Rather than pay the high prices some grocery and specialty stores charge for those tiny jars of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, you can easily make your own.
I usually keep a small container of dried tomatoes with olive oil in the refrigerator to add to soups, sandwiches, and pasta*—the rest of the dried tomatoes go into a freezer bag to defrost and use as I need them.
Easy Oven “Sun-Dried” Tomatoes
Don’t worry too much about the quantities in the recipe. Adjust the amount of olive oil and the seasonings according to how many tomatoes you have and your taste preferences.
3 lbs. Roma or plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. basil, dried
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Cut the tops off the tomatoes with a paring knife and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and any remaining white core.
Place the tomatoes into a plastic bowl (or large Ziploc bag). Add the olive oil, garlic, and seasonings; toss to tomato halves to coat with the oil mixture.
Lay the tomatoes skin side up on a roasting rack placed over a cookie sheet (I actually use a nonstick cookie cooling rack—the grid design prevents the dried tomatoes from falling through.)
Cook for about 2 hrs., or until the tomatoes are wrinkled and dry (but not blackened). The baking time may vary, depending on the moisture content of the tomatoes—keep an eye on them after they’ve been in the oven for an hour or so because some pieces may dry faster than others may.
When the tomatoes are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool.
To freeze: Place a piece of plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and arrange the tomatoes in a single layer. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Stick in the freezer until the tomatoes are frozen. You can then put them in a freezer bag without the tomatoes sticking together.
*If you have a bread machine, try this recipe for Zesty Pesto Tomato Bread…even the teens liked it at our house!