Sundried tomatoes are great to have on hand because they practically last forever. Easily found at any supermarket, they provide a concentrated tomato flavour that is the perfect blend of sweet and savoury.
Sundried tomatoes are sold dry-packed or in oil. Both are equally delicious but require specific ways of handling. Let's examine how to use sundried tomatoes to make a wide variety of flavourful dishes.
How sundried tomatoes are made
The process of sun-drying tomatoes originated as a way to preserve the fruit for longer periods of time, since salting and drying slow the action of decomposition. Italians dried their tomatoes on ceramic rooftop terraces to have precious nutrients during winter months.
Sun-dried tomatoes are made from tomatoes that have first ripened on the vine. They are then cut in half, placed on a raised screen, and set in the sun to dry. At this stage, they are often treated with salt. The tomatoes must be brought in at night and protected from insects, and the drying process is complete when they have lost around 90% of their weight from evaporation, leaving behind the concentrated tomato flavour and nutrients. The process usually takes one to two weeks, depending on the weather.
Tomatoes can only truly be sundried in arid, sunny climates like that of the Mediterranean. However, similar products can be achieved through oven drying or by using a dehydrator.
Rehydrating Sundried Tomatoes Dry-packed
Before cooking with sundried tomatoes one must first rehydrate these Mediterranean jewels. How to rehydrate sun dried tomatoes? Begin by rinsing them under running water to get rid of any excess salt that may have been used to preserve them.
Then put the sundried tomatoes in a pot with just enough water to cover. Cook on high until they come to a boil then turn off the heat. Let steep until they are cool and fully rehydrated. Drain and pat dry.
If you are short on time this process may be accomplished using a microwave.
Sundried tomatoes packed in oil
These luxurious tomatoes can be used straight from the jar. The best ones are packed in extra virgin olive oil, which makes a killer addition to dressings and vinaigrette.
To use these tomatoes you simply have to drain them and pat dry with a paper towel if you wish to remove the excess oil. Some gourmet markets sell sundried tomatoes packed with garlic, herbs and even tuna. So be sure to read the labels.
How To Use Sundried Tomatoes: Recipes
THE ULTIMATE CAPRESE SALAD WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES
Sundried tomatoes can be used in salads, pastas and countless other dishes where you desire a punch of intense tomato flavour. A nice idea is to chop them up and use as an extra topping for traditional Caprese salad (aka tomato mozzarella salad). The flavour of sundried tomatoes is intense so don't go overboard.
GLUTEN-FREE BREAD WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES AND CHEESE: RECIPE
Make gluten-free bread more delicious by adding chopped sundried tomatoes and a hearty sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Read the full recipe for gluten-free bread with sundried tomatoes.
VEGAN SUSHI WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES
Everyone loves sushi, but not everyone loves fish. Fear not, sundried tomatoes add an umami-packed replacement for eel in your sushi roll. Add zucchini, apple puree and balsamic vinegar for tangy deliciousness.
USE SUNDRIED TOMATOES IN PESTO
Take traditional pesto up a notch by adding chopped sundried tomatoes. It's delicious tossed with pasta, like you'll see in the video below, or as a sandwich spread. Yum.
WHAT TO DO WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES? VINAIGRETTE.
It's a simple fact: sundried tomatoes are exquisite with seafood, especially this king crab salad with a zesty sundried tomato vinaigrette.
USE SUNDRIED TOMATOES IN BROTH
Did you know sundried tomatoes can be used to perk up vegetable broth? All you have to do is toss them in the pot with the rest of the ingredients and cook as usual. They'll add a nice oomph.
STUFFED SUNDRIED TOMATOES RECIPE
Looking for an elegant appetiser that comes together in just minutes? We recommend stuffing sundried tomatoes with a nice blend of eggplant, capers, cheese and herbs. A quick recipe with sun dried tomatoes.
FETA, SUNDREID TOMATOES AND OLIVES ON RYE BREAD
It's hard to beat this New York classic, vegetarian-friendly sandwich. Sundried tomatoes work perfectly with the combination of feta cheese and olives for a heart, satisfying snack, or lunch.
SUNDRIED TOMATOES IN LASAGNA
Follow a vegan lifestyle? Then don't forget to stock up on sundried tomatoes. They are heavenly tucked into this raw zucchini lasagna recipe.
CHEF TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE SUNDRIED TOMATOES
Still can't get enough of sundried tomatoes? Try these tips for the pros to make sundried tomatoes from fresh tomatoes at home in your own kitchen for extra satisfaction. Ideally use ripe tomatoes, roma tomatoes are a good choice as they have a ow water content. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and lay on a baking sheet with parchment cut side up. Sprinkle with sea salt or Italian seasoning and lay in the midday sun so the tomatoes can lose their water.
The salt acts in combination with the sunlight to dehydrate the tomatoes so that they are dried. You can put your tomatoes in the oven on low heat over time, but the results won't be the same. Keep an eye on them because if they are dried too long that lose their flavour. When they are ready you can store them in a jar with olive oil. Packed in oil with Italian seasoning of garlic clove and fresh herbs they will keep for months and months are will be always ready to use.