Oven-Dried Pears

Oven Dried Pears

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  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Oven Dry: 10 hrs
  • Servings: 7 to 10 Servings
  • Yield: 1 to 1 Pound dried pears

Dried pears are a tasty, portable, and healthy snack. Combine them with fresh fruit to make compotes, or add them to yogurt parfaits, ice cream bowls, cake batters, homemade granola, or overnight oats.

Keep in mind that the more flavorful the fresh pears, the more delicious the dehydrated version will be. For the best oven-drying results, start with slightly under-ripe pears. Bartlett pears are great for drying, but any sweet pear that you can find will yield a fantastic end product.

Remember that dried fruit, although healthy, contains high amounts of sugar, so keep consumption to 3 ounces per serving.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pears (washed)
  • 1 gallon water
  • 6 tablespoons vinegar (or lemon juice)

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Fruit

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, mix the water and vinegar (or lemon juice) and set aside.

  3. Slice off the stem and base ends of the pears. Cut each pear in half and use a paring knife to cut out the cores and seeds.

  4. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp pairing knife to peel the pears.

  5. Cut the pears into slices or small chunks, whichever you prefer. In either case, the pieces should be no more than 1/4-inch thick.

  6. As you slice the pears, drop the pieces into acidulated water to prevent them from browning. Let the pears soak for 5 minutes.

  7. Drain them in a colander for 2 to 3 minutes to remove as much water as possible.

  8. Place the drained fruit on top of a clean kitchen towel and pat the pieces dry with paper towels.

Dry the Fruit

Although the drying process usually takes from 6 to 10 hours, it can take more depending on the initial moisture of the fruit and the oven power itself. Test the fruit as indicated in step 4 of the following process and add 1 to 2 more hours in the oven if needed.

  1. Turn the oven to its lowest setting, usually 150 F.

  2. Set some racks inside baking sheets and arrange the pear slices on the racks with space between them on all sides. This allows hot air to move around the fruit and dry it evenly.

  3. Place the pear-loaded baking sheets in the oven. Let the pears dry until they are leathery to crisp, which can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours. If your oven is hotter in some spots than others, turn the baking sheets around occasionally so that the pears dry evenly.

  4. Remove the trays from the oven and let the pears cool for 20 minutes. Then break one of the pieces of fruit in half. There should be no visible moisture along the surface of the break.

  5. If you see moisture, put the trays back in the oven for an additional 1 to 2 hours. Test again for moisture and repeat as needed.

Condition the Fruit

There may still be some residual moisture in the fruit. While it shouldn't prevent the fruit from being safely preserved and mold-free, you'll have a tastier, better product if you "condition" the dried fruit.

  1. Put the dried, cooled pear pieces into glass jars, filling them about 2/3 full. Cover the jars. Shake the jars a couple of times a day for one week. This redistributes the fruit pieces as well as any moisture they may still contain. If any condensation shows up on the sides of the jars, your fruit isn't dried well enough yet and it needs to go back into the oven on its lowest setting for an hour or two.

  2. Store the conditioned pears in airtight containers away from direct light or heat. It's okay to fill the jars at this point; the 2/3 full was just for the conditioning phase when you needed to be able to shake the pieces around.

  3. Enjoy!