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Tomatoes, that have been produced in Italy (and elsewhere in the Mediterranean), as a way of preserving them through the winter months.
In the last few decades, they have become popular and a trendy food item outside their homelands. This to the amazement of many 'native' gourmets - who don't regard them as special - just a necessary way of preserving them through the winter months.
The best, are naturally-grown, then salted and left to dry in the sun in nets.
Most, are now proceeded in factories, and dried with warm air, and seeing no sun.
In Britain, they're available in jars with oil, or loose (in the style of prunes) totally dried. The latter tomatoes, need soaking in warm water for about 20 minutes, before they can be used.