Tag Archives: sun-dried tomatoes

TOMATO FACTORY

I’m still dehydrating tomatoes. It is really humid here, so it takes longer to make the “sundried tomatoes”. I hope I can make a few more 2 gallon bags of them before I have to give up and make “flakes”, by food-processing tomatoes to pulp and dehydrating the “sauce”. That is always the last step, but, with this humidity, I fear it may come sooner than I had hoped.
I’m off to slice more tomatoes now!

Meanwhile, I am enjoying delicious tomato juice every morning!

NIBBLES – what I did with the leftovers

Last night, I made spaghetti with zucchini pasta and a tomato/onion/red bell pepper/almond sauce. My sauce came out thick, but I like it that way.

After dinner, I looked at the leftover sauce and just knew I was not oing to eat it this week.  I had a leftover zucchini so I sliced it on the mandonline and then put a spoonful of sauce on each slice and everything in the dehydrator overnight.  This morning, I was amazed at how small the zucchini slices had shrunk, but I was very pleased with the taste of these little bites. My room-mate says they taste like pizza.  Next time, though, I am going to slice the zucchini thicker.

WHAT TO DO WITH LOTS OF TOMATOES – my tomato shares are coming soon

If you haven’t seen what I did last year with my two (surprise) shares, please check out the post from 9/2/07:
https://prettysmartrawfoodideas.wordpress.com/2007/09/02/buried-in-tomatoes/

I’m readier this year. I actually paid for two shares this time, on purpose.

Here is my information, based on judicious research as well as my experience and final action last year.

HOW TO MAKE SUN DRIED TOMATOES FROM FRESH TOMATOES

SELECT TOMATOES

  • The best tomatoes for dehydrating are Roma tomatoes (small oval-ish tomatoes). Romas are thicker, meatier, have fewer sides, and are less watery than other kinds of tomatoes.
  • Avoid mushy, soft, bruised, and rotten tomatoes.


TO PREPARE FOR DEHYDRATING

  • Remove any bruises or soft parts, as well as cores/stem parts (usually yellowish or greenish).
  • Halve or quarter tomatoes lengthwise, or thickly slice horizontally.   (Although dehydrated tomato pieces normally shrink to 1/4 of the original size, keep in mind that, the larger the pieces, the longer it will take to finish dehydrating them.)

DEHYDRATING

  • Place tomato slices evenly on dehydrator trays as close as possible without touching (remember that the end-product will be 1/4 the original size).  If desired, sprinkle with salt or herbs of choice.
  • Set dehydrator for 140 degrees for 1 hr.
  • After one hour, reduce temperature to 125 or 115 degrees (depending on which guru you believe — I do mine at 125 degrees)
  • Dehydrate until done – regardless of the kind of dehydrator you use (I recommend the Excalibur — mine is a 5-tray model which lets me easily check the progress of whatever I am dehydrating, and is easy to and fast to load and unload), this will depend on where you are and what kind of humidity there is.
  • When the tomatoes are properly dehydrated, they will be flexible, or leathery, like raisins.  They should be deep red in color, and not be tacky to the touch.
  • Cool the dehydrated tomatoes to room temperature (20 or 30 mins.), then place in zipper bags, leaving some small space for expansion.  Squeeze out as much air as possible when closing the bags.  (A vacuum sealer is ideal, and will prevent spoilage and retain flavor best, but judicious squeezing out of the air will do.)  Make sure any storage containers are completely airtight, as dehydrated tomatoes readily absorb moisture, and can quickly become moldy.
  • Store bagged dehydrated tomatoes in the freezer or in a cool, dry place.
  • Frozen dehydrated tomatoes will last for  9 – 12 mos.
  • Check packs of dehydrated tomatoes frequently for signs of moisture condensation for a week or so. At the first sign of moisture, put the tomatoes into the dehydrator and re-dry them


PACKING IN OILS
If you want dried tomatoes in oil, it is advisable to wait until just before you are ready to use them, and then refrigerate them only for a short time.
Place dried tomatoes in a jar with a good seal/top, leaving about 1 in. of space at the top, for expansion.  Pour in extra virgin olive oil to cover tomatoes and fill jar.  Check after 8 hours or so to see if you need to add more olive oil.

