Sun-dried tomatoes are easy to buy at the store, but turns out they're a cinch to make at home. My recipe is for making a small number of sun-dried tomatoes, but as long as you've got oven space, why not double or triple the number of tomatoes you dry?
Once the tomatoes have dried out, you have two options: you can store them dry, in a baggie, or in garlic-infused olive oil. I haven't given instructions for safely canning sundried tomatoes in oil--I store them in oil in the fridge anyway. —Cara Eisenpress
Preheat oven to 200°F. Place a metal rack on a baking sheet.
Cut each tomato in thirds lengthwise. Each slice should be about 1/3-inch thick.
Sprinkle salt on the cut sides of the tomatoes--not more than you'd want to eat though! Line a cutting board with a dish towel or paper towels and place the tomatoes on top. Top with another dish towel and another cutting board. Weight with a heavy cookbook or two. The Food52 Cookbook or Essential New York Times Cookbook are good options. Leave for 20 minutes. This helps get some of the tomato's juices out early, before they go in the oven.
Remove the tomatoes from the cutting board sandwich, dusting off any salt that hasn't dissolved, and place them on the rack, with at least 1 inch in between. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme.
Bake for about 5 hours, until the tomatoes are dry to the touch and have wrinkled around the edges. You can really decide how dry you want them--as dry as raisins? or do you want to leave a little plumpness? Watch them (and try them) as they cook, and decide for yourself. When done, remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
If you're going to be storing your tomatoes in olive oil, place the olive oil and garlic in a small jar while the tomatoes are cooking, and let the garlic steep to flavor the oil.
When the tomatoes are cool, add them to the oil.
If not using oil, store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
I'm the founder, editor, and head chef at the blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen (www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com), a site dedicated to easy-to-execute recipes and stories from a quarter-life kitchen. I'm also the author of In the Small Kitchen published in 2011.