I know I’m not alone on this: I love to take advantage of great deals. Actually, I don’t really buy much unless I’m getting a good deal. As we’ve mentioned before, one of the main ways we cut down on food costs is by buying in bulk when possible. Whether it’s a side of beef, 20 whole chickens, a whole hog, or relatively large quantities of produce, you can almost always get it at a better price than when buying small portions at a time. So when Bountiful Baskets was offering 38 pounds of organic bosc pears for $29 last week ($0.76/lb), you better believe I jumped all over it!
Now obviously our family of five cannot eat 38 pounds of pears in the relatively short window that they’re beautifully ripe before they spoil…so after letting them ripen for a week, I got to work!
To do this, I pulled out my handy dandy mandolin, washed my pears, cut off the very bottom, and sliced them 3/16” thick. I could’ve easily done them ¼” thick and probably should’ve…but once I realized I was only at 3/16” I didn’t wanna go and switch things up. I didn’t even core them or peel them or remove seeds, I just sliced away. As I sliced, they fell into a bowl filled with filtered water (we have a reverse osmosis system under our kitchen sink) and the juice of half a lime (I didn’t have lemons, so lime it was). The acidity of the lime/lemon juice helps to prevent oxidation so they don’t turn brown right after being sliced.
Once I had all my trays filled, I turned my dehydrator on to about 125 degrees F and went to bed. I believe the timer was set to roughly 16 hours. They probably didn’t need that long, but I prefer my dried fruit less chewy/pliable, and I wanted to make sure they were all the way dry before it shut off while I was at work the next day. When I got home, the dehydrator was off and they were all done…dried pear perfection 😉
I still had a ton of pears, and I figured I’d like to do something different than just dehydrate all the ones we couldn’t eat. So I made a really convincing pitch to the hubby so he’d be on board with me buying a new toy. Didn’t take much convincing at all…all you really have to do is tie it into cost savings. “If I buy this awesome pressure canner/cooker that doubles as a water bath canner, we can save money by buying so many more in-season fruits and veggies in bulk and we can just store it all in the pantry for future use.” I’ve really been wanting to get into canning and expand the scope of my kitchen tricks…the time has finally come 🙂
Stay tuned for my first experience with canning! It’ll include a bonus recipe/tutorial for what I did with the pear scraps (peels and cores) leftover after prepping the fruit for canning!