Photo from Adobe Stock/Jérôme Rommé
This is a great recipe when you’re completely overloaded with tomatoes. These preserved tomatoes are so full of flavour and are excellent thinly sliced through pasta, in tomato salads, or with ricotta and lots of pepper on toast.
PREPARATION TIME: 20 minutes, plus 20 minutes sterilising
COOKING TIME: 10 minutes, plus at least 7 hours drying
STORAGE: up to 6 months
MAKES: 3 x 300 ml (10 1/2 fl oz) jars
- 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 375 ml (13 fl oz/1 1/2 cups) white wine vinegar
- 185 ml (6 fl oz/3/4 cup) water
- 75 g (2 1/2 oz/1/3 cup) sugar
- optional flavourings, such as peeled garlic, black peppercorns, thyme, oregano sprigs and/or basil stems
- 150–200 ml (5–7 fl oz) olive oil or vegetable oil
- Preheat your oven to its lowest setting. We set ours to 65 degrees Celsius (150 degrees Fahrenheit), but most domestic ovens can only go as low as 100 degrees Celsius (210 degrees Fahrenheit). You can also use a dehydrator if you have one.
- Wash your tomatoes and cut them in halves or quarters, depending on their size. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, or on a wire rack set over a baking tray. Sprinkle with the salt and place in the oven.
- For ovens set to 100 degrees Celsius (210 degrees Fahrenheit), the tomatoes can take 7-9 hours to dry. For ovens set to 65 degrees Celsius (150 degrees Fahrenheit), the tomatoes can take 10-12 hours to dry. You want your tomatoes to be mostly dried, but still maintain some plumpness. If your oven feels too hot, you can wedge the door open with a wooden spoon to increase the airflow. (If using a dehydrator, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for advice on a suitable length of drying time.)
- When the tomatoes have finished drying, leave to cool completely.
- Sterilise your jars and lids.
- Make your brine by combining the vinegar, water and sugar in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Place over low heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to simmering point, then turn off the heat.
- When the jars are cool enough to handle, add any spices or herbs you wish to use, such as 1 garlic clove, 4 peppercorns and 1 thyme sprig. Using small clean tongs or clean hands, carefully pack the dried tomatoes into the jars. Pour the hot brine over the tomatoes, filling each jar only three-quarters of the way up.
- Remove any air bubbles by gently tapping each jar on the work surface and sliding a clean butter knife or chopstick around the inside of the jars to release any hidden air pockets. Fill each jar with oil, leaving a 5 mm (1/4 inch) gap at the top. Wipe the rims of the jars with paper towel or a clean damp cloth and seal immediately.
- Leave to cool on the benchtop, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. If the weather is particularly hot, store the tomatoes in the fridge.
- Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 months.
Also from Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles: Vegetables with More Taste and Less Waste:
- Flavoured Vinegars: Spring Recipe
- Kitchen Scrap Sauerkraut Recipe
- Pickled Cherries Recipe
- Salt-Preserved Citrus Skins Recipe
Reprinted with permission from Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles: Vegetables with More Taste and Less Waste by Alex Elliott-Howery and Sabine Spindler and published by Murdoch Books, 2017.