Dry tomatoes and other fruits to keep them in perfect condition for deliciously nutritious snacks right through winter.
Dried tomatoes are a classic of Italian cuisine and for sheer tastiness there are few better ways to preserve your surplus tomato crop. You can also dry apples, pears and apricots; and you can wow the kids by drying berry fruits into ‘fruit leathers’, perfectly preserved strips of dried fruit you can roll up into guilt-free sweets.
Cut tomatoes in half, then scoop out the seeds. Rub salt into the insides, then lay cut side down on wire racks. Pop these in an oven, preheated to its lowest setting (usually 50°C) for about 8 hours. Start checking from about 6 hours and remove any which are done – still a little fleshy but dry without being crispy.
To dry apples and other large fruits, wash, peel and core them, then slice them thinly and evenly. Place them on a rack and dry as for tomatoes. Make fruit leathers by cooking the fruit for 10 minutes, then sieving to make a puree: pour this over a baking sheet to a thickness of about ½ cm, then dry in the oven as above. All dried fruits keep for months in an airtight container.