Dehydrating is easy to do in the oven. These oven dried vanilla pears take some time in the oven but it's totally worth it. You'll be surprised by their intense vanilla flavor.
It's Recipe Redux time! If you're not familiar with this monthly post let me quickly explain. The Redux, as we like to call it, is a group of healthy food bloggers who unite once a month to bring you a healthy recipe based on a theme. Last weekend, at Blog Brûlée, I had the chance to meet many of my fellow Reduxers and they are amazing. I hope you will check out all of their phenomenal recipe links at the bottom of this post.
This month our challenge was to create a dehydrated food recipe.
Interesting, I thought.
And then, I don't have a dehydrator so what am I going to do?
But this is one of the reasons I love being a part of The Redux; it forces me to think outside of my box and get creative. Fortunately, I quickly learned that the oven can be used as a dehydrator when on the lowest heat setting.
As I've mentioned here before, grocery shopping is not happening as regularly as I would like, BUT I did actually make it to the store this week and noticed some beautiful looking pears. Perfect! I snagged several with this challenge in mind. I also got some delicious star fruit in my farm delivery this week so that seemed like a fun fruit to experiment with as well. And since I now have a meyer lemon tree, and I need to figure out how to use all the fruit when it starts mass producing, I thought I'd try dehydrating a lemon as well.
I am happy to report that dehydrating was a success, but I learned few things that will help make it much more successful if you choose to try this method.
- Cut your fruit very thin. This will reduce the amount of baking time significantly.
- A mandolin worked the best for slicing the pears and starfruit. It would also work great for apples. I love my mandolin because it has a hand guard. I can't find the exact one anymore but I did put this mandolin in my a-Store.
- Hand cutting, with a very sharp knife, is the best method for slicing citrus.
The dried pears and starfruit are great to eat on their own as a snack but they could also be tossed into hot oatmeal or used to jazz up a salad. I brought them to my hubby's game on Friday night and shared them with another coach's wife. They were so delicious and I was amazed by how well the vanilla flavor came through. I think these would be a great Christmas gift too, especially for my neighbors (I'm thinking like an oatmeal mix with the dried fruit).
I've used the dried lemon slