Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sun Dried Tomatoes


The lovely Sun Dried Tomatoes done on my very own terrace.

With this post I am starting a tomato fest here my inspiration is ofcourse the Jivha for tomatoes hosted by RP. There is so much to do with the healthy tomato. It is indispensible in my cooking and no one will believe this vegetable is not of Indian origin. In the old days tomato was considered taboo. It was called Masal Phal which literally means flesh fruit and was not offered to the Gods as naivedya.

When I am visiting family I like to carry some stuff that I just learnt to make just to surprise them. This time round I dried tomatoes. We depended on one or the other person to get back sundried tomatoes from trips to Europe and used them only for pizza made at home. These bought out ones are black in color. As I was planning to dry my own I decided I wanted the tomatoes to well look like tomatoes. Which meant to retain the color as much as possible. So it meant eliminating salt.

Here is how I went about my first stint with drying tomatoes which was hugely successful.

First read up a lot about drying tomatoes. Only to realize that it was a very simple but prolonged process. Ignorance washed off realized I have been paying a bomb for it at times.

Day 1:

Bought 2 kgs of fresh round tomatoes almost all of the same size. Yes the size has to be same so the drying is even.

Cut each tomato into four pieces. Experience taught me I could have quartered. I was fearing that tomatoes would not hold themselves if the pieces were smaller and that proved baseless.

Arranged the tomatoes in 2 huge aluminium trays.
Put them on the terrace for sun bathing right from 10 am to 6 pm.

Updated on 2nd April 07
After Nandita's response I can say that the tomatoes should not be piled up at any point of time. They have to be arranged in a single layer like in my pictures.

Also never leave out the trays in the open at night as dew or condenstaion may cause fungal growth over the tomatoes.

Day 2, 3, 4 :

Put the trays out in the sun for the same time. Finally I got lovely red colored sundried tomatoes on the fourth day. It could take a couple more days if you don't get too much sun unlike us down south in India.

Incase you like the salted ones just sprinkle generous amounts of salt on the diced tomatoes.





How to use them:

Soak them in minimum amounts of water to soften and then use in breads, savory muffins, pizza or even your regular dal when you are in a mood to give it a twist.

The unsalted ones are better as the water can be used for kneading the doughs. This imparts a slightly red tinge. Whereas if salted the water is usually discarded.

I would be sharing some recipes with sundried tomatoes in the upcoming posts.

Thank you RP and Indira for this event.

Other Recipes where Tomatoes rule:

16 comments:

  1. Hi Anjali,

    Wonderful entry for the entry.Actually from few days i want to buy sundried tomatoes for trying pizza at home...whenenver i take the can and look into price...I feel, do we have to pay this huge price for this???..In India we can do by our selves just within a week..

    More over as you know well we don't have sunny as we have in India..:((

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  2. the tomatoes look BEAUTIFUL and so fresh!

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  3. Power of Sun plus natural beauty Tomato, result is a tasty snack. What a lovely treat for Jihva. Thanks for sharing, Anjali.

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  4. This is truly fantastic and I'll be heading out to the market to buy 2 kgs of tomatoes right away... i have no dearth of sun in my house- in fact my balcony is a huge sun spot and if i sat there for an hour, i'd shrink into a sun dried nandita myself...so the perfect way to use up all the sun lies in your post--I am so glad... i really cannot bring myself to buy these jars of sundried tomatoes from the supermarket for 300 and 400 bucks...what do you say about keeping them soaked in olive oil?
    Thanks for doing this experiment and sharing the results with us in India -

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  5. Hi all thanks for your comments.

    Ushi try to dry when you have the sun.

    Richa welcome here.

    Indira yeah I'm so happy to tap the sun's power having a terrace and a balcony both here in blr helps. I'm waiting for upcoming weekends to dry few more things. In Mumbai it was never possible due to time crunch and a shared terrace that the neighborhood kids took over since we live in an apartment there. Blr has allowed me to live a slower life and I am enjoying it every bit.

    Nandita run to the nearest wholesale market and get atleast 5 kgs this is the time before the showers starts. 2 kgs gives hardly 200 gms of sundried ones. I'm drying some more this week.

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  6. Perfecto...thanks for that and do gimme a holler next time you are in Bombay, will ya?
    :) We can cook up a storm together

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  7. Nandita sure I'd love to. Thanks dear. BTW missed the olive oil soaking in the last one. Lets try it in small quantity.

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  8. lovely!!! I have seen so many recipes wiht sun-dried and skipped them because I didn't have any...don't want to buy them off the shelf...but I will surely try this in summer. thanks!
    ps: came here through link in Manisha's comments...

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  9. (@) welcome here! Is that a rose :) I think so.

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  10. Nice, useful post, Anjali!

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  11. thats wondderful. i do it in the oven - roasted at 200F overnight.

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  12. Anjali, need your advice...
    AS per ur instructions, i kept the tomatoes ( i wanted salted - so I sprinkled salt), all the water that oozed out of the tomatoes, I drained it on morning of day two and kept in sun...and then when I removed it inside on the night of day two- morning of day 3, all the pieces were coated with fungus...
    Did you leave it out every night , or must i keep in fridge...very disappointed, luckily I dint put all 3 kilos at the same time...
    What is the solution?

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  13. Oh dear! Nandita thats sad.

    Did you spread out the tomatoes in an single layer? OR did you pile up?

    When salted the first day it is a bit soggy. Hence very important to spread it like shown in the pictures. They have to be dried in direct sunlight. Mumbai sun should dry them up quite a bit. No need to put in the fridge. They have to be kept out in the sun only during the day as I mentioned and brought inside at night. Do not leave them out at night as any condensation might cause fungus. Good you tried in small quantities.

    Mine dried so well and easy that never expected this to happen unless the tomatoes are piled up.

    Let me know.

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  14. Hi Anjali,
    First time here! Thats a fabulous entry for tomatoes. i would love to try but sad to say i do not have a sun spot at my home!

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  15. wow, I cant believe drying tomatoes is so easy! and my husband loooves them! I always have pickels sitting in the sun, I'll just put in a tray of tomatoes! Thanks so much Anjali!

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  16. hi,
    First time to ur bolg...... Ur recipe is very nice.

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