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. 😉
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.
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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