On becoming The Armchair Homesteader

It seems to happen when the economy is down:  people want to turn back to the basics.  Whether its chickens, canning food, quilting, beekeeping, or something else, many of us want to turn back to the land and its comfort in turbulent times. I have decided to try once a week for the next year to try something, explore something, talk to someone about what they are doing in terms of living more sustainably.  Closer to the source is the phrase that comes to mind.

So, Week 1:

It’s that most wonderful time of the year:  local produce is abundant, really coming out of our ears.  But if you don’t do something about it, its gone for good. So much pressure!!

This week I got a bunch of small tomatoes in my CSA basket and, gosh, you can only eat so many cherry tomatoes in a salad. What to do, what to do? Luckily, with the power of Google, I found the perfect thing:  Dried Tomatoes!  I can’t really call them sun-dried and oven-dried does not sound very appetizing. But no matter the source of drying-ness, I love these things.

Here’s the secret recipe I found on Google:

1. Cut tomatoes in half.

2. Place on foil lined baking dish.

3. Bake at 200 degrees for 8-10 hours

These tomatoes are just right

4. Store in jar with olive oil or plastic container if you are freezing them.

It was easy enough, though I have to say that drying cherry tomatoes is a lot quicker than, say, roma tomatoes.  So per the instructions, I started checking them at 8 hours.  Big Mistake!!  They already were nearly black and very crunchy!  Back to the Farmer’s Market for more cherry tomatoes. I left the “mistakes” in a bowl on the counter, however, and they were gone pretty quickly.

These tomatoes below turned out just right after SIX hours.

I can’t wait to have these in the dead of winter.  Like pesto, they just remind me of summer, which right now is not a distant memory.  But in January or February, I will be glad I did this.

It’s almost embarrassing how easy that was, really.  The only down side that I see is that when you are done drying them, it doesn’t look like nearly enough.  I want more!

Hmm, what next?  Stay tuned.  I am on a preservation kick.  Thoughts, anyone?

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2 Responses to On becoming The Armchair Homesteader

  1. iurockhead says:

    Hi, sis.

    I dried my tomato crop in a dehydrator (WalMart, about $35) that I use for jerky. Came out good, flexible yet good and dry. I might put some in olive oil, that looks appealling.

  2. Todd says:

    Ha, I was going to say chicken jerky…but the other brother beat me to it, at least the jerky part. I’d second the dehydrator suggestion (easier than oven). Dry apples, peaches, plums (just don’t call them prunes), bananas, and my favorite, pears. Stays good in a ziplock bag, but to be sure, we also store in the fridge.

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