Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Meet the Italian Heirloom that is Meant for Sun Drying

 Meet Principe Borghese

After trying Principe Borghese tomatoes, you'll always have a spot for these little beauties in the garden.  These are a determinate bush that grows clusters of grape shaped tomatoes.  They are very fast growing and prolific.  This are one heirloom that is easy to grow.  One or two bushes will give you loads of these gems. Plan on staking them up. The fruit ripens fairly evenly on the spray and can be sold at farmers markets on the spray.

They are an heirloom from  Italy where they are sun dried.  Once dried the tomatoes can be reconstituted into sauces, pastas, or salads.  The moisture content of these tomatoes is low making them ideal for drying.  Principe Borghese is only an 1 to 2 inches but big in rich tomato taste. That taste is not lost when they are dried.   The fruits maintain their color and flavor when dried.  The size is ideal for drying, just slice in half.

I've tried other dried tomatoes and they do not compare.  This is the only tomato I dry. Since it is an heirloom you can save seeds and plant it every year.

Drying Tomatoes

Principe Borghese are easy to dry.  Just slice them in half and place them on your drying trays.  I set the dehydrator at 130 degrees.  Drying times will vary.  When they are dry put them in an airtight jar.

Ways to Use Sun Dried Tomatoes

 1. They are the perfect addition to pasta dishes.  I add the tomatoes to the pasta water the  last few minutes of boiling.  This allows the tomatoes to reconstitute.  

2.  You can powder dried tomatoes in a food processor.  The tomato powder can be used to make tomato sauce and tomato paste.

3.  Reconstituted dried tomatoes add some zing to salads.  I especially like them with olive oil based dressings. 

4. Make Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes and use them in all the sames ways listed above.

5.  Reconstitute and put on pizza.

Recipe for Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil
4 minced garlic cloves
1 Tbs fresh rosemary or 2 Tbs dried rosemary
1 small dried red pepper
2 cups dried Principe Borghese tomatoes
1 Tbs dried parsley
1 Tbs dried oregano
2 cups olive oil

Heat the 1/2 cup olive oil in microwave or on the stove top.  Add garlic, rosemary and the pepper.  Set this stand for 1 hour. Strain the oil.

Soak the dried tomatoes in boiling water to reconstitute. Let them stand til softened.

Drain the tomatoes and pat with a towel.  Try to remove as much moisture as possible.

Pack the tomatoes, parsley, oregano in a jar and pour in flavored oil.

You can keep this in the refridgerator for up to 6 months or you can freeze it.

Dried Tomato Salad Dressing

1 cup of drained tomatoes in olive oil  reserve the oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbs fresh parsley
1 Tbs fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano

Drain the tomatoes and chop in a proccessor until finely minced.  Add the rest of the ingredients and proccess until ingredients are combined.

Serve over salad, sliced cucumbers or fresh tomatoes.

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