Did you know that tomatoes are usually only harvested in the summer? During this time, tomatoes are at their best flavour and texture – they’re ripe and juicy and bursting with tartness and sweetness. But when the summer season ends, fresh tomatoes aren’t easily found, especially if you are looking for the best quality. The good news is that you can take advantage of sun-dried tomatoes even when it’s not tomato season and you want to serve something fresh and flavourful to your diners. But there are two basic kinds of sun-dried tomatoes: dry-packed and oil-packed. Here’s what you should know about both dry-packed and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, and how you can use both for your food business.
How they are made
First of all, it would be good to have an idea of how these kinds of tomatoes are made. The process is quite similar to the process of making other dried fruit, actually. Tomatoes are simply left under the sun to dry, and this is where they lose a substantial amount of weight. Sun-dried tomatoes are usually made from plum tomatoes, although there are other variants. Another variation of the sun-dried variety is the semi-dried variety. Semi-dried tomatoes are actually plumper and juicier as well as suppler compared to sun-dried tomatoes, as they are only dried for about half the time of sun-dried tomatoes. They don’t need to be soaked before use, as confirmed by sun-dried tomato and semi-dried tomato supplier, www.kiril-mischeff.com.
Oil-packed versus dry-packed
Dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes are, as the name implies, sold without any oil. The fruit is simply dried and packed into packages or bins, and the texture of dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes is similar to regular dried fruit such as peaches or apricots.
Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, on the other hand, whilst dried much like the dry-packed version, are placed in oil once the tomatoes are dried. The oil can then sometimes be mixed with flavourings such as garlic and herbs. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes often come in jars, and they don’t need to be hydrated when you are going to use them for salads (unlike dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes). Both oil-packed and dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes don’t need to be re-hydrated if they are to be used for cooking.
Many chefs and restaurant owners prefer to use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, since they can be used as soon as they are taken out of the jar. Also, the oil can be used as a base for various dishes and salads, which allows chefs and restaurant owners to save on ingredients as well.
When it comes to flavour, the two – oil-packed and dry-packed – may have some flavour differences, especially since the oil-packed ones usually come with herbs and seasonings. But both can be used in salads, soups, pasta dishes, rice dishes, stews, and more.
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