From the employee-owners of Gardener's Supply

Sun-Dried, Dashboard-Dried, Homegrown Tomatoes

Dashboard-dried tomatoes

Mary shared this photo on our Facebook page.

Mary Ahrens of California shared this photo on our Facebook page. We were intrigued and asked her to share the technique:

“Well, I use a small cherry tomato type. I sort out the miss marks, over- and under-ripes, wash, cut them in half, put them skin side down. You can sprinkle dried herbs on them and put them on the dashboard of your car in the sun first thing in the morning, making sure it is in full sun all day.

“Typically you do not want to go anywhere that day and a half. I live in the San Joaquin Valley in California, so the car is a natural oven. I leave them in the closed-up car so nasty flies cannot land on them. I remove the small ones after a day and a half.

“I store them in the freezer in a Ziploc bag, I vacuum-seal it as much as I can. I would like to learn to can them in oil but I have not studied up on that yet.”

Another simple way to preserve tomatoes is to roast them. Food writer Jim Romanoff shares his technique in another blog post, Simple Roasted Tomatoes, where he offers several ways to use the results:

  • Coarsely chop them and toss with pasta along with some flavorful cheese, such as Pecorino or Parmesan.
  • Top a sandwich with them instead of using a high-fat spread such as mayonnaise.
  • Purée them with their skins to make an intense pasta or pizza sauce.
  • Chop them and add some fresh herbs to make roasted tomato salsa. The condiment makes an excellent accompaniment for grilled chicken or fish.
  • Use them to top a flatbread, along with some fresh basil, roasted peppers and part-skim mozzarella.
  • Purée them with chicken broth, canned white beans and some fresh oregano and thyme to make a quick, flavorful soup.
  • Chop them and scramble them with beaten eggs, sliced black olives, a few crumbles of feta cheese and some shredded prosciutto.
  • Make a tomato-infused hummus by puréeing them in a food processor with a can of chickpeas and a bit of garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.


  1. August 23, 2013    

    I love this idea! But my guess is that it might not work so well in the very humid conditions of a New England August. I’m going to try it with zucchini and also strawberries.

  2. Teresa
    August 23, 2013    

    Sure beats turning the oven on for endless hours to compete withe the A/C when it’s 90+ degrees outside.

  3. Brenda
    August 23, 2013    

    this should work with fruit like apples. My family loves dried apples in fried apple pies.

  4. Phil
    August 23, 2013    

    I might just try that! I might put a towel under the tray; I’m afraid of melting the tray onto the dashboard.

  5. August 23, 2013    

    thanks for the tip I like it, I will try this technique soon : )

  6. Deborah Coleman
    August 23, 2013    

    that is awesome!! I am totally trying it out this weekend- I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with = /

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  1. How To Make Perfect Sun-Dried, Dashboard-Dried, Homegrown Tomatoes? - Plant Care Today on September 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm

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