Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Family Secrets

August 2010

For the month of August, I babysat my sister’s house and her car. While I did not want to develop a car dependency – unsustainable since the keys would be ripped from my fingers upon my sister’s return – I thought I might as well take advantage while I had the chance. The result was three jars of sun-dried tomatoes.

Here’s how it happened…

It all started when a simple wooden picture frame leaning against a goodwill drop box caught my eye. My immediate thought was a cold frame so I loaded the frame into the milk carton on the back of my bike and rode away daydreaming of leafy greens.

I was also babysitting my sister’s library card so I stopped in at the Dartmouth Library in search of a book on building a cold frame. By the time I emerged from the library (how long had I been there?), book in hand, I had decided to make a solar dryer instead of a cold frame.

Here’s what I did…

I cut a piece of window screening (not from my sister’s window of course) to fit the frame then nailed the screening to the wood frame using small nails in each corner. [Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo and the solar dryer has been dismantled in an attempt to destroy all evidence of my indiscretion.]

Next, I picked up some tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market. It is impossible to count how many times this season I have said “these tomatoes are like candy!”, referring to various types of local cherry tomatoes. It is thus no surprise that I decided to use local cherry tomatoes – various colors, shapes and sizes – to dry. I simply cut the tomatoes into two or three slices then tossed them with coarse salt before laying them out on the rack I had made.

Now the family secrets begin…

I laid down newspaper in the back window ledge of my sister’s car and then angled the rack at about 90 degrees in the back window. I parked the car facing the sun and left the back windows a crack open. In three to four days, I had sun-dried tomatoes. I did three batches before my sister arrived home.

Now, what should I use my sun-dried tomatoes for? Recipes are very welcome!

Yours in food, ???

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