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Sun Drying

sundried tomatoes

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and when life gives you a heat wave, make sundried tomatoes.  Last year I sun dried the principe borghese and made the yellow cherries into passata.  The flavour of the passata was good but the yellow colour was just a bit too odd for many dishes.  This year I thought I might try sun drying the yellow ones and making passata from the red ones.  We have more yellow than red too, which is a good thing, because I find sun dried tomatoes more useful than passata.

I wrote about this method for sun drying tomatoes last year. Threaded onto bamboo skewers over dark plates, and left on the dashboard of the car, parked in the sun, windows up, they dry in this weather in a single day.  The threading is a little bit laborious but it means you don’t have to turn them and they get air all the way around.

I have a plate of basil, oregano and garlic chives out in the sun too, and a couple of clean jars .  I shall pack the dried tomatoes with the dried herbs into the solar sterilized jars and cover with oil from the olive jars. They’ll last like that on the shelf right through next winter.  It’s low work, no energy cost, gourmet product preserving.

That bowl of chilis from the last post yesterday became this:

dried chili

A half a  teaspoon of that in a big pot Chili Beans makes them nicely spicy.

The heat wave is not comfortable, and quite scary in its preview of the “normal” to come.  But at least there’s some good can be made of it.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Rose January 4, 2014, 11:13 am

    How absolutely logical! Thank you so much Linda.

  • Louise January 4, 2014, 12:30 pm

    LOVE this method. Fantastic. I wont have a glut of tomatoes for a while yet being much further south than yourself but we certainly get hot days enough for this method to work for me. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Gavin Webber January 4, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Brilliant Linda. Looking forward to the next hot day to dry some chilli!

    Gav x

  • L from 500m2 in Sydney January 4, 2014, 10:07 pm

    That’s a great method, Linda – better that the electric dryer, and far more energy efficient. Do you normally leave your Prius out in the sun though? I’ve heard that the heat shortens their battery life considerably.

  • Linda January 5, 2014, 7:41 am

    We have a plug in kit in the Prius, so it goes in the shed at night, plugged in to the battery bank to charge up. But during the day it is usually in the carpark at work in the sun – nothing we can do about that. This pic though is the old van, not the Prius. It doesn’t get driven at all much these days and we’re looking sell it this year.

  • Linda January 5, 2014, 2:47 pm

    Of course! I love it! I’m due to take part in a course on how to build a solar dryer soon. Ha ha! Not sure if I need to go now.

  • Lizzy (Good Things) January 5, 2014, 5:19 pm

    Wow, now that’s something! Thank you for sharing.

  • Pat Machin January 5, 2014, 9:30 pm

    I don’t think we’re likely to get enough hot weather to dry tomatoes in the car but the idea of putting them on skewers is a great on. It would work well in the low oven I usually do mine in.

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