This scorching heat has dried me up.  The lack of water all day doesn’t help.  I water my potted balcony “garden” almost twice a day. My fridge is still defrosting so I’m still in the spirit of being resourceful with food storage.  My tomato plant hasn’t borne any fruit yet (for those of you who didn’t know, tomatoes are actually fruits not vegetables) but this is perfect whether to sun-dry tomatoes.

My potted tomato vine, only a couple of weeks old

Often sold in jars stored in olive or sunflower oil, sun-dried tomatoes are considered a delicacy in the West and can be very pricey. This method, used by our ancestors to preserve lovely golden tomatoes for the winter months, is actually very cheap and easy to do.  All you need are some firm, ripe plum tomatoes; good quality sea salt (kosher salt) and plenty of sun!  I like to use rock salt that I get from Zwara and grind it in my spice mill as I need it.  Just follow the pictures below to make your own batch of glorious sun-dried tomatoes.

Sprinkle sea salt over halved tomatoes
A few minutes and the juices are already being drawn out; place on a cooling rack to drain; the salt also helps to preserve the tomatoes
Sun-bathing! Can't wait till their ready...

This should take a few days or up to a couple of weeks to fully dry out depending on the weather.  You can cover the tomatoes with a screen dome or mosquito net to keep the insects away if they are a problem.  You may also wish to bring the tomatoes in to the kitchen after sunset, just to keep them safe from possible weather changes, ghibli sandstorms or hungry animals!  I’ll keep you posted about the progress of my batch, and I’ll let you know what to do with them when they are ready.  I also noticed that the first harvest of fresh olives has already reached the markets.  Perhaps it’s time I get started on pickling too…

Use a food screen cover or net to keep the insects away

One Comment Add yours

  1. Morad says:

    Where exactly in Zwara do you get the salt from? Is it not sold in Tripoli?

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