Dried tomatoes may look spicy - but they're not.

The color and appearance of dried tomatoes may resemble a chile pepper, says Ruth Waltenspiel, owner of Timber Crest Farms in Healdsburg, Calif. However, when harvested for drying, the tomatoes contain 5 to 7 percent natural sugar, making them sweet and flavorful.Dried tomatoes are available commercially as minced bits, dried tomato halves or marinated in olive oil. The following suggestions for using dried tomatoes are provided by Timber Crest Farms, maker of Sonoma Dried Tomatoes:

- Add a sprinkle of tomato bits and freshly chopped herbs to scrambled eggs before cooking.

- Add tomato bits, sliced ripe olives and capers to your favorite potato, egg or chicken salad.

- Add tomato bits to cheese sauces for bright flavor. Serve over steamed vegetables.

- Add 1 or 2 tablespoons tomato bits and a clove of minced garlic to the cooking liquid for rice pilaf. Season with lemon zest and chopped green onions.

- Stir tomato bits into macaroni and cheese before baking.

- Beat tomato bits into softened Neufchatel cheese with fresh or dried basil. Stuff into celery sticks.

- Puree reconstituted tomato halves with fresh garlic, dry mustard and freshly ground pepper. Mix with mayonnaise and thin with milk. Drizzle over crisp greens.

- Arrange reconstituted tomato halves between layers of sliced potatoes before baking.

- Add a handful of reconstituted tomato halves, some chopped anchovies, minced garlic and parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil to hot cooked pasta. Toss well and serve.

- Skewer marinated tomatoes on toothpicks with small cubes of Swiss or Fontina cheese.

- Puree marinated tomatoes with ripe olives, garlic and marinating oil; use as a spread for roast beef or turkey sandwiches.