A tomato is actually a fruit, but is normally used as a vegetable. It is used in many recipes and salads. However, it's not always feasible to use it in its original form while cooking. Sometimes, you may not want its juice, yet will require its aromatic, tangy taste. In such situations, it is a good idea to go for dried tomatoes. Tomatoes that are dried have the same taste and flavor as fresh ones, and are also easy to store. These are available in ready-made form in any supermarket, but you can also dry them at home according to the exact quantity you want.
Tomato-drying is a simple procedure, which doesn't require any expert knowledge. You can purchase the variety of your choice, but most people go for Roma or cherry tomatoes. Tomatoes can be dried by either traditional or modern means, as per your convenience.
Drying and Storing Tomatoes in Oil
One method of drying tomatoes is by sun-baking them. To do this, first slice the tomatoes. Then, remove their skin. You can also do this after they have been dried. Let the juice dribble and then let them dry under the sun for a few days or at least a week. You will know that they have dried by observing their texture. After this, they can be stored in bottles of olive oil along with a tinge of ginger paste or vinegar. They will stay well-preserved and usable for many months.
Another unconventional method of removing water content from tomatoes, is to dehydrate them using a microwave or oven. Oven-dried tomatoes also have the same taste as sun-baked ones. To do this, preheat an oven-safe tray to 150 ºC for 5 hours. Cut the tomatoes into pieces, strain the juice, and add salt to the slices. Place them on the tray, inside the oven, and let them bake for approximately 2 hours. Keep a check on them from time to time.
Once this process is done, soak the pieces in olive oil for 2 hours. Take them out when they are completely drenched in the oil, and add any herb of your liking to them (chives, basil, or parsley). Make sure that the quantity of these herbs is 1/10 of the number of slices used. To store these slices in a bottle of oil, add natural food preservatives like vinegar or citric acid to it.
Whenever you wish to eat these tomatoes or use them in a meal, you can rehydrate them by soaking the pieces in a bowl of water for an hour. They can be used in many cuisines like Mexican or Chinese. You can also use them to make Italian meals like a tomato pizza or tomato-rich pasta.