Thursday, August 28, 2014

More Garden Goodness - Sun Dried Tomatoes, My Way

So, do you have a dehydrator? If you don't, you need one. I have this small one and it is awesome. So many things you can do and I've barely scratched the surface.
One of my favorite things to make with mine is sun dried tomatoes. Years ago when I started gardening and planted my first cherry tomato plants I realized I had more tomatoes than could be eaten. So I searched online for ways to preserve them. My first attempts were in the oven with salt and oil poured on. They were alright, but what a mess and the time, not to mention running the oven all day long in summer. Yuck. So I tried them with the dehydrator and fell in love. Basically I slice my tomatoes in half and layer them cut side up in my dehydrator. Plug it in and let them sit all night long.
 Now to clarify, I don't dehydrate my tomatoes to a crisp. I like them a little chewy. Seriously I can eat them like candy. So when I take them out they are still a little squishy, but by no means runny.
 Once in a while I throw in a layer of chili peppers from the garden. These will be ground up for chili pepper. When I am dehydrating these guys it goes to the garage. Peppers can be a little hard to breath in.
 Now because my tomatoes are not completely dried out I can't just store them in bags in the pantry. They would end up molding. So I separate them out in portion bags and vacuum seal them and throw them in the freezer.
  These tomatoes are awesome in pastas, salads and I like to use them on veggie pizza rather than the ripe ones.
 As shown in the photo above I've been getting a lot of different produce canned lately. Tomato halves, tomato paste, banana peppers, pickles etc. And the other day I made a batch of spaghetti sauce, ohhh yum.
I also had my first canning accident. Whilst stirring my spaghetti sauce some bubbled up and melted the skin right off my arm. Ouch. I'm a little more careful with my stirs now.


Lisa in Texas said...

Yum! I am impressed with all your hard work but I know come winter you will be glad you did it!

Heather Hall said...

Some days I think I'm crazy for all of this work I'm putting myself through, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it. Thanks Lisa!