Preserving Tomatoes by Roasting

Sun-dried tomatoes? Sorry folks – I am not impressed. And my experience of trying to replicate Mediterranean sunshine by oven-drying – hmm, seriously underwhelmed. Sorry, Delia, … but no.

However, this little trick gives me what I EXPECT sun-dried tomatoes to taste of – a potent tongue-blast of concentrated essence of sunshine and summer.

By this time, I had used maybe half the box of gorgeous tomatoes from the Kashmiri shop down the road, but had no more freezer space and precious few jars left.

So … I tried this, and it wotks.


  • Real red-ripe tomatoes – LOTS


  • Line some baking trays with lightly oiled greaseproof paper or foil – anything to cut down the washing up afterwards.
  • Cut the tomatoes in half, and lay (cut side up) on the trays; season lightly with salt and pepper. Maybe a sprinkling of fresh thyme, oregano, marjoram, or rosemary; or even mixed dried herbs. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.
  • Pop the trays into a VERY slow oven, 120C/250F/Gas Mark ½, for five to six hours, until they have shrunk to about half their size, but are still moist and not leathery.
    • Tip – lay a sheet of foil underneath the trays in your oven, unless you enjoy cleaning the oven bottom and wiping up streams of sticky tomato juice leaking on to the kitchen floor!
  • When they are ready and roasted/dried to your liking, let them cool on their trays, and …
    • … fill a preserves jar with the tomatoes; top off with olive oil. I have one in the fridge – perfect to “spread” on a piece of good home-baked bread instead of butter, to eat with cheese. Or take a few to add to a meat or bean stew. Or … I guess I’ll find a few more uses pretty quickly!
    • … the rest? I popped them into the freezer; on their trays overnight, so that I could then put them in bags for future use.

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