VARIATION:
If you wish to add herbs to oil-packed dried tomatoes, “layer” them in as you add the tomatoes, then add the oil.

ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES

I guess I have another good reason to eat organic, what with the salmonella scare over commercially farmed tomatoes.  I understand that smaller, organic farms are not affected… anyway, I still have a lot of my home-dehydrated organic “sun-dried” tomatoes, so I will just eat those for a while, just in case..

11/01/07 CSA SHARE: the reality

csa-share-2-11-01-07.jpgThis farmer obviously thinks I need lettuce. He substitutes all sorts of things, but he never substitutes anything for the lettuce. Fortunately, as I think I may have mentioned before, I have discovered that you can dehydrate lettuce, and, last night, I dehydrated 3 heads of lettuce which had survived the two weeks that I was away (I guess my room-mate doesn’t like that much lettuce either — she neatly disappeared all of the other vegetables, but the lettuce lay there, waiting for me)

 Here you have what they said I would get vs what I got

Radicchio…………………1 head         2 small eggplants
Broccoli……………………2 heads      1 head
Carrots……………………1 bunch
Toscano Kale…………….1 bunch
Purple Top Turnips……..1 bunch……….1 huge turnip
Red Oakleaf Lettuce……1 head
Scallions…………………1 bunch
Arugula………………….1 bunch
Green Boston Lettuce…..1 head

I know that I can make all of this food disappear this week.  Between the lettuce dehydration, my new smoothie expertise, and my juicing skills, it might be gone by the weekend.

I do like that Boston lettuce, though…. now this seems funny to me– earlier in the season, we got the same thing, but that time it was called butter lettuce.  Boston/butter lettuce is so soft that you can wrap up things in it very easily. I might make some wraps with it tonight, using the leftovers from last night (I made a quick and easy almond pate with some soaked almonds, a handful of the summer’s dried tomatoes, a sprinkling of the dried leeks–they turned out to be quite spicy–, and some herbs, and some kale.)

DINNER TONIGHT

DINNER TONIGHT

Sorry no specific recipes. I just looked at what I had from the CSA tonight, and what I had left over from last week, with some almonds and dehydrated tomato slices (thanks to the 40 lbs of tomatoes last month!) I had on hand.

I chose:
red kale
several turnip leaves
an onion
a red bell pepper
two Roma tomatoes
1 med. small turnip
1 beet
arugula leaves
1 red lettuce leaf
1/4 clove garlic
@ 1 tomato worth of dried tomato slices, soaked
some almonds
Thai curry paste
sea salt
apple cider vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

I made massaged greens salad with the kale and turnip leaves (see recipe in recipes section), 1/4 onion, all sliced very thin, 1/4 bell pepper minced, a squirt of Thai green curry paste, a sprinkle of sea salt, and a dash of olive oil (extra virgin, of course).

I made a pate with @ 1-1/2 C almonds, 2 Roma tomatoes, the dried tomato slices, 3/4 red bell pepper, 1/2 onion, 1/4 clove garlic, all ground fine in the food processor.

I made a beet/turnip/onion salad with the turnip, the beet, 1/4 onion, and @1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. I processed everything fine in the food processor, to the consistency of apple sauce.

Because my room-mate is a foodie, and cares about presentation, I placed the greens neatly on the plate, put three arugula leaves on the plate and flattened two balls of the pate on top of them, and then put 1/2 of the red lettuce leaf on the plate and arranged an interesting drizzle of the beet/turnip/onion salad in the shape of the leaf. She ended up wrapping the pate in the arugula leaves, and the beet/turnip/onion salad in the lettuce. (I ended up copying her wraps, and I wrapped the greens with the pate)

You know… I did not stop to think about food combining tonight. I absolutely did not think about 80/10/10 (because I never do). I know I need some fat and protein, so there were the almonds and the oil (I did consciously think about that). This was a totally “intuitive” meal.


I feel okay, and I am really happy that I had a delicious meal. I do not feel any ill effects, and I am going to save the leftovers and eat them tomorrow at work. I really do not even feel that I need to be giving excuses, although I am, simply so you will not go saying “Oh, but you should have….” Let’s put it this way. I ate a good healthy meal. My body is happy, and I am not having any rash break-outs (that is how my body reacts to wrong eating).
I am full, and I am looking forward to tomorrow, not to the next thing to eat.