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Smoked Tomatoes?

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I saw smoked tomatoes on a cooking show a while ago (In case you're wondering: Tyler's Ultimate, Pizza Episode, on Food Network). I'm wondering if anybody has any tips about them.

They were in Naples using them to make pizza sauce. The tomatoes were bigger than cherries but smaller than romas. The whole tomatoes were bound together in huge clusters, much like a braid of garlic. The amazing thing though was that several months after being picked and smoked, they were still juicy inside: they were nothing like sundried tomatoes but rather like preserved, intact, fresh tomatoes.

I tried Googling for info, but all I seemed to come up with were recipes where the tomatoes were cut up, smoked, and eaten immediately. I'm interested instead in the possibility of preserving fresh tomatoes without canning.

Does anybody have any info about these? Some things I'm wondering:
- How are these in recipes, especially compared to either truly fresh or canned tomatoes?
- How can I make them myself?
- What types of tomatoes would be best for this technique?
- Where can I buy them if I choose not to make my own (in SF or mail order)?

Thanks!

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  1. I'm not sure of the product you speak of, but a short while ago at my sister's place, I had smoked, semi sundried tomatoes in olive oil as part of an antipasto dish before the main. Now, I'm not a big fan of sun dried tomatoes on most days, but I couldn't tear myself away from these!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Phil

      That sounds good, but no, it's not what I had in mind.

      I've tried several dozen Goggle searches and have found nothing. Somebody over on the FoodTV forum was asking the same question and go no response. There does not appear to be any information in all of cyberspace on smoke-preserved whole tomatoes.

      If anyone ever comes across information on these, please share. In a Southern Italian cookbook, perhaps? I'm dreaming of the possibility of having seemingly fresh, ripe, juicy, non-canned tomatoes long into the winter!

      Or perhaps Tyler Florence is just leading me on a wild goose chase.

      -Nick

      1. re: nja

        I am not sure if these are what you are looking for but I saw this on Food Tv's Food Finds.

        Link: http://www.boggycreekfarm.com

        1. re: nja

          Have you found any information on how to string the tomatoes? I really would like to try this next year? Everyone is right, it is almost impossible to find instructions on this. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

          Karen

          1. re: denisekbar

            From looking at the video it appeared that the whole plant was pulled up with tomatoes attached and hung to smoke. I didn't want to sacrifice my plants since they were still producing heavily so I put the tomatoes themselves into a net bag and hung that. I think they would have done better laid in a single layer on a screen but room in my friend's smoker was at a premium.

            1. re: morwen

              Hope there will be regular updates....

              1. re: Shrinkrap

                The tomatoes are very tasty. They dehydrated a very little in the smoker so I put them in my dehydrator whole for a number of days. They did dehydrate a little more but never fully and I would have had to cut them open for that. They are extremely concentrated and sweet with a rich, smokey flavor. As I expected, I had to freeze them because they are no way near shelf stable.
                Next year I may experiment again more closely to what I've been able to glean for information. I *think* the tomatoes are hung to sun dry for several weeks and then go into the smoker for several weeks. That's a lot of wood chips and electricity for a small batch of tomatoes. I still haven't really determined if that smoking period is a hot or cold smoke. And I'm still pretty sure it won't result in a shelf stable product. But what I came away with this time merits another go.

      2. I don't know if you already found your answer, but I just saw that particular episode and had to look it up myself. Needless to say, I came up with very little, but I did find some info about the tomato on wikipedia:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neapolit...

        1. I know what your talking about! I just watched the show with tyler going to Italy and getting these smoked tomatoes in bunches. they used them to make a pizza. the smoked tomatoes I have found with my searches are sundried, the tomatoes we want are not, they are whole tomatoes tied together in a bunch, looks like red grapes except bigger. i want to find them too. help someone,

          1 Reply
          1. re: esteban

            I can't help you with the smoking part but the description you give of the tomatoes sounds like the Principe Borghese variety. It's an Italian heritage tomato that is larger than a cherry but smaller than a Roma and grows multiples on a trellis of 4-6 fruits. It's main use is sundrying. It has lots of meat and very little "snot". I have a dozen of them in my garden this year and they're loaded with fruit.

          2. I saw the same episode and became very curious myself. Please keep me in the loop if you have success finding more information from Tyler or the old Italian lady...
            I love the thought of eating smoke tomatoes, but would like some instructions how to do it first.

            1. I've been trying to find this episode online (I don't have cable TV) so I can get a look at these tomatoes. Could anybody post a link? I have lots of the type of tomatoes I think they used ripening and a friend who smokes pork weekly for a local restaurant who's willing to let me toss some into his smoker. I'd be happy to do a little experimentation for the cause.

              7 Replies
              1. re: morwen

                Here's a link Morwen if you're still keeping an eye on this thread.
                Personally, I think the whole video (along with part two) is worth watching, but if you don't have the time, the smoked tomato part starts at about the 8:50 minute mark.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYaJiG...

                  1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                    Thanks....but why is that dog in a cage?

                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      Maybe to keep it from eating those tomatoes that it looks like Tyler dropped on the ground as they were heading back to make the pie????

                    2. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                      From the very little info I could glean it seems like the tomatoes (and those look very much like the variety I was growing) are harvested and hung to dry for 2 months, then smoked for 2-3 months (Tyler gives each length of time in 2 different places). I've got to assume that this is a cold smoking given the length of time the tomatoes are in there. Sort of like smoking a cheese. Obviously the smoked tomatoes were then stored where there was plenty of air circulation in a shady spot but not at all in the dark. No mention of just how long they could be stored that way but I definitely wouldn't call them shelf stable. The smoking might slow down deterioration for some weeks but I bet they still would need to be used in a couple/few months time tops given their still plump condition.

                      Thanks for the link! I'd love to experiment with this but there's no way until I'm able to invest in or build my own smoker. Two months is a lot of time to commandeer my friend's smoker and he's smoking hot (the pork, not him....no offense Randy) anyway.

                        1. re: morwen

                          You're right.
                          Tyler's two descriptions of the process weren't worded very well.
                          My take on it (mostly because I can't see anyone smoking tomatoes for months) is that they are "lightly smoked" after drying (sun dried probably????) and the resulting product will then keep for months (hanging on the porch near the dog) .... maybe someone on CH lives near there and can go straight to the source to clear this matter up.