29 October 2014

Drying Some Pears

The old pears trees have a bumper crop this year.  We stopped and picked up a 5-gallon bucket full the other afternoon.  These pears are Keiffers, an old homestead variety.  I am attaching a link to a site I found that can give you more information on the fruit:  http://www.ediblecommunities.com/louisville/august-september-2014/in-the-garden-key-to-tasty-kieffer-pears-chillin.htm

I've learned over the years, that these pears are hard as a rock when you pick them or grab them up off the ground.  To make them ready to eat or preserve, I placed them in a couple of cardboard boxes and closed the lids.  After just a few days, they ripened nicely.  In the photos below, you can see how I processed them.  A couple of notes on the process:  While using my apple peeler to slice the fruit, I held the paring blade back so that it would not make contact with the fruit.  The ripe pears were too soft to peel and the peelings are good on the dried fruit.  So, as I cranked, I was simply coring and slicing the pears.  Next, they went into a bath of good old 7-UP !  The citric acid in the drink helps to keep the sliced fruit from turning brown on the trays and the residual sugar only enhances the fruit's natural sweetness.  If you don't like using soda pop in the process, a weak solution of lemon juice and water also works well.

Processing pears for the food dryer

I held the paring blade away from the soft pears as I cored and sliced them.

After a few minutes in the 7-UP bath, the slices were arranged on the dryer trays.

Here is the sliced fruit in the dryer, ready to close the door.
The dried pears are tasty and just one more way of using what you have on the home place.  My wife also plans to make a batch of what we call "pear honey", sort of a pear version of apple butter.

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