Sunday, October 05, 2008

Honor System Dried Tomatoes

I was busy yesterday morning, sending off care packages all 'round the world, and ended up missing the Farmer's Market. Lo! I was heading across town after hitting the post office, and spotted this sign, and a table full of tomatoes.

I turned the car around, and went back to find the kind of prices I've been waiting for all summer:

And sweeter yet, this sign:

"Honor system" produce wagons placed here and there around Central Illinois always make my heart feel a little bit lighter. I'd wager that these folks probably end up, in the long run, with a bit of extra cash in their box; I know it made me feel good to "round up" on the total, just because they trusted me.

I've lately been slow-roasting and freezing tomatoes, putting them away for winter. It's soooo easy:
1. Cut them in half.
2. Toss them with a little olive oil, basil, oregano, and sea salt.
3. Place them cut-side down on a baking sheet
4. Roast for 9 hours at 200 degrees.

When they look like this, pull them out. Eat them now, or freeze them, and use them later in sauces, on pizzas, in pasta.

I decided to take it a little further, and dry the batch I made yesterday. For the last 3 hours of cooking, I pulled them to a drying rack, and placed them back in the oven with the door slightly ajar.

When the tomatoes were leathery, I threw a clove of garlic into a sterilized jar, layered the tomatoes with a bit of rosemary, and topped off the jar with olive oil.

These turned out so great that I ran back out this morning to pick up more tomatoes, AND I broke down and bought a dehydrator. I've got 5 racks drying right now, and Clint and I are dreaming of next year's garden.

And perhaps, some day, our own Honor System wagon, at the edge of the driveway.


  1. Ooooooooooo, delish!


  2. Im gonna have to try this with next seasons tomatoes. They look delicious. I bet they smelled really good, too.

  3. I just ate my dinner and now I'm hungry again. They look LUSH!

  4. Usually when someone says "all you do is..." in regards to cooking, I end up rolling my eyes and thinking "and this is why I eat take-out" but this time, this time... I Could Do This. Stick 'em in the oven and Leave the little bastards for nine hours. Yep. That's my skill level. Cool! And thanks.

  5. Momo: Move back and have one!

    FrugalMom: They smell fantastic; nice perk to 9 hours of roasing.

    Sveny: You can come over too, I'll fix you and James a pizza entirely from scratch. Except I'll buy the cheese.

    Pobs: Bonus is that if you let them go for 11 hours, they're still good.

  6. Those look wonderful. And how great about the honor system -- and the low prices! I need to get out there. Love how you put the tomatoes in the oil.


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