Monday, September 20, 2010

Getting ready for winter

The days are getting shorter, the evenings cool the furnace is turned on a little more often and the grill just a little less.  Gardens are overflowing, well some of them anyway...  I have managed to get a few useful bits of produce from my backyard disaster and some from friends that feel sorry for me.  After I picked my chili peppers and received some tomatoes from my neighbors I looked at the counter and realized that I couldn't use all of this stuff before I was stuck with a mushy moldy mess.  This year I decided to try preserving them.  Years ago I tried canning but I ended up spending an entire weekend giving myself 2nd degree burns in order to make 6 jars of tomatoes that I was afraid to use (right after the canning weekend I took my Serve Safe classes and was reintroduced to the horrors of botulism).

This year I decided to try my hand at drying my extras, I love the flavor and texture of dried tomatoes and dried chili peppers are almost a no brainer!  I looked around a for some suggestions and came up with the easiest I could find.  Both were simple most of the work done while I was asleep.  The instructions for the chilies mostly suggested about 12 to 14 hours the tomatoes 8 to 10.

Here is how it went I cut the chili peppers from my garden in half lengthwise, laid them on a cookie sheet and put them into my oven on the lowest setting (170 degrees) when I got home from work one day; at about 9:00 pm the same night I cut all of my roma tomatoes in half sprinkled them with a little kosher salt and placed them open side up on another pan and put them in the oven next to the peppers then, here is the hard part... then I went to bed.

When I got up the next morning I turned the oven off and left these new treats in there for the day.  They came out perfect, the chilies dry and crispy the tomatoes the consistency of raisins, sweet and chewy.  We will see where they end up this winter.


  1. I've done tomatoes, Bryan, but never thought about drying chili peppers in the oven. They turned out beautifully! Thanks for the idea!

  2. Awesome first pic, there! I wish my jalapenos had thrived this year, but they didn't :( Jealous of yours.

  3. What a wonderful idea! My husband had a bad run in with peppers a few weeks ago. He burned his hands so badly, but we had a great jar of salsa at the end of it!

  4. I wish I had enough tomatoes that there would be left over... oh well, there's always next summer.

  5. Very cool ... It looks like it all turned out great. last year I ran across a recipe for sun-dried tomatoes that used your cars windshield. I like this better. cheers.