Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dried Pears

I got a food dehydrator for Christmas. This opens up a whole dried food world to me. I've been experimenting with canning, and trying to preserve local produce when it's in season. My mother in law has several fruit trees on her property, and has made dried pears for my daughters. They taste like candy, and the kids eat them up.
I bought 4 pounds of pears today at Berkeley Bowl. They were .79 cents a pound- not great, but certainly good for January. I prepped them by peeling, coring, and pulling out the woody stem. I use a melon-baller to core the pears, works really well. I sliced them length-wise into 3/8 in slices, then tossed them with the juice from 1 lemon. Then I laid them on the racks of my machine. Here they are all ready to go.

I set them at a temp. of 135 degrees, then ran the machine for 5 1/2 hours. After about 2 hours, we decided to set up the machine in the laundry room, because it's kind of loud. Here they are all done.

I let them cool a little, then put them into little ziplock bags, then into the freezer. This will help them keep longer. It wasn't until they were done that I thought I should consult my preserved food bible, "Putting Food By", by Greene, Hertzberg, and Vaughn. They advised changing the temperature during the drying process. I'll have to try that next time. I went by the manufacturer's instruction this time. The recommended drying time was "6-16 hours". I think I can do a little better than that.

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