Dried tomatoes are a culinary delight originating in Italy that can be found in hundreds of recipes and Mediterranean dishes.
They are obtained through a process of sun drying ripe tomatoes slowly to make them shrink, decreasing in volume, lose moisture and therefore enhance their flavor.
Sun-dried tomatoes are therefore an exquisite ingredient for use as a condiment or even as a side dish to meat or salads.
Dried tomatoes are especially popular in Mediterranean cuisine particularly in Italy, where it's common to find areas like the Puglia region in which the roofs are filled with tomatoes drying in the sun for long periods of time.
It's also very common to find them in Spain, especially the east, a versatile and attractive place for cooking ingredients.
Dried tomatoes can be used in dipping sauces to accompany meats, as an ingredient in pasta, pizza and salads, as a flavoring ingredient, as cover or even in several varieties of pâté known as paté di pomodori.
They can be purchased already dehydrated, but you can also make them yourself at home. You you need to do is expose the tomatoes to the sun and be patient, because the process must occur slowly.
Once the tomatoes are dry, it's best to use bags made of a material called polyethylene to preserve them, but they can also be eaten immediately or hydrated.
Hydrating tomatoes is also a very simple process, because all you have to do is soak them with water (1 hour if the water is cold or 20 minutes if it's hot). After soaking, allow them to drain a little and then they'll be ready.
The choices are endless: prepare them with olive oil, garlic, basil or other herbs. The versatility of dried tomatoes is one of their best features, and they can be used however you want.
The summer months are the best time to prepare dried tomatoes since they can be bought at a better price. The most delicious variety of tomatoes to use is typically pear tomatoes, since they're not too large, fleshy and usually no chemicals are used in their cultivation.
Make your own dried tomatoes and discover the all of the wonderful, flavorful possibilities to give a nice touch to your meals!