05 September 2016


Here's a grape picture that I meant to post on Saturday, but somehow it got deleted from my post. The grapes are bathed in early morning sunlight.

And here's a long tall photo showing a long string — you can't really call it a cluster or a bunch — of little elongated tomatoes that are mostly still getting ready to ripen.

I think I'll make oven-dried tomatoes with these. They just need to be cut in half from top to bottom and put in a very slow oven (90ºC or 200ºF) for a long time.

What you want is for the tomato to dry out without actually cooking. If the water in the tomato halves starts to boil, it won't work. It just needs to evaporate. Drying them might take 6 or 8 hours.

After they're dried, I pack them in small jars with screw-top lids, close the lids without tightening them, and set the jars in the oven at that same temperature. When they are good and hot, I take them out and tighten down the lids one by one.

Then they seal and they can spend months down in the cold cellar without going bad. And they can be cooked and eaten over the course of the winter, of course.


  1. That's so interesting! I make big batches of tomato sauce every fall, sometimes going the roasted route (including over the remains of coals on the grill). But I freeze rather than can because I am so afraid of not getting the acidity right and ending up with botulism. I suppose you have good acidity with only tomatoes, plus the dryness must help.

  2. When I've canned tomato sauce in the past, I've added a tablespoon of white spirit vinegar to the jars (or more if they jars are really big) to increase the acidity and prevent botulism. You can't really taste the vinegar when you open the jars and heat up the sauce. Unfortunately, our freezer is full this year. I might go out and buy a new one, but then we'll just end up with two freezers that are full!

    1. Far cheaper, Ken.... go buy yourselves an Excalibur dehydrator [American design and manufacture]...an excellent bit of kit and frees up the oven...comes in 5 tray and 9 tray versions... and there is a book by them, too... American climate zones only, tho'... I find I have to double up the time here.
      A link:
      [Comes with the book! And free delivery to France it said...]

    2. Jeez, Tim, that 9-tray dehydrator sells for something like the equivalent of $350 U.S. And it's another one-use appliance. I dry tomatoes two or three times per season, so it's not worth it to me. I hope it works well for you.

    3. We dry tomatoes, peppers, chillies, courgettes, apples [in slices and chunks], onions... and, this year,probably pears...
      we also make fruit leathers from redcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, apple compote, apple and raspberry compote...etcetera!
      Cherry tomatoes are superb dehydrated... as are cherries... and we do yoghurt leathers, too!
      Haven't tried the beef jerky recipe yet.... yet...!!
      And you can use the nine tray one for proving bread and making cheese... but there are plans in the book for making a wooden box that fits on the front of the five-tray version, instead of the door... to give you the same height as the nine-tray.

      It is now in it's ninth year! So, at the price we paid for it...
      a cost of around £21 a year, so far!! And no bleedin' 850€ freezer!

    4. Well, it sounds like you really are getting your money's worth. I don't see myself drying so many fruits, vegetables, and meats. Have you made raisins?

    5. Why, when they are so cheap?
      But, thinking on that... I might give it a try next time Susan drops some off....
      They are bound to be tastier than the shop bought ones...
      and I can't get SunMaid raisins in France.

  3. So, with the oven-dried tomatoes and the oven-dried jars, no olive oil added? That's the way I've always been told to store tomatoes dried in the oven, but it's kind of messy. I like your version better.

    1. With oven-dried tomatoes packed in oil, I think you have to keep them in the refrigerator, no? They might be what I call tomates confites — slow roasted with oil and seasonings, but not completely dried. They don't keep as long as the completely dried tomatoes, which I store in our cold pantry (le cellier). Of course, it is nearly as cold down there in winter as it is inside the fridge.

  4. And I like the tones on the grape picture....

  5. Hi Ken, That is most interesting. Thank you for this post. When I am at home in Vancouver I have a wide variety of tomatoes to process. I have done the oven drying but then packed in olive oil and herbs. Some for the cellar would be a bonus.
    Presently cruising the canals of the Netherlands for three months so sadly/happily my neighbours are eating the produce from the garden.
    Regards Janine

  6. I've followed your tomates confites in previous years, but it's a good point you make that if the juice is boiling, then you're not actually drying the tomatoes. I didn't know that, and I don't know what, exactly, I was doing to my tomatoes :) They were tasty, anyway.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?