Easy peasy lemon squeezey. Seriously though. Making your own sun dried tomato’s is so mind blowing easy, it’s crazy. In our house we go through jars of sun dried tomatoes. They are in price range $5.30 – $6 a jar. A large container of cherry tomatoes is around $5.50. In the long run I’m not sure what is cheaper when it comes down to it. But one thing I do know, is that I feel it is more satisfying making my own.
Now I could be traditional old school Italian here, and cut my tomatoes in half. Load them up with salt and lay them in the hot Mediterranean sun for two to three days. But I don’t have that luxury of the Mediterranean, here in North East Ohio, and most of you don’t depending on where you live. So let me take you to my kitchen or yours. Let’s go!
You want tomatoes of either cherry tomato size or small plum size. Depending on what you have will determine how many baking sheets you will need. Also if you have tomatoes that are starting to wilt, those are great for making your own as well. Line your baking sheet with either parchment paper or silicone baking sheet mat. Your going to turn your oven to 225F. Cut each tomato in half and place them on your baking sheet, seed side up. Once all cut and placed, your going to load up with sea salt. You want a heavy amount here. I unfortunately didn’t measure the amount of salt, but I will say it was close to 1 Tbsp, maybe a tad more.
Now you can cram as many tomatoes onto the baking sheet, with no spacing needed. They shrink up so much.
Your going to bake the tomatoes at 225F for 4hrs. Now you can do 1 of 2 things. You can 1) remove them at the 2hr mark and gently press down with a table knife, to help release some of the juices. Or 2) you can just keep baking them for 4hrs straight. No removing. Just baking. Either way works and works well.
So let’s say 4hrs have now passed, and you have beautiful dried tomatoes. Your going to let your tomatoes cool. This should only take about 20-30mins tops.
Note – You know all those pickle, jam, mustard jars you may or may not have? Well start saving them. You will use them for stuff like this.
Now take your tomatoes and place them in a smaller sized jar, (I used a relish jar). Fill the with tomatoes. Don’t worry about them not fitting, you can squeeze them down. Next your going to take chili flakes, Italian seasoning and garlic and pile on top of the tomatoes. Now the really satisfying part of this. Pour your olive oil on top, let it drip down between each tomato, and all that yummy seasoning you just piled in. You want to to fill to where the rim and jar meet. Put you cap on nice and tight. Now shake, turn and or flip a few times your jar. You want the spices to marry with those tomatoes. Leave 12-24hrs before using them. Longer you let marinate the better, IMO.
Prep & Bake Time – 4.5hrs
Complete Time – 24hrs
Serving- 1 small jar
• 50 Cherry or 20-25 Small plum sized tomatoes cut in half
• 1 – 1 1/2 Tbsp of Sea salt
• 1/2 tsp Chili flakes
• 1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
• 3 Large garlic cloves minced
• Olive oil – enough time fill the jar almost to the rim
1. Turn on oven to 225F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner.
2. Cut your tomatoes in half, and place them seed side up with as many as you can fin on one baking sheet. Don’t worry about crowding. Sprinkle with all your salt. Place in oven and bake for 4hrs. If you choose to press some juices out of the tomatoes, do that at the 2hr mark of drying them out.
3. 4hrs has passed. Remove tomatoes and let cool. Place in jar and add the chili flakes, Italian seasoning, garlic and olive oil. Place lid on, move the oil and seasoning around through out the tomatoes. Now let sit anywhere from 12-24hrs. I prefer around 24hrs. But you do you. ENJOY!
Note – These will keep for about 10 days in a air tight container in your fridge. So go ahead and store away. In my house they won’t last that long.