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