Sunday, October 20, 2013

Drying Apples and Asian Pears

I love drying fruit at home - it's easy, and the flavor is like nothing you've ever tasted in dried fruit from the store.

Our little Asian pear tree, planted a few years ago, produced its first harvest of any size this year. The pears are delicious fresh, but we had a few more than we could eat before they would start to get soft and lose their flavor, so I wanted to try drying them. To get a full dehydrator load, I added some apples - they can be prepared the same way and take roughly the same amount of drying time (the apples dried slightly faster than the pears).

If you've never had an Asian pear, they look a bit like apples - rounder than the classic European pear we mostly see around here - and they are crisp rather than soft. The skin is edible but usually a bit tough, so it's best to peel them for eating.

For both apples and Asian pears, the way to prepare them for drying is to peel, core and slice to about 1/4-inch thick. The easiest way I have found to do this is using an apple machine - you can find these at many stores with kitchen supplies (around here, Wilson's and also the Farmers Coop, among others) - that peels, slices, and cores all at once.

Spread the fruit out in a single layer on the dryer trays and dry for 6-8 hours (maybe slightly longer for the pears), until the fruit is completely dry but still pliable.

No comments: