Maybe shoulda put this one as a What Is It? ha? 🙂 Looks kinda…Autumnalish… pumpkiny even!
Hmmm…look at that color!
Well, I’ll tell ya, this is serious dried fruit. Did you guess it? Yeppers those are TOMATOES!
Don’t know ’bout where Y’All are from, but Southern Cali Summer Sweet Tomatoes (yes, they deserve the capitals!) are bloody fantasmic.
Oh, yes, I kid you not. I’ve had sweet tomatoes sweeter than cherries, yep, I said that. If you never have, well, then there’s nothing to do but get yerself to SoCal or go get some sweetness from these Southern Cali nightshades.
Now, you are asking: Why on Pluto would one dry these if so awesome?! Good question; I’d ask the same thing. Firstly, when you get loads, like I do, you want to have that goodness last as long as you can; dehydrating the excess is a great way to do this. Secondly, well, sadly — kinda — we’ve had the mildest summer I can ever recall (as I write this we’re now in the throes of the one of the hottest, record-breaking heatwaves ever reported...figures! .) In fact, our weather has changed dramatically over my lifetime (don’t ask) . Anyway, before I go off topic, the reality is that this year, the sweet tomatoes — number one, arrived VERY late; and, two, they have been less than their usual stellar selves 😦 BUT…
So, while these are sweet and delicious to eat straight — by anyone’s standards — which is how I eat them, they are also perfect for drying. Why? ‘Cause no matter what kind of tommy you get, even if not what you wanted or needed for a dish, you can always use your handy-dandy dehydrator to transform them into dried goodness…
…I promise you, you WILL use them: Soups; dressings, sauces; veggie mixtures; blended smoothies; to make your own ketchup; make your own tomato paste (better than storebought, I tell ya); the best “pasta” sauce ever… salads…on and on AND easy to store! some may birth savory, some medium-sweet, others sweet — come what may! But the umami in them all is sure to please 😀
Yea, they’ll take a long time to dry — do it overnight and it won’t seem so bad. However, depending on how many you do (and how good your dehydrator is – it can take 48 hours or just overnight. It will just depend.
Some of these regular ol’ sweet tomatoes are sweeter than raisins and are awesome in trail mixes, cereals, granola — or better —NoGrainola 😀 They don’t taste “tomatoey”; they are a different thing altogether. They are a fruit, afterall!
The benefit of drying sweet tomatoes — and the great thing is that they don’t have to be THAT sweet to start — is that the sugars concentrate just like any other fruit; so your resultant product will be sweeter than it started, and is akin to a raisin. Now, if your sweet tomatoes are uber-sweet, well, you may just lapse into a comato 😉 Personally, I can’t bring myself to dehydrate the bursting-with-juice-running-down-your-chin, sweet-as-syrup – but-with-no-crash-nectar of lycopene-OMG-they’re-plumper-than-Lisa-Rinna’s-lips ones; they are just too good, and the season way too short to not eat them fresh. Nevuh the less! These penultimate sweet tomatoes are fab for drying.
And, the goodness just keeps on comin’ — What’s awesome and different with these, is that the skin, as you can see…
is paper thin and crispy! Yep. So when you bite into it, you get a crinkly crunch and then the raisin-like sweet chewy goodie inside. I’ve had a few that were actually totally crunchy. Fantastic.
Washing the Plethora of Pleasurable Pops
The little green hats are cute and all, but a pain in the bud! So one way to facilitate their removal (and save water) is to bathe them. They clean and, as you see…
…the little tops float to the surface. Now, most of these are already-loose tops, however, you are now in the perfect position to agitate the little jewels to clean them and have the tops come off with a little hand action ;). Most come off this way. Then you can just skim them off before you remove the tommies from the dirty bath water by scooping : Don’t pour them into a sieve; you’ll be pouring the dirt back on to them! (Same deal for cleaning greens/salad greens-you pour the dirt you just removed over them as it sunk to the bottom)
I wash mine right before using (or that day) to avoid having them rot from sittin’ in water. You can also towel dry them, or spread them out on towels and let them dry.
AND as always, never refrigerate tomatoes! Only time I ever fridge ’em is if they are too ripe and at risk of going bad, and I won’t be using right away.
Now, to storage…
Well, I mentioned a bit about it, but what about those dreaded moths?! Seriously, they are annoying and they love to burrow amongst my precious cargo — how they dare! — and do who-knows-what? to my treasure. Only one, 100% way I’ve repelled them (’cause I try not to kill stuff):
How to Repel Those Suckers, or…
A Little Bay Keeps the Moths Away…
NOW brand Bay essential oil – one of the more inexpensive, but, potent oils, good for this application. More often available in stores and vitamin shops
Bay essential oil. Now, bay leaves are great to keep moths out of your pantry, and I throw several leaves into my cupboards where I store dried goods which attract them such as beans (closets, linen/drawers;laundry rooms; and sewing/craft rooms are good places as well). My house used to be a Nightmare on Lepidoptera Street when I had lots of flours and grains. Since those are gone, I’ve been moth-free…for the most part; my sewing room is another story 😕
Back to the bay —
First, I MUST remove any that are rotting, of course, but most importantly, ANY that have been broken in any way. Even a little slit is too much. Remove those first, and put those in the fridge and eat those soon.
See here: The rotting ones are obvious, but this one could easily get past you, but it should be removed from the group:
eat it sooner 😉
Feel around and if any are wet for whatever reason, but not broken, then remove those too, and either dry off or just set aside to dry or eat soon — just get them away from the others; you know the “one bad tomato spoils the whole bunch” thing.
Okay, then I put them in paper bags and…
…Simply drip a few drops onto the tops of the bag to keep the invaders out. Do not let it drip onto your sweet tomatoes! Just on the bag. (Oh, and never do I leave them in plastic bags! That’s just asking for it; the moisture condenses and creates an environment ripe for rot. Let ’em breathe.)
You should reapply when it no longer is fragrant or if, like it is right now here, it’s very dry and hot weather/environment and evaporates the oil. I’m reapplying much more during these uber-hot days than normal mild SoCal weather. I don’t get new bags; I just reuse the same ones so that the fragrance is nice and strong.
Now, I happen to love the smell of bay; if you don’t, it’s not that bad; get over it 😛
Now you’re asking — cuz I’m clairvoyant — “So are my $6-a-basket sweet tomatoes now going to taste like bay?!#! ” Mm, not really. I mean, the fragrance may be strong to you, and you may *think* it does; but it hasn’t penetrated the sweet tomatoes; it’s all in your head.
Not-ta moth in sight – Yay! Notta one! 100% effective; gone. Awesome. Don’t know where they went – probably plotting against me at some moth watering hole (or feastiing on my good yarns and fabrics!) — but they are cursing me, I know it. Curse away! For me and my summer Tommies, it’s bountiful bliss forev — well, for a season 🙂
Since I have SO many sweet tomatoes I do it this way; however, a few drops on a cloth or on paper kept very near your moth-attracting produce will do. You can keep them in bowls — don’t cover — if brown paper bags lining your entryway ain’t your idea of accessorizing your home.
~ *** ~
So are YOU matomaniacal like me? Do you have a secret fruit fetish from which you deviated to dappling in sweet tommies? Do you suffer from lyco-pondria? Well, as I have confessed to being a mushroom head, a GREENS queen, a coco-nutter <- bigtime; a sprouting fool of course, an avocado aficionado, an Olive FrEak … I am now revealing that I lapse into tomatose on a regular basis — yep, I do — Oh, don’t worry, it’s all good: Dr. Fuhrman, even praises the plums!
Okay, I was so seduced by these tantilizing tomatoey teases, that I went on a photo rampage. Here, just for you fellow tomato fiends to enjoy is a slideshow of their deliciousness on display — only fellow fiends will realize how this is NOT internet time wasting 😀 Watch and, between drools, let your mind dream up the tons of ways to tomatize your life!
Now don’t tell me looking fresh, REAL food isn’t more pleasing than looking at dead, processed junk! Did your creative juices get flowing?
so that’s long, all right — Not as luscious, but here’s a short 4-minuter for those of you who don’t quite do crazy 😉
So what do Y’All do with tomatoes?
Mmmmmmmmmm…don’t ya want some?
Oh, lordy lordy…
So…Don’t be jealous: Go get some!