The garden is coming into its own and producing some nice tomatoes after a round of blossom end rot on the first ripe tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes, which have turned out to be orange-y tomatoes never got the rot like the larger ones. Since I'm the only one in the house that eats tomatoes, and since I planted about 12 tomato plants and 4 more by seed, you can imagine that even I cannot eat ALL the tomatoes that are ripening. So I decided part of my preserving would be in the form of drying tomatoes. I've done this before and I must say, it's amazing. The flavor is rich, deep, sweet, and tangy all at the same time. I dry mine in the oven, but you could use the sun too.
I slice my tomatoes in half or in thick slices, put them on parchment paper seed-side up, drizzle with a little olive oil (but you don't have to) and salt and pepper them to taste. Or just salt them. Slide them into the oven that is set at 450* for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how juicy your tomatoes are. Just check them and pull them out when they become dry and somewhat leathery. Some folks do this same process, but they set the oven temperature at 250* and dry them over 3-4 hours, depending on how juicy the tomatoes are. Either way works. When you are done, you can eat them right away or allow them to cool and store them in good olive oil in the fridge for up to a month or you can flash freeze them on the trays for about 30 minutes or until firm. Then take them off the trays and store them in freezer bags in the freezer. Do taste them! They are SO DELICIOUS! You will imagine all kinds of ways to use these beauties in your cooking. I was thinking of how good they would be blitzed up in a tomato soup or on Martguerita Pizza or using them to make a thick tomato paste or spaghetti sauce. And my favorite way might be to just eat them as they are, or on a sandwich. It is said that in Italy they dry tomatoes out in the sun on their flat roofs or on plywood over saw horses and keep them out in the hot sun until they are nice and leathery. Who cares if a bug lands on them? Right? The only thing I think of is birds. They might love to taste the experiment too. Next time I dry some tomatoes, I'm going to try it without the olive oil and just use salt. I think they may dry quicker that way.
I chopped down the basil and made a batch of pesto today too. Another big YUM-O-LICOUS thing.