Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Got Pears? My Three Favorite Recipes, Plus How To Make Your Own Dried Pears


It's pear season! If you've never tasted homemade dried pears, you're in for a real treat—and they're so easy to make. As for pear recipes, these are still my three favorites, but they now include printer friendly versions. Enjoy!

Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter
This Really Easy Low Sugar Pear Butter is made in the oven (recipe here)

It's time to pig out on pears! They're cheap, they're plentiful, they're flavorful and sweet. They're also often available locally grown.

Unfortunately, they're also high on the Environmental Working Group's list of
Most Contaminated Produce, so it's especially important to seek out organic pears if at all possible. (There's a handy wallet-size and smart phone app of the EWG Shopper's Guide to the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 fruits and vegetables available free here.)

A good mature pear tree can literally produce several hundred pounds of fruit each year, so ask around. You might discover that a friend or neighbor would love for you to take a bushel or two off their hands. You can also search LocalHarvest.org for fresh pears near you, or find a U-Pick farm at PickYourOwn.org (which includes international listings).

More below. . .
100% Whole Grain, Moist Ginger Pear Bran Muffins (recipe here)

Of course nothing beats plucking fruit straight from your very own tree. If you're planning to plant your own little pear orchard, check out the comments section of this post on my kitchen garden blog, where readers piped up about their pear trees.

Once you've acquired some, what do you do with your pears? I did a lot of experimenting with pears a couple of years ago, and even though they aren't nearly as popular as apples, I found them to be as, if not more, versatile.

You can do all sorts of things with pears. I even tasted some pear wine once while vacationing in New England. This was back before I moved to a farm, and the word vacation was removed from my vocabulary.

Pear Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
Cozy and comforting, Easy Pear Apple Crisp (recipe here)

These are my three favorite pear recipes. Both the 100% Whole Grain Ginger Pear Bran Muffins and the Low Sugar Really Easy (and I do mean really easy) Pear Butter are perfect ways to use up bruised and battered fruit (which is sweetest kind), and the pear butter will quickly go through a mountain of it.

The scrumptious 
Pear Apple Crisp (who says an 8-inch square pan isn't one serving?) should probably be listed under autumn comfort food in the dictionary, especially if you serve it warm with some vanilla ice cream.

Another great way to use up a whole bunch of pears in a hurry is to dry them.

A food dehydrator can be a useful, worthwhile, and very affordable investment. My first dehydrator quickly paid for itself with dried tomatoes alone. I bought it back in 1995, and a couple of years ago I traded up to
this Nesco 700-watt model, which I really love. The adjustable thermostat, which goes from 95° to 160° F is great.

There are various methods for drying pears, some of which include pre-treating the fruit with an ascorbic acid solution to keep it from browning, but when I asked my foodie mom—who has dried many, many pounds of pears because her longtime beau came with a nice big pear tree—she said they just peel and core the pears, slice them thinly, and put them in the dehydrator until they're still soft and pliable.

When I asked her what they actually did with the dried pears and how to store them, she said, "We just snack on them. We keep them in a jar, but they taste so good, we usually eat them very soon!"

Mine didn't even last long enough to need the jar.

You can play around with the thickness of the slices to find out how you like them best. I also made some without coring the pears first; the large center pieces look really pretty but aren't all that practical for eating.

The only thing you don't want to do during pear season is get too greedy. When I stopped by on Monday to pick up our weekly two gallon order of fresh Jersey milk from a nearby farm, my conversation with one of the young milkmaids somehow turned to barnyard bloat stories.

She pointed to a large tethered calf grazing nearby (you can read more about bottle baby dairy animals—and see some really cute ones—in this post), and said, "That's Jersey, and yesterday she ate so many pears she got all bloated up! See that tire full of rocks she's tied to? It weighs 165 pounds, and while we were inside eating supper, she dragged it over to the pear tree and ate every single pear that was laying on the ground. We figure it was probably a bushel. She was huge!"

Bloat is a very serious and often deadly condition for ruminants, but thankfully by walking Jersey around and around the farm (which induces belching), they were able to save her. By the time I saw her the next evening, you couldn't tell anything had been wrong.

So go ahead and pig out on pears while they're in season, but just be sure not to cow out on them.

How do you like to eat your pears? If you've posted a favorite recipe on your own blog, you're welcome to include a link to it in your comment.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the tutti fruity foodie farm blog where pears eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs—yep, it's time for bed!

9 comments:

  1. Around our house we have a bushel or three or four that we could give away.

    But, hubby did start giving the horses one a day and they are luving them.

    I think I have everything on hand for the pear muffins and am really going to do my best to get some made this weekend.

    Thanks for the recipes

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  2. No, I do not got pears. Because the wind blew them off the tree and then the sheep ate them. I'm still depressed about this. I LOVE pears.

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  3. I definitely want to try those muffins! I like Fennel Pear Soup. It's a very delicate flavor, which isn't for everyone. But it is for me!

    PS I've been using your buttermilk dressing recipe a lot. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you for the great recipes. I love pears! I make pear crisp and pear/apple crisp each autumn. Sadly, my young Bartlett pear tree died after about 4 years of producing great fruit. (I think gophers got the roots even through the gopher cage.)I planted a new one that has not fruited yet. Perhaps next year it will.

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  5. Our pear tree gave its last a couple of weeks ago. It was a beautiful crop.
    Hey, Susan, thanks again for improving that pear butter recipe. :)

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  6. Oh my goodness.. I remember the pear tree at my grandparent's house. One year when I was about 8, my sister and I "found" a pear tree and picked it clean. By the time we made it home, the pear tree's owner had called our parents and they had to give her all the grapes off the grapevine to make up for the pears!

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  7. I love apple butter and sincerely believe that I could add pear butter to that list. Don't know if it would last long enough to make it to a slice of toast though. One spoon for "just a taste" would lead to another... and another, etc. By the way, do you have any baby pics of Lucky Buddy you could post? He is a sweetheart and always looks like he has a grin on his face.

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  8. This is the first year that the squirels didn't get to pears before we did. So we have been eating pear everything for the last couple days.

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  9. Thank you for posting this. I was wondering if I needed to use the absorbic acid solution. I think I will try your parents method:)

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