We’ve all had those days where a line-up of cooking and baking projects have left the kitchen upside down, with every mixing bowl dirtied and an army of utensils soiled. With any luck, there’s a empty spot on the countertop on which to set a wine glass or a coffee cup (depending on how you choose to face the mess) and then there is no other choice but to wade in and get it done.
These days, I am having more of those situations than I care to disclose. With recipe development for the cookbook in full swing and late-summer canning projects tucked around family meal prep, it is difficult to stay on top of clean up, even though I aim to ‘clean as you go‘ every time.
Danny is usually an amazing help with dishes, but all last week he was laid up with a badly sprained ankle, and I was on my own – not just for the pots and pans, but for all children and household duties. Whew!
Which is why, at 8-o-clock in the evening, when faced with several pounds of peaches and tomatoes to preserve, I decided that semi-dehydrating them was the best course of action.
After bathing three kids and tucking them into bed, I had worked from 7 to 8 pm to get the kitchen back to zero. Earlier in the day, I had every intention of putting up the peaches in syrup and canning a few jars of crushed tomatoes once the house had settled in the evening. But that night I just didn’t have it in me.
Good thing, because these slow roasted tomatoes and peaches are fantastic.
That night I gave my fruit a quick bath in a sink of cool water with a splash of fruit & vegetable soak to help remove pesticides and dirt, then I drained and dried them and got to work. It didn’t take long to slice both peaches (freestone!) and tomatoes and lay them on wire racks. Then I left them in a slow oven to dry overnight and my work was done.
This is a completely hassle-free method to preserving. I can’t call them ‘dehydrated’ because they still have a little juice left in the center – which is how I like them. For this reason, they need to be frozen when completed.
Some like to remove the tomato seeds first, or add garlic as Alana has in this recipe on Serious Eats, but it is totally up to you. You can flavor the tomatoes with herbs and the peaches with cinnamon, or leave them in their perfect natural state.
Slow roasted tomatoes have made an appearance before in the form of cherry tomato bites, and today’s version using the larger Roma tomato can be enjoyed in the same ways. You can freeze them in airtight bags, plastic containers or jars.
I chose to pack some in olive oil once and tuck them into to freezer, where they will keep for about 6 months. Just in time for winter pizza toppings.
Plenty of you chimed in on Facebook and Instagram to sing your dirty kitchen woes; perhaps you too can still preserve a piece of summer without dirtying more dishes or firing up the old canning pot. After today’s post, I’m fairly certain that you will want to.
|Oven Dried Peaches||
- freestone peaches
- (optional: cinnamon sugar)
- Slice peaches in half and remove the pit. Place on a wire cooling rack fitted onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar, if desired.
- Place the tray in the oven and set oven to 150F or lowest setting. Leave overnight to dry, or up to 18 hours, depending on the size and the ripeness of the peaches.
- Check periodically and taste test. Once peaches are sufficiently dried, remove from oven and cool. Package in ziplock bags or jars and freeze for up to 6 months.
|Oven Dried Tomatoes||
- ripe tomatoes (I used Romas, but any will do)
- olive oil
- (optional: fresh herbs)
- Wash, core and slice tomatoes in half. Arrange on a wire cooling rack fitted on a baking tray and lightly drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle a few chopped herbs over top of the tomatoes. I love to use thyme or oregano.
- Place the tray in the oven and set oven to 150F or lowest setting. Leave overnight to dry, or up to 12 hours, depending on the size and the ripeness of the tomatoes.
- Check periodically and taste test. Once the tomatoes are sufficiently dried, remove from oven and cool. Package in ziplock bags or jars and freeze for up to 6 months. Alternately, pack in olive oil in small jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, and freeze for up to 6 months.
Will you be dehydrating any fruits this fall?