Necessity and oven-dried action
I was inspired to make oven-dried tomatoes mainly because I was unable to find any that weren’t packed in oil (slimy, unhealthy things). Washing the oil away really didn’t work either. It was the same motivation that led me to make my own tahini. What surprised me about oven-dried tomatoes was the unbelievable difference in the taste. When you dehydrate anything, you can look forward to an intensity of flavor. It just didn’t occur to me how wonderfully sweet and delicious tomatoes would be. They changed the flavor profile of my pizza sauce to the extent that there was no need for added sweetener. The difference in taste is worth all the oven time. And it’s a definite bonus as to how easy the process is.
Many paths, same destination
My tiny kitchen is already packed to the brim, so there is no way I’d get even a small dehydrator in there. I’ve already got gadgets stuffed in closets, in corners and under beds. So, when I decided to make my own dried tomatoes, I looked to my oven as a solution. It worked brilliantly. I started the oven at a higher heat for the first hour (2750F/1400C) just to get things moving and then slipped it down to 1760F/800C for the remaining 3 hours or so. I did this at night, so after my tomatoes were looking suitably dehydrated, I just cut the heat and left them in the oven overnight.
The tomato brigades
I’ve experimented with several kinds of tomatoes for drying. Smaller cherry tomatoes (we call them salad tomatoes), will dry faster, but they can shrink down to nothing. Full-sized often don’t have the intensity of flavor you might be looking for (and will take forever), so I settled on a happy medium using Tasty Toms. I find these Dutch tomatoes sweeter and much more appealing than cherry tomatoes. If you have your own favorite tomato, this might be the place to let it show off. My advice is to look for smaller tomatoes but avoid the tiny ones. Tiny, fresh tomatoes can look quite sad once they’ve been dehydrated.
Wasserbomben be gone
I sometimes complain about the lack of variety in Dutch supermarkets, but never when it comes to tomatoes. That gave a lot of room for experimenting. Once regarded as ‘wasserbomben’ (waterbombs) by our German neighbors, Dutch tomatoes were considered tasteless and undesirable. I suppose they could have been useful in Valencia for the tomato festival , but otherwise, the tomato market was looking on the low side. Enter the great Dutch tomato renaissance. Great tomatoes are back on the menu in a big way.
The mother of innovation
Necessity lead me to oven-dried tomatoes. It’s also sparked tomato innovation in The Netherlands, Tomatoes are back on the menu and even succeeded in disrupting the US market. So, it you can get your hands on Tasty Toms, go for it.
Thanks Julia Child
If you aren’t familiar with Herbs de Province, here’s your opportunity to get familiar with this traditional spice blend from southern France. My blend contains savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and a few other herbs, but there are loads of others out there. You can also make it yourself.
I have a relatively short history with Herbs de Province, but I do remember seeing the Julia Child cooking show on PBS many years ago when she talked about it. I learned later that she’s the person who helped popularize it. Thanks, lady.
Demand creates supply
Herbs de Province wasn’t commercialized (or popularized) until the 70’s. That’s my excuse for not taking it in my arms or spice rack until recently. Now, I use it for soups, stews and other veggie dishes. It also makes a nice blend for simmering tempeh. Grab a jar. Herbs de Province also works great for sun-dried tomatoes, although you could go with an Italian spice blend if you are so inclined.
My foray into tomatoes in Holland and French Herbs de Province has me thinking about the evolution of food. Local spice blends, popularized by a famous chef suddenly appear on every shelf. A slowing crop demand sparks mindful innovation. With so many dark sides to agri-business, we can forget that we consumers are ultimately directing traffic. Enough demand, generates supply. If there’s no supply, make your own in the meantime.
If we only ask for the cheapest food no matter how the produced, that’s what we’ll get. But if we reframe the conversation and show intent with our pocketbooks, we have the capacity to create change. Besides, what would you rather have? 6 Wasserbomben or 1 delicious tomato? I know, it depends on what you want them for you tomato-throwers, you. Mindful consumption. Peace.Print
Oven-dried tomatoes are easy to make right in the oven and add intense flavor to all your favorite dishes.
- 10 small-medium tomatoes (this will yield 1 cup dried).
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. Herbs de Province.
- Wash and halve the tomatoes and remove the brown ends.
- Lay the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and sprinkle each piece with Herbs de Province.
- Dry the tomatoes in the oven. Start at 2750F (1400C) for one hour, lower the heat to 1760F (800C) and continue to dry for another 3 hours until your tomatoes are about half their original size and are a dark red.
- Place a few whole garlic cloves on your baking tray with your tomatoes. They add a great flavor when you puree them.
- Store your tomatoes in the fridge for up to 1 week and then pop any leftovers in the freezer.
- Category: Dressings & Condiments
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Plant-based
Keywords: oven-dried tomatoes