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Dehydrated Pear Pieces

dehydrated pear bits in a bag dehydrated pear bits ready for storage (photo by jhy)
You will need:

Dehydrating bits of pear for use over the coming winter is really my favorite thing to do with too many pears. Since these keep very well, at least two years with no changes in color or texture (I think I've always used any that I had made within that time- they may keep longer), it's a perfect way to preserve the goodness.

I use these in the same way you might use raisins. I throw them on cereal, in salads, eat them plain, whatever. The texture is slightly chewy.

pear bits ready for dehydrating pear bits on the dehydrator tray (photo by jhy)
This works especially well for using pears that are less than perfect. If you are canning or freezing pear halves or quarters, you can always fill up a dehydrator tray with the sections that aren't good enough to give you those desired shapes. No waste!

Cut the peeled pears into bits, no more than 3/8 inch on a side. Preferably, if one side is a full 3/8 inch, the other dimensions might be 1/4 inch, but this isn't an engineering test. You just want to be sure that the pieces are thin enough that the centers will become leathery before the outside gets too dry. Do make sure that when you place them on the dehydrator trays that the pieces don't touch. This is important no matter what you are drying.

dehydrated pear bits in the dehydrator tray pear bits after dehydrating (photo by jhy)
Dry at 135 F for about 6-8 hours. The time is less important than how the bits look and feel. They should be shriveled and leathery all the way through. You don't want any soft, moist centers that still feel like raw pear. Those are what can cause mold and spoilage later on. You can see how much the pears shrunk.

The pieces tend to stick to the trays, but with these flexible nylon trays it's pretty easy to peel them off. For storage, I just put them in ziplock bags. If I'm going to put them in the pantry, I often double bag them to keep insects from boring in. When we were having some bad years with grain moths, I even vacuum bagged them.

Do label them, since they look exactly like apple bits later on!


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