Drying pears - natures best candy!

Pears are great when dried! Frequently people talk about drying a host of fruits but the best dried fruit I have are pears. Pears are very thick which makes them difficult to juice so they are better dried. We cut them thin and leave the peel on to preserve the most nutrition we can. These were dried at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 14 hours. The drying time is largely dependent on the water content of the fruit. These will never make it to the refrigerator! The majority of our dried pears go into the freezer for winter storage. These are a few pictures of the process taken throughout the year.

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What pear is that? Keiffer?

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Yes those are improved Kieffer. They are as sweet as store bought Bartlett this year. The summer was hot and dry for the most part in Kansas during their ripening time! Normally they are to blan for drying and used only for canning.

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Do you dry them right after picking, or do you let them sit in the fridge and/or on counter? I have not yet dried pears but my crop is getting bigger every year and I may have my first overload next year.

This year there are few enough and they are good enough fresh eating that its hard to want to dry them. Yesterday I was eating outstanding Magness and Aurora pears, WOW! I think I may be a bigger fresh pear fan than fresh apple fan.

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I dried a small bunch of Asian Pears from U-pick orchard. They taste even better than candies! The pears were very juicy, but they dried fine and are really tasty this way. Now I want to grow my own pears since I know how to best use them.
By the way, I have the memory from my childhood about wonderfully tasty dried pears. They were small whole dried pears with stems and skin, with soft and brown flesh, very sweet. My mom bought them one time, but they were so good that I still remember them.

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Scott,
The flavor of most pears does drastically improve from drying them. I have never tried to put them in cold storage prior to drying but they might be even better. We put them in cardboard boxes to finish ripening and remove the ripe pears daily. We had 8 boxes ripening and are now down to one box left. I have so much pear fruit we eat them, juice some of them into pear nectar, make pear honey, canned pears with nutmeg and cinnamon, dried pears, cooked pears, put them in cold storage etc… This year we still have the improved Kieffer crop ripening inside and a small number of duchess left on the tree. Drippin honey has our cold storage so full we don’t have room for any other pears. DH pears are incredible this year! We love pears but every member of my family cannot eat another pear at the moment. We have eaten hundreds of really good quality pears. Magness and Aurora I would imagine are excellent. Those are legendary pears in the same class as Comice.

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Antmary,
That’s a wonderful story from your childhood! Dried pears are a luxury few have partaken in.

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Memories like that are so special, that is how I remember my grandmothers canned fruit

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@scottfsmith,
I can’t just say those pears you grow are very high quality and comparable to comice without an explanation. Here is a description from cummins http://www.cumminsnursery.com/pear.htm
"AURORA Exceptionally high quality – maybe the world’s best. This is a dessert pear that has large, regular fruit. Skin is bright yellow, lightly overlaid with a beautiful russet, frequently blushed. Keeps well in storage until December. Flesh is smooth, melting, and juicy, with a sweet aromatic flavor. The tree is vigorous and spreading. The only problem with Aurora is its susceptiblity to fireblight. From the Marguerite Marillard x Bartlett cross; introduced by the Geneva station in 1960. "

"MAGNESS This pear was released by the USDA in 1968 as a very high quality dessert pear that will survive under heavy fireblight pressure. Sometimes tardy to start bearing, but the fruit quality makes up for the light early cropping (branch-spreading will significantly help). Mature trees are productive if good pollination is provided. Magness ripens a week after Bartlett. Excellent keeper. Seckel x Comice. "

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Dried some bosc and seckel. Incredible!! Thanks Clark!!

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Chikn,
Glad you liked them! They are addictive!

Going to do a bunch more today. Can’t hardly believe how drying improved the flavor of the pears, seckel is my preferred but bosc was good too!

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They haven’t had a pear if they haven’t had a dried pear!

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Sure makes a difference for apricots!

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LOL! Now you guys have me wanting to buy a fruit dryer even more, and I don’t have a place to put one. I do want one though. LOL!

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Ya me too. I’ve got some nice Bosc and Comice in the fridge. More than I can eat. And they are hard to sell at the farmers market because I’m never sure what to say about ripeness/ripening needs.

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I’ve eaten gallons of dried pears and still have some! Best candy ever!

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How does one make “pear honey”? Sounds delicious.

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We used to sometimes get dried pears as a child, and they turned me off. They lacked flavor, had a poor texture, and were only mildly sweet.

This year we dried Bosc pears. What an awakening. The first couple batches we did with the pears still quite firm, and the dried pears came out pretty good. But the ones we did in the coming weeks, when the pears were soft, are as you guys describe. Candy.

We ended up with about 4 packed gallon bags. They’ve been gone for weeks.

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Clark any idea how long dried pears can be at room temperature as opposed to the freezer? I’ve been enjoying some dried persimmons and mangos from TJs recently and at least the persimmons were unpreserved. I wonder if the shelf dates might vary depending on the variety and amount of moisture left.

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