Drying & Freezing Fruit

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I will show you some pictures of what I’m drying. My dehydrator has been going non-stop for a week. I only have the 3 trays that came with my American Harvest Snackmaster Dehydrator, which was given to me by a friend. I posted on Craig’s List yesterday that I am looking for more of these trays. To purchase them retail, they would cost $19.95 for 2 trays. I’m not willing to pay that much. So I’m hoping someone will have trays just collecting dust that they’ll be willing to pass on to me.

Here are Barlett pears from a local organic farm. I’ve been able to buy them for 50 cents per pound, which could only be beat if I had my own trees. In case you can get them cheaper, please don’t tell me. ;)

dryingpears.jpg

To dry the pears, I am following the directions in my book, Dry It! You’ll Like It! The only part of the pear that I remove is the stem. Then I cut the pear into 1/4 inch slices — fruit, core, seeds and all. They take between 1 and 2 days to fully dry at 95 degrees.

Then these are plums from that same local organic farm. I paid 70 cents per pound. They call this variety Prunes. I’ve always thought that prunes are the dried form of plums, but apparently Prunes can apply to a variety, too.

prunes.jpg

Since my book said that smaller pieces dry better and are more nutritious in the end, I am drying the Prunes as wedges instead of wholes or halves. First I cut each Prune in half, pop the seed out, and then cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges each. This is my first batch; I filled 2 of the trays with the Prunes. I’m sure they will be good, because the fresh Prunes are deliciously sweet.

I also purchased Santa Rosa plums for freezing. So far, I’ve put 2 gallons of that variety in the freezer. I cut them in half, popped out the pit and put them in freezer bags. My friend told me they freeze beautifully. Those are dedicated for smoothies throughout the winter.

It has been fun this year to test different local varieties. When we’re ready to plant our own trees, we will definitely plant Santa Rosa plums. They are very sweet with a deep red color and a great texture (not too mushy).

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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Wardee,

    Well, I got my pears yesterday. I will be loading up a couple of racks on my dehydrator this morning with some of them……we saw dried pears at Casa De Fruta on our way to Monterey the other day, and they looked so good, then I come home to find this post on your blog and KNEW that this was something I’d have to give a try! Did you dry them until they were crisp?

    Also, did you treat them with lemon juice? Or a lemon juice and water mixture?

    Lori, I didn’t treat them with anything, just cut 1/4″ slices. They turned out thinner than I planned, somewhat crispy, but really, really good… Hope you enjoy yours!

  2. says

    They look good. I haven’t dried pears or plums. I have a few apples that I need to dry. Tis the season to dry! LOL

    Thank you, Michelle. The dried plums/prunes are really good especially. We had some with our packed lunch yesterday. I would like to dry some apples, too. What do you do with your apples — slices, leather?

  3. amygirl says

    When you dry them for 2 days at 95…do you leave it overnight or turn it on again the next day? i have the same dehydrator but have only ever dried things for the day. I’m thinking i probably did at a higher temp but I am not sure. just makes me nervous to keep it on all night. Mostly I dry pears however Andrew really wants some “wonka” fruit leather (there was an ad in a lego magazine) so i’m going to try that as well. If you have any hints let me know. I did buy the dry it cookbook as I do dry quite a bit and had never seen that cookbook. (I am a cookbook junkie.)
    amy

    Hi, Amy. Yes, I leave it on all night. We figured out that to run the dehydrator at our energy rates, one week non-stop costs about $10. Not insignificant. But still less than the cost of buying commercially dried fruits, especially if one has access to free or inexpensive fruit. You probably did do it at a higher temp because this dehydrator suggests fruit should be done at 125 or 135. That’s too high if you want to keep your fruit “raw”.

  4. amygirl says

    I have some pears in the dehydrator. Trying it at 2 days. I don’t think they will make it 2 days because we keep sampling! My primary thought was fire for running for 2 days. (I had a computer go poof and smoke up the house once so I’m just a bit wary.) Do you have any fruit leather tips? I have done it 1 time before w/ jam and it was way to sticky to eat. Do you put the leather rack on the top or bottom? Do you just use any jam? It looks as if from the Dry It! book that you can just use any regular jam.
    Thanks,
    Amy

    Amy, I haven’t done fruit leather and my copy of that book is loaned out. So if you figure it out, please let me know! P.S. Glad you’re liking those pears!

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