I always plant more tomatoes than I can eat. But that’s a good thing, because then I can oven-dry a bunch and then enjoy them in soups, salads, sandwiches, and on pizza, the whole year through.
Note that these tomatoes won’t be shelf stable—you’ll have to store them in the refrigerator or freezer. I like to freeze my cooled oven-dried tomatoes in a single layer on a sheet pan, then transfer them to a resealable bag, then store the bag in the freezer. That way, I can pull out as few or as many tomatoes as I want. (If you put them in a resealable bag before freezing them in a single layer, they’ll just freeze into one blob of tomatoes, making it hard to use them any way besides all at once.)
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Arrange wire racks on top of rimmed baking sheets.
Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes (quarter the larger ones) and seed them. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on the wire racks. (They can be close together, but they shouldn’t be touching. If you’re doing more than one variety of tomato, it’s best to put different varieties on different racks, because they might need different cooking times.) Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper (see note).
Bake the tomatoes until they’re wrinkled and shrunken, 4 to 10 hours depending on the tomatoes’ size and water content and how wet or dry you want them to be. (I like to cook them until as much water as possible has cooked off, until it looks like, if I cook them any longer, they’ll brown and burn.) Cool thoroughly on the racks before refrigerating for several days or freezing for several months.
Note: Just to give you a sense of it, for the batch in the photo, I started with 12 tomatoes that were slightly smaller than medium (3 1/2 to 4 ounces each) and topped them with 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. And then I cooked them for 6 hours.