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Where to Find Sun-Dried Tomatoes in Grocery Stores

Let’s navigate your local grocery store together and find the secret spots with the best sun-dried tomatoes.

There’s something exciting about finding a new ingredient in a recipe, especially one that packs as much of a flavor punch as the sun-dried tomato.

These sweet, tangy delights are culinary showstoppers, but they can often be tricky to track down in your local grocery store.

Not to worry, though!

Where Are the Sun-Dried Tomatoes in the Grocery Store?

We’re here to guide you through the maze of grocery store aisles, pointing out the three prime locations where you’re most likely to strike gold: the fresh produce section, the canned goods aisle, and the Italian foods section.

In the Fresh Produce Section

First, let’s start where you might not think to look—the fresh produce section.

Here, amidst a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables, you’ll often discover sun-dried tomatoes lurking in small, oil-filled pouches or containers. While they are not truly fresh, they are typically stored here due to their need for refrigeration.

Their unique selling point?

They come ready to toss into your culinary masterpiece, marinated in high-quality olive oil that’s often infused with delectable herbs.

Pro tip: Don’t toss that leftover olive oil; it works wonders in dressings, marinades, or as a delicious dipping sauce for a good, crusty bread. You can even use it to make Pasta Aglio e Olio!

In the Canned Goods Aisle

Moving on, our next stop is the canned goods aisle.

This is where sun-dried tomatoes rub shoulders with jarred peppers and olives. Here, you’ll typically find a range of options, from those drenched in olive oil to those that are dry-packed.

The dry-packed variety, sealed in airtight bags or containers, are the sun-dried tomato in its most concentrated form. Before using, you’ll want to rehydrate these in warm water or stock to soften their texture.

The payoff?

An intense, sweet and tangy flavor that’s a real game-changer in pastas, salads, and sandwiches.

The oil-packed jars, on the other hand, are a handy pantry staple, bringing both convenience and an extra depth of flavor courtesy of herbs and spices mixed in. After opening, these should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a few weeks.

In the Italian Foods Section

Finally, if your grocery store boasts an Italian foods section, don’t miss it.

This aisle often feels like stepping into a Mediterranean market, with gourmet ingredients left, right and center.

Here, nestled between pesto and pasta sauces, sun-dried tomatoes often make their appearance.

This section also offers variety, with tomatoes marinated with different seasonings or even stuffed with cheese—a veritable flavor fiesta for any food lover.

How to Select the Finest Sun-Dried Tomatoes

But wait, there’s more to it than just locating these sun-drenched treats.

Now that you’ve successfully navigated the grocery store terrain, the next step is making an informed choice.

Here’s the inside scoop on selecting the finest sun-dried tomatoes:

Let Color Be Your Guide: Hold up the packaging and examine the tomatoes through the light. High-quality sun-dried tomatoes sport a robust, deep red hue—not too brown or black. Those that appear overly dark could be over-dried or past their prime.

Test for Texture: Give the bag a gentle squeeze; the tomatoes should feel pliable. Whether dry-packed or oil-soaked, sun-dried tomatoes should boast a certain chewiness. Dry-packed versions may be a bit tougher, but they’ll yield to a softer texture when rehydrated.

Inspect the Packaging: Check for any leaks, tears, or bloating before buying. For both jarred and bagged sun-dried tomatoes, packaging integrity is key. A compromised package may affect product quality.

Evaluate the Oil: Read the label for oil type and inspect the oil visually for cloudiness. If you’re eyeing sun-dried tomatoes steeped in oil, check the clarity of the oil—it should not be cloudy. Furthermore, the oil type matters; tomatoes packed in extra virgin olive oil often have a superior taste to those in cheaper oils like sunflower.

Discern the Ingredients: Review the ingredients list on the back of the package. For a pure, undiluted flavor, opt for sun-dried tomatoes with minimal additives. Additional herbs and spices might introduce exciting flavors, but ensure they align with your recipe.

Tying It All Together

So there you have it, your guide to the sun-dried tomato expedition. Navigating the aisles of your grocery store needn’t be a daunting task.

Remember, whether they’re residing in the fresh produce section, chilling with canned goods, or adding an Italian flair, these concentrated bites of sunshine are worth the quest.

Look for a vibrant color, feel for a chewy texture, ensure the packaging is intact, check the clarity and type of oil, and review the ingredients list.

Happy hunting—and even happier cooking!

Know your author

Written by

Dim is a food writer, cookbook author, and the editor of Home Cook World. His first book, Cooking Methods & Techniques, was published in 2022. He is a certified food handler with Level 1 and Level 2 Certificates in Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering, and a trained cook with a Level 3 Professional Chef Diploma.