Although the leaves are yellowing, the air is more crisp and the time spent frolicking in the sun (who has the time to frolic? But the idea, or word is lovely) is becoming shorter, I’ve found a way to savour the taste forever!
Like everything exotic and non-korean in Korea, avocados, watermelon, baby spinach to name a few, the price is excruciating, unbelievable, ridiculous. Semi-dried/sun-dried tomatoes are no exception. ₩9,000 on special? ₩13,000 – ₩20,000 for a small jar?
Sure, I’ve nothing better to spend my money on than eating.
Back home I’m used to picking up a couple of hundred grams for $3 – $5, of varying dried-ness, immersed in different oils or vinegar’s, with different herbs and accompaniments, full fat, fat-free. Pro-choice tomatoes, oh yeah!
So, figuring it’s just tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, spices, sun and time, I thought, I could make my own. Except, ah, the long hot summer days are over here – thank my sweat-free brow – so what to do, what to do….
Oven-dried tomatoes! Looooooong, sloooooooow dehydrated tomatoes result in the sweetest tomatoes with a soft inside, encased by a not-too-hard, ever so slightly chewy and dried out shell. Dehydrating them with a dash of olive oil that has been infused with Himalayan rock salt, pepper, garlic and herbs, enhances each flavour, bringing out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Although I don’t label myself with a food label anymore such as vegetarian, carnivore, vegan, raw foodist; I eat 80% vegan and raw as much as possible (although since preparing samples and market prep for whole*istic snacks and desserts, my diet has changed to 80% DESSERTS! HELP!!) and meat/fish if my body truly is craving it or someone has been so nice as to cook for me.
I found that it has been easier to make more conscious decisions this way, without placing limitations and expectations on myself and removing the ‘banned food’ list – which actually makes me want them even more.
Bu,t I digress.
A dehydrator is just as vital to a raw foodist as the holier-than-thou blender, the VitaMix – which you cannot get in Korea! Here I was ready to part with my ₩600,00 on a blender, but it’s not even possible. (Post to follow on what I did actually get)*be warned – it will be a rant, as after having acquired the most powerful, expensive blender in Korea, it DIED on me within 24 hours, 2 batches of energy noshies, 1 pie crust and halfway through a ‘cheese’cake…breathe in, breathe out….I am floating on al lily pad down a….one day, it lasted one day!!!! …..down a clear, tranquil blue stream….. But as I’d just received a new large, 4 rack oven, I had been reading that food prepared at 48°C or less, can technically be considered ‘raw’.
Which isn’t very hot at all. I’m sure the Bikram yoga room has been hotter than that before.
So anyway, if you’ve got an oven that can function at 48°C, lots of fresh tomatoes (it’s too time consuming to just do a punnet), and lots and lots of time for these babies to dehydrate – read on my friend, read on……
1 kg tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt (this is more ‘salty’ than salt, so use less at first – then to taste)
1 tsp black pepper – 5 grinds?
1 tsp mixed herbs (I used a mix of basil and Italian parsley)
*Add all spices/seasonings to taste. I LOVE garlic so my recipes are heavy on the garlic, taste as you go, to your liking. Add anything you like. Just remember, the dehydrating will bring out the flavours more.
1. Combine all ingredients, except tomatoes, in a screw top glass jar.
Shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture.
2. Wash tomatoes. Cut in half. If using cherry/grape tomatoes place on greaseproof paper lined baking tray, cut side up.
If using larger tomatoes, scoop seeds out (can add to a smoothie, dip, pesto, sauce, eat, whatever – just don’t waste it)
3. Drizzle some of the oil over the tomatoes.
I used about one tablespoon per line of tomatoes.
There should be about 1/4 cup of oil, more or less, remaining for you to sit the tomatoes in after dehydrating, or to use as a dressing. Beautiful!
4. Place in oven at 45°C.
For 2 large trays of cherry tomatoes, they took 5 hours and were fully dried.
4 hours would create a more juicy, semi semi dried tomato.
Will keep in a sealed jar, covered in the remaining oil for a month? 2 months? Although, I don’t think they’ll last that long….
Looks like a raw, vegan nachos???
For 2 large trays of Roma tomatoes, well, they’ve been in for 3 hours last night, sat overnight, and we’re up to hour number 2 as we speak.