The tomatoes are dried by placing them in the sun to remove most of the water content. It takes approximately 8 kilos/20 pounds of fresh, ripe tomatoes to dry down to just one pound of sun dried tomatoes. The tomatoes dried using this technique have the same nutritional value as the fresh tomatoes they are made from: they are high in lycopene, antioxidants, vitamin C and low in sodium, fat, calories and a very tasty mouthful.
Fresh are tomatoes are sliced and placed in the hot sun on specially prepared surfaces on the flat roof tops and for several days until they are dry. This process is still common in many of the villages today but with the popularity of sun dried tomatoes as a tasty ingredient in the US and Europe the tomatoes are dried in much larger quantities and under strict quality controls.
The region of Fethiye is one of the largest tomatoe producing areas in Turkey and offers importers of dried tomatoes a great business opportunity capitalising of the low production and labour costs in Turkey. Tomatoes dried under this process are used in a wide variety of recipes and are ideal for health food stores.
Interesting facts about tomatoes dried under the Mediterranean sun:
- It takes 8 kilos/20 pounds of fresh tomatoes to make one pound of sun-dried tomatoes
- Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which may help protect against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
- One medium sun-dried tomato can provide 40% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C.
- A diet rich in tomato-based foods has been linked to a decreased risk of prostate cancer.
- Sun dried tomatoes are low in fat, calories & sodium, and free from saturated fat & cholesterol.
- Sun dried tomatoes are high in vitamin A & C, and a good source of potassium.
- Fresh tomatoes are 93% water.
- One cup of raw sun-dried tomatoes has 8 grams of carbohydrates.
- Historically, Asians have used tomatoes to remedy ailments from asthma to cancer.
- Sun dried tomatoes are lipophilic, which means their nutritional value is increased by being cooked olive or hazelnut oil.
- Sun dried tomatoes are rich in vitamins and fibre.
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