Pears.02 / oven dried pears

Temperatures plunged into the twenties last night, officially ending the growing season around here. Ruby and I ran though clouds of our own frosty breath to collect hundreds of green tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers. The rest will be be ok for a few more weeks. Even though the sneaky deer delighted in my open gate and helped themselves to the beet tops.

While I am always blue to see the garden mummify, I also feel relief and excitement as well. With the rows of tender plants officially crossed off my caregiving list, I get to shift my energy elsewhere. And, of course, begin dreaming of next year’s plot.

Anyway, pears! Oh to have a food dehydrator! Well, I don’t. And get by just fine with sunshine and an oven. I read several tutorials that suggested leaving the oven on with the door open over night and, while I am sure that works, the energy conservationist in me just can’t. So I decided to explore doing it my way and see what happened. In short: it worked really well!

Oven Dried Pears

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Slice whole pears in 1/8 – 1/4″ thick pieces. I didn’t remove the seeds or stems because I thought the seeds would likely fall out and the whole slices look pretty. And, I am all about cooking shortcuts always.

I suppose you could grease your baking sheet but I used parchment paper and placed the slices tight together. After a few batches I learned you can really pack them in. Shove those puppies into each other, overlapping slightly.

My oven has a wonderfully effective convection fan and I used it the whole cooking time. I imagine that sped up cooking time and increased thorough drying…so if you don’t have convection, this will likely take a lot longer.

Suddenly Margot and Ruby are cooking like crazy, all by themselves. Turning the stove on and off, prepping and making meals. While I was elbow deep in all things pear, Margot cooked eggs. Now we just need to work on the clean up…

I cooked the first batch for 4.5 hours and the second batch for 3.5. The first batch is more like chips and the second more bendy and leathery. We all prefer the second.

30 minutes cooked

2 hours cooked

3 hours cooked


Store in a jar in the fridge for many many weeks. If they last that long. xo

Comments (7)

Pears.01 > pear apple sauce

When I stand before trees weeping with a summer’s fruit, I experience a primal shift in my guts. I am energized, electrified, entranced. Like, I’m 100% in. No waffling. Attentive and certain.

My feelings are because of three things.

1. It is nothing short of wholesome wizardry. A bare, dry branch shoves out a bud in the spring. And that bud turns into a bee-laden flower. Hundreds of them. Three months later every single flower has morphed into a fistful of fruit.

2. I love the thrill of plucking plums, cherries, apricots, apples, pears, peaches. Even more, I love climbing to the highest branches that carry the largest, most colorful fruit. My legs get all scraped up as I ascend nature’s scaffolding into a honeyed storm of leaves, twigs and this winter’s nourishment for my family. I shake the tree and it shakes me back. We dance together and I laugh every time.

3. I get to do this mostly because of the generosity of friends and neighbors. People who share their abundance with me which feels so so lucky. Continue reading

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sick day

She threw up before she could even try the squash soup she asked for. The powerlessness and humility of being on knees, a fistful of her hair in my hand while she leans on the toilet, her body rejecting the little bit she ate that day.

She sleeps pretty well but I don’t. I’ve been wide awake for several hours every night this week. Tonight’s cyclical thought: did I close the chicken run all the way? Could a raccoon slip in there? At 1am, I reluctantly get up. I slide my feet into my red rubber clogs and trod to the coop under the huge, bright moon. It seems the moon has been full for days. It wasn’t all the way closed. I climbed into bed with her and she’s breathing fast. She’s hot. I refill the essential oil diffuser, move her body onto cool sheets, kiss her freckled eyelid.

google search: average breaths per minute 8 year old Continue reading

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hump day nuggets: your heart beating in your whole entire body

We’re home after many weeks away. My garden plot and laundry piles competing for attention. The garden wins.

The baskets make excellent forts anyway.

Continue reading

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Into the Great Wide Open

I’ve been saying and I’ll keep saying it. This summer is nuts. Company and travels have us rushing about more than we’re used to. All good things, all good things. But holy! Weddings, reunions, camping and adventuring have the Clines moving and shaking over these warm, river-dipped, suntanned months.

Our most recent adventure was a big one. Andy and I packed mules into the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Andy’s boss and our friend, Chris Eyer, has nine mules and three horses and dude is passionate about his craft: swaddling gear and packing with giant, beloved, hooved animals deep into the wild. Continue reading

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