The other day we had some so-called "Smokey Tomatoes" made by the company Belazu. They were very nice, but a 330g jar of them normally costs about £4.50, so with plenty of home-grown tomatoes available at present, I decided to make some myself. Fortunately I have a stove-top smoker. I described how it's used in a blogpost from March 2013, HERE.
For my first attempt at this I chose some just-ripe but still quite firm tomatoes (they were "Marmonde" ones). I cut the tomatoes into segments and arranged them on the rack of the smoker, which I had previously sprayed with a mist of olive oil to stop them sticking.
This method of smoking doesn't cook the food, it just infuses it with smoke, and it needs to be cooked or dried afterwards. Never having smoked tomatoes before I had to estimate how long they would need. In the end I gave them 7 minutes. Here is the smoker with the lid on, doing its thing:
The lid fits very tightly and you only see a few wisps of smoke coming out, but it smells very strong - in a nice way.
After the tomatoes had had their 7 minutes in the smoker I lifted them onto one of the trays of my dehydrator and sprinkled them with dried Oregano for an extra depth of flavour.
Then the machine runs for a few hours, gently drying the fruit.
I didn't want my tomatoes to be completely dry, just semi-dry and still a bit squishy and pliable. The length of time that it takes to achieve this texture depends on many factors, so it is just a case of testing them now and then and leaving the machine to run until the desired result is reached. Mine took approximately 7 hours, after which they looked like this:
I put the finished tomatoes into a jar, adding a bit more dried Oregano, and poured in enough olive oil to completely cover them. Of course the tomatoes shrank quite a lot as they dehydrated, so this batch only part-filled one large jar.
So what do we think of the finished product? A big success I think, in terms of texture, taste and colour - soft and gooey, and with deep rich smoky but still tomatoey flavour - and just look at the lovely golden colour! I'll be making these again.