Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Back to February

2 February 2014
The first week of February this year was very very hot.  From memory,  2 Feb was one of the exceptionally hot days, and it was the end for most of the tomato plants, but a really good day for sun-drying tomatoes.  I had quite a few roma tomatoes and I cut them into halves and laid them onto a biscuit tray from the oven…
 … I covered them with a cake cooling rack and checked them regularly for ants or bird interference.  It was too hot for any of that (even ants and birds don'go out in the really hot weather)  and I removed tomatoes as they were dry enough to be "leathery" and sun-dried looking.

Later in the day I found a piece of bird cage wire that is just perfect fot the purpose and the tomatoes dried very rapidly in the near 50C temperatures.

I checked them regularly and brought them inside as they reached the correct texture.   (I am sure that sun drying like this must have been the "usual" way to deal with excess tomatoes in the past rather than electric drying machines that one can buy.)  There were a few examples that took more than the single day, but most were ready during that day.

Once dried,  I packed the tomatoes into oil with herbs….
…. bit by bit… and I ended up with several jars of tomatoes packed with thyme and rosemary...
and these are the best dried tomatoes that I have ever tasted.  They were definitely "sun dried" and I will be trying some other vegetables next summer…. unless we don't have climate change and its 45-50C temperatures.

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