Dehydrated tomatoes have a rich bold flavor that when combined with olive oil and basil seems positively decadent. The tomatoes and basil infuse the olive oil which is lovely on salads, for dipping bread or drizzled over grilled peppers and eggplant. To learn how to dry tomatoes check out this post: How to Dehydrate and Oven Dry Tomatoes.
There is some concern when using oil to store vegetables. A friend who answers the Family Consumer Science Hotline at Iowa State University pointed me to this link from Colorado State Extension. Here's an excerpt about storing dried tomatoes in oil:
Dried tomatoes in oil are less of a safety concern than [low acid vegetables like garlic] mixtures in oil because the pH of tomatoes is generally 4.6 or lower. In addition, by drying the tomatoes, conditions become even less favorable to growth of C. botulinum due to a decrease in water activity. However, to ensure safety, it is recommended that all tomato in oil and herb in oil products be stored at refrigerator temperatures.
Store Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil with Basil
4 cups dried tomatoes (from about 12-16 cups fresh tomatoes)
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1 pint canning jar with air tight lid
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
Sterilize a pint jar by washing with soapy water and then pouring boiling water over the inside and outside of the jar. Boil the screw band and lid in hot water.
Once the jar is dry begin placing the dried tomatoes into the bottom. Use a clean skewer or spoon to pack the tomatoes together. Then add a couple sprigs of basil. Continue layering tomatoes and basil until the jar is full. Then pour olive oil slowly over the top.
Insert the skewer or the handle of the spoon down along the sides of the jar five to six times to force any air pockets out. Make sure the oil completely cover the tomatoes. Seal with the sterilized lid and band and refrigerate up to one month.
The bonus with packing in olive oil is you get both tomatoes and olive oil flavored with the dried tomatoes. The oil is great for salad dressing, dipping bread or making pasta.
It's tomato time here on my blog. This month I'll be looking at different ways to preserve and eat tomatoes. Check out my first post where there are lots of inspiring comments for how to enjoy tomatoes. I am also adding links to the tomato posts as they are published so you will be able to find them together. Check it out here: Tomato Recipes and Ideas
How do you cook with dried tomatoes or the oil they are packed in?