Tomatoes are harvested in mass during the summer. The problem is that tomatoes easily rot. When they are not used right away, they will be useless and you have no choice but to just throw them away.

The good ones that have arrived at the peak of ripeness and sweetness can be used immediately. The rest don’t need to be thrown away. They can be sun-dried and they can be cooked months after harvest.

Making sun-dried tomatoes

The process in which tomatoes are sun-dried is not different from any other fruits. Treated ripe tomatoes are left to dry in the sun for a few days. They will lose 93% of their weight during the process. A dehydrator or an oven can also be used to achieve the same result. Rest assured, the colour and quality are preserved as the tomatoes have been treated before drying. Sun-dried tomatoes also retain their vitamins and nutrients. When used after a few months, you will get the same nutrition.

Preserving tomatoes 

Sun-dried tomatoes can be packed right away and stored. They are sold in bulk bins. Another option is to submerge the tomatoes in oil. You can also add other flavours, herbs and spices. You can buy them in jars from the market.

Using sun-dried tomatoes 

Sun-dried tomatoes have intense flavour and are just as potent as fresh tomatoes. They also have a chewier texture than the regular kind. You need to hydrate them first before using them. If you are using the type that was soaked in oil, drain the oil first before using the tomatoes. Remove excess oil using paper towels. If the tomatoes were kept in the fridge, the oil will have solidified, so you can’t use the tomatoes right away. You should place the container at room temperature first until the oil melts. Pull the tomatoes out once ready.

Which one is better? 

Any option is fine. However, if the recipe specifically says that you should use sun-dried tomatoes, you need to use them. The regular kind does not have moisture though, so have to be hydrated first. Oil-packed tomatoes are already hydrated, so you just need to drain the oil and they are ready to go. Also, the oil-packed version may have herbs and spices. Be careful not to use them if those herbs and spices could affect the taste of your dish.

There are a lot of health benefits in using semi dried tomatoes. It is also practical if you are running a food business. You can buy them in bulk too, as they can last for a very long time.