added flavour of the olive oil, it won’t interfere with the garlic, herb and tomatoes.

  • Alyssa McPherson
    Posted at 19:23h, 29 August Reply

    All good ideas! Thank you :)

  • Barbara
    Posted at 10:50h, 07 September Reply

    The lowest setting on my oven is 170 degrees, so that’s what I used. I had medium sized roma tomatoes from my garden – they took 12 hours to dry to a moist stage.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:02h, 07 September Reply

      @Barbara, thanks for the feedback. My oven won’t go lower than 170F either. Mine dried faster than 12 hours but it seems everyone gets different results. You can increase the heat to 200F to speed things up without cooking them. Also, if you have a convection option, try that.

      Hope your results were worth the wait.

  • Peter
    Posted at 18:46h, 18 September Reply

    I would not recommend storing garlic in there unless you are going to eat within a week as garlic can develop Clostridium botulinum (botulism) in the anaerobic environment created by storing them under oil.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 19:47h, 19 September Reply

      @Peter, good point. The recipe is designed to be stored in the fridge, but mine haven’t lasted more than a few days, so bacteria isn’t an issue.

      However, I am in the habit of leaving garlic in my salad dressings. For weeks. Better remove them!

    • Sipa
      Posted at 14:22h, 04 October Reply

      @Peter, Thanks for pointing that out. I see this suggested all over the place without any regard to the Botulism issue. Restaurants are frequently guilty of this.

    • Betty
      Posted at 02:51h, 29 September Reply

      If the garlic is roasted first, each clove unpeeled, it is a wonderful and safe flavour addition to the dried tomatoes in oil, plus when you want to add a little roasted garlic to something, you just squish it out of its skin. It is wonderful to spread over fish before grilling, or mix with roast potatoes, or add to those chopped, dried tomatoes to spread on crostinis, etc. In fact, I keep a separate bottle of garlic cloves in the fridge, roasted in oil, then covered in oil and herbs (garlic confit).

      • Charmian Christie
        Posted at 14:32h, 30 September Reply

        Thanks for this. You’re making me hungry!

        I started freezing my oven roasted tomatoes and just love them. I roast them with garlic and basil and they’re great in pasta.

        Thanks again for sharing your trick!

        • Betty
          Posted at 01:28h, 02 October Reply

          I agree that the frozen, oven-roasted tomatoes are wonderful. I do the same, often adding peppers and, whether a base for a mixed vegie dish, or as a pasta sauce, they have become my favourite way of preserving tomatoes to enjoy in the long, cold winters. Thanks for the tip of preserving dried tomatoes in oil; I now have a jar of tiny, dried cherry tomato halves in a jar in the fridge and look forward to the appetizing treats they will make during the Thanksgiving weekend.

          • Charmian Christie
            Posted at 20:47h, 02 October

            Tomatoes must be one of the most versatile foods in the world. I can’t imagine cooking without them! Sounds like you’ll have plenty of variety to get through the winter.

            Thanks for sharing your ideas. Love adding peppers. Seems no end to the possibilities.

  • connie gunderson
    Posted at 12:49h, 14 August Reply

    Can I/should I use the convection setting for the oven temperature?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:07h, 14 August Reply

      You can certainly use the convection setting. Just set the oven as low as you can. Hope you like the results!

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