Earlier this summer I experimented with drying cherry tomatoes on trays in the car – I figured that if it was hot enough to weld the back of my legs to the seat when I got in to the car – it was worth a shot. I had success with them – having sprinkled them with a little salt before I started, but you have to keep a close eye on them to ensure they do not get any mould – due to a lack of airflow. Mine were fine because they were tiny and I had been pre-warned about this problem- so I kept a close eye on them.
It’s a pain in the butt when you go to the car in a rush to get out and remember you left a couple of trays of tomatoes in there so I begged someone special to make me a food dryer.
Two old windows, four hinges, a simple box made from old plinth & skirting boards, some unused mesh from an unwanted fly screen (bad purchase) later….and we had a food dryer. A hole was cut out at either end of the box, to allow for air flow and the box positioned in the sun at a slight angle – the idea is that air is drawn up through the box and out the top, keeping the food fresh whilst it is in the process of drying. The tomatoes sit on a mesh screen, to allow for air flow all around them and the box is totally critter proof.
The first batch you can see above took just three days to dry!
Once your tomatoes are dried out, they can be frozen and used in dishes and salads when you need them. Take them out of the freezer and place them in a jar of olive oil for use in salads etc, as and when you want to taste that summer sunshine again.
You can of course make your own version of sun dried tomatoes by placing them in the oven on a very low heat for several hours until done. But that’s just cheating right?!!