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Table of Contents
Can You Freeze Dry Pears?
We All Learn From Some Where
One of the best things I can remember about one of my grandmothers is that she was a wonderful cook. I remember watching her make dinner rolls one time when I was little. She made them so perfectly and they tasted absolutely AMAZING!
But, she was very nervous and didn’t allow anyone in the kitchen with her for very long. I remember my mother saying that that is the reason she didn’t learn to cook, because her mother shooed her and her sister out all the time.
What my mother did pick up on her own, she taught me and actually gave me free reign to the kitchen to cook or bake any time. The things she did cook were good, but feeling a little inadequate, she didn’t enjoy being in the kitchen much.
Self-Taught is Self-Reliant
As a young married woman, I had friends who wanted to learn to can foods and I wanted to as well (I got a few basics from my mom like prepping beets for pickled beets and doing bread and butter pickles). So, my friends and I would get together when any of us had something to can and we’d all help each other and share recipes and teach ourselves and each other. It was fun, helpful and we all learned things to last us a lifetime and pass on to others.
Pears were one of those things that we’d get together and can–I mean BOXES of pears! They are easy to do and look so pretty in the bottles! I have canned pears every year for over 40 years!
Luckily, I have one of those husbands who can do anything. AND, he’s not afraid to get his hands clean! HaHa! Over those many years he was usually the one peeling the pears for me.
What Do You Do First To Freeze Dry Pears?
We still have our 2 little pear trees that give us about a box a year, but now instead of canning, I’m freeze drying in my HarvestRight Freeze Drier. You start out the same as if you were going to can them; first peel them, then put them into a bowl of cold water with a little salt in it to keep them from turning brown. Next, cut them in half lengthwise.
Now if you don’t have this little tool in your arsenal for preparing pears, you need to get one now, if you plan on doing them!
It’s a pear stem and core remover that works in one swift motion (see video).
For my large pears I’d slice three times –for small ones twice to make about 1/2″ slices. That size freeze dries perfectly in 29 hours.
I filled the first 4 trays and put them into the freezer. Then, because all of my trays were either in the freeze drier or in the freezer, I placed the pears on cookie sheets with parchment paper to freeze individually. Then I put them into gallon zip lock freezer bags so I could do more pears on cookie sheets. Hey, when you’ve got good volunteer help, you don’t let the process lag!
Don’t Forget Extras
I bought 12 HarvestRight trays and 12 of the silicone mats (not all at once, but as I felt the need) and I haven’t been sorry for one minute that I did! They are especially helpful during harvest time when everything needs to be done yesterday!
I have to admit, the ripeness of my pears caught me off guard this year because I was so busy with everything else. They are the most flavorful if you don’t let them get completely yellow –with Bartlett Pears, that is.
These freeze dried pears are soooo good! They are very light and crunchy, but as they sit in your mouth they turn into soft, smooth textured yummy-ness! What a great snack or dessert they will make, just as they are!
They are so great that I wanted to get another box, but it was a bit late for the Bartlett Pears.
Anjou Pears are Great Freeze Dried
I was still able to get some Anjou Pears from our friend Laura who owns White Gables Orchard in the Green Bluff Orchard area in Washington state. (If you’re in that area, stop in and get some of their wonderful apples and other produce!)
I’ve never tried Anjou’s before. They are a more solid pear –ones they use in restaurants in salads and for desserts because they don’t brown easily. They are nicer to work with because they are a firmer pear. You don’t wait for them to turn yellow to know if they are ripe –they won’t! They ripen from the inside out and the way to tell if they are ripe is to gently squeeze the top and if it feels like it’s getting soft, it’s ready! She said they are a nice pear and will freeze dry very well.
One other thing I wanted to share with you. Now that you are interested and most likely are into freeze drying, you’ve no doubt found that you are on your feet doing a lot of prep work, getting food ready to freeze dry. Bonnie and family gave my husband a wonderful birthday gift this year: an anti-fatigue mat. I loved it so much that I had to get 3 more! Get at least one and you can move it around where you need it. Your legs and body will thank you! It makes a big difference.
Well, whenever we would put food away as our family was growing, it was always a family affair. That way, the boys as well as the girls were comfortable and familiar with doing it. When you learn things at a young age, you retain them better and it’s gratifying for us now, to see them canning and preserving food for their own families. I think most of us have seen how fast the shelves empty with any emergency or devastation. Let’s be prepared for whatever comes our way!
HOW DO I FREEZE DRY PEARS?
Many people think it’s next to impossible to do the freeze drying for themselves. This is far from factual. Freeze drying at home is made easy by Harvest Right. They sell three different sizes of freeze-drying machines that do everything in the machine – except prep and package.
That’s up to you.
For all intents and purposes, here at Freeze Drying Mama we use the medium sized freeze dryer. You can check out the sizes offered at Harvest Right here.
What this machine does is first freeze the items on stainless steel trays to -41 degrees or lower. This takes about 10 hours or so.
Then a vacuum pump turns on and creates a vacuum inside the drum. This is the drying stage and will vacillate the heat of the tray up and down to a pretty warm temperature. This makes the frozen items release any water in them in vapor form. The vacuum sucks the moisture to the drum. This collects in ice form on the inner circle of the drum.
Then there’s the final dry which is essentially the same thing, but with a time associated with it and an end in sight!
WHAT SETTINGS DO I USE TO FREEZE DRY PEARS?
On the Harvest Right freeze drier – this works on all sizes – after putting the trays inside the drum on the shelves, I put in the drum cover and then tighten the handle as I lock it shut. On the computer touch screen, I selected START > NON-LIQUID > NOT FROZEN > CONTINUE. After inputting the settings and making sure my drain tube was closed, I walked away.