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There is no technique, there is just the way to do it…

…as Francis Mayes tells us from Under the Tuscan Sun. The true origin of the first sun-dried tomatoes is unknown, but we do know that the Italians dried tomatoes on their tile roofs in the summer to use in the winter months when fresh tomatoes weren’t available. Keeping up with their traditions of cooking bountiful feasts, the Italians came up with “the way to do it”.

Fast forward to the eighties and nineties when sun dried tomatoes gained popularity in the United States. These little bursts of flavor made their way into pasta dishes and salads. Unfortunately, the overuse and old methods left them black, dried out and salty. They became just another item in the bin section at the store.

We’ve developed a process using only the freshest, vine-ripened California grown tomatoes. It will require up to 21 pounds of fresh tomatoes to give us only ONE pound of sun-dried tomatoes. That’s a lot of tomatoes!

At the peak of ripeness and flavor, the tomatoes are delivered to our drying facility. There, the tomatoes are washed, cut in half, and placed on large drying trays. The drying trays are then distributed throughout our 27 acre drying facility to actually dry in the sun for a period of 7 to 10 days.

When the tomatoes reach just the right moisture level, we gather them up and send them to our packing facility. These little sun-kissed beauties are concentrated sources of nutrients filled with vitamin C, K and lycopene, they are an antioxidant associated with lower risk to certain cancers.

Today we have been seeing a re-surge in sun-dried tomatoes in a variety of cooking and as a quick low-carb, gluten free snack!

If you love to cook, try some of our favorite recipes via Food and Wine:

Keep sharing your recipes and photos with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a chance to be featured on our page! Make sure to tag #CaliforniaSunDry

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