There’s nothing better than a big container of canned sun-dried tomatoes that can save you when you need a quick salad for lunch, or a pasta recipe for dinner, right? But yes, these delicious sun-dried tomatoes are often expensive and come in small packages.
You are probably imagining very expensive and small cans of sun-dried tomatoes that cost a lot of money. Still, sometimes all you need is this delicacy to make a meal more gourmet and elevated. If that is the case, or you simply like the flavor they add, then you should learn how to properly dry and can your tomatoes.
Luckily, there are some easy steps you can follow to make your homemade canned sun-dried tomatoes.
Step #1: Prepare your ingredients and equipment
To start, pre-heat your oven to about 200-230 degrees F. While the oven is going, wash and dry your Roma tomatoes. Other tomatoes can work, but these are better in flavor, size, and texture.
You can then line a dripping pan with parchment paper and then add salt and sugar to the paper. Cut your tomatoes in half and place them on the baking tray, then add more sugar and salt.
Step #2: Time to bake and wait!
Once your oven has reached the desired temperature, you are ready to bake your tomatoes for about 10 to 14 hours. However, we recommend that you check them about halfway through and remove the ones that look ready.
As a pro tip, if you want to save time you can always dry your tomatoes using a food dehydrator. This process may take less time and the temperature is always regulated.
Step #3: Once the tomatoes are ready, let them cool down
When the time is up and all tomatoes look ready, take them out and place them on a cooling rack. You can cover them with a clean cloth.
Step #4: Prepare your canning equipment in the meantime
The first step to canning is always sterilizing your jars, as it is the safest way to prevent any microbial overgrowth. To do this, place your rack in your pot, then place the jars and caps, and fill the pot with about 2 inches of water above the jars.
Let your pot boil up for 20-25 minutes, and then take out the jars using your canning tongs. Set the hot jars upside down on a clean cloth so they dry completely.
Step #5: Start canning your dried-tomatoes
Place your tomatoes in the jars, adding oregano, olive oil, and peppercorns as well. Mix well and press the tomatoes to let out all the excess air. Before you place the cap, make sure your tomatoes are all fully submerged.
Step #6. For a short-time period, simply place your jars in the fridge
If you only need to store your sun-dried tomatoes for a short period, you can simply place your jars in the refrigerator. Make sure the lid is tightly closed before you store them. You should use your tomatoes between 3 to 7 days, discard after this time because these can spoil quickly.
Step #7. For long-time storage, you should use a water-bath canning method
For longer storage, you should use a water-bath canning method to ensure proper sealing and preventing microorganism growth. To do this, place your jars in the same pot with the rack and boiling water, use enough water but leave ½ inch headspace.
You should process the jars for at least 40 minutes if you are using pints and 45 minutes if you are using quarts. These times will vary, though, depending on your altitude.
After you have processed your jars, you can leave them aside to cool down for at least a few hours. Once cool, store the jars in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Remember to always refrigerate after opening.
Pro tip: add any seasoning you want for different flavors
If you feel adventurous, why not add more spices to your canned sun-dried tomatoes? You can start by using Italian herbs, such as basil, thyme, and rosemary. For more heat, add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. And if you want some acid, remember to use vinegar or a little bit of lime juice.
Are you ready? This process seems demanding, but it simply takes patience and time. You can use plenty of tomatoes at once, but always take a look every few hours as they dry, otherwise, they may burn quickly.
If you still doubt what to do, then you should know that sun-dried tomatoes go well in all sorts of recipes. Some good dishes that include these tomatoes are sauces, pesto, hummus, salads, chicken piccata, pasta, and more.
Get your tomatoes, olive oil, spices, and the oven ready to make delicious sun-dried tomatoes and can them right at home without much hassle. These tomatoes also make for a great party gift or side dish if you feel like sharing with others.