Jul 6, 2023
Pears are a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. They’re also an essential source of potassium, a nutrient falling short in the US diet. Moreover, they’re available all year round, affordable, and can be eaten as a snack. However, they can only last for up to 2 weeks. So, how can you make pears last longer so you’ll have a delicious snack whenever you want? By freeze-drying them and have a crunchy, nutritious snack without worrying about storage.
Preparing the pears for freeze-drying is easy once you got a process going.
The first thing you need to do is to wash the pears. Resist the temptation to have a bite after picking or buying them because they’re part of the “Dirty Dozen.” In 2022, Pears was among the 70% conventionally grown produce with detectable pesticide residue. In a study, Salmonella spp and Listeria monocytogenes were detected on freshly harvested fruits.
To properly clean pears, spray them with a vinegar solution. Use 1 part vinegar (distilled or apple cider) to 4 parts water and place the solution in a spray bottle. Put the pears in a container and spray the solution on every fruit. Let the fruits rest for 5 minutes, then wash them under running water. Use a vegetable cleaning brush to help remove the dirt, especially those hiding at the tips and ends of the fruit.
After cleaning the pears, you can either peel them or leave the skins on. Whatever you choose, remember that they have a core that holds their seeds. You can take the cores out, similar to how you take out cores from Fuji apples. Afterward, you can slice the pears into wedges, cubes, or circles.
Whatever you choose, just make sure the fruit doesn’t go thicker than 3/4 inch. Thicker slices are harder to freeze dry and are often left with a wet center.
As you prepare the other pieces of fruit, soak the slices in lemon water to keep them from browning. But if browning is not an issue for you, feel free to go on with your cutting and slicing without soaking.
One person suggested soaking the pears in 7UP because of the lemon and lime content. Although doing this can also enhance the flavor of your pears, you’re also putting unnecessary chemicals into the fruit.
We always say pre-freezing is optional, and it’s true. You don’t have to pre-freeze pears because your freeze dryer’s colder than your deep freezer. Still, pre-freezing can help shorten your freeze-drying time. It can also help keep your food when you’re backed up with trays to freeze dry.
When you pre-freeze, use the same trays that you’ll be freeze-drying them in. If you don’t have spare trays, you can pre-freeze the pears in a freezer-safe bag. When it’s time to freeze-dry, ensure the trays are also as cold, if not colder than your fruits.
Another thing is to pre-cool your freeze dryer. The chamber temperature should always be stable for efficient freeze-drying. Since your pears and trays are cold, your chamber should also be cold. Pre-cool the chamber until it reaches -8°F (-22 °C) or lower.
Harvest Right freeze dryers now make it simple for households to freeze dry pears.
Pears are made up of 80-89% water, so it may take 26-38 hours. Some, though, experienced their freeze dryer running for 60 hours. What could be the reason? There are several factors, like:
How you store your preserved fruit is important. For example, your freeze-dried pear can last for 25 years or more if stored properly.
Mason jars are great reusable and resealable containers that keep away air and moisture. However, they do take up space, are heavy, and can break easily.
Mylar bags, on the other hand, are most recommended for long-term storage. They protect your freeze-dried pears from air, moisture, and heat. The bags are very lightweight, durable, and space friendly. If you want to bring your processed fruit on trips, the best way is to bring it in a Mylar bag.
Before sealing, put 1-2 of the 300cc oxygen absorbers for every gallon size of your containers. Oxygen is one of the major causes of food spoilage and degradation. By adding oxygen absorbers, you remove residual oxygen from the container. This way, you keep your freeze-dried food fresh and safe to eat for years.
You don’t have to freeze dry pears as they are. Instead, you can experiment by adding spices like cinnamon, ginger, or chai spice.
Be careful when giving freeze-dried pears to kids. The fruits have fructose and sorbitol, which are known to cause diarrhea in children.
What variety of pears do you plan to freeze dry? Please tell us why you chose them in the comment section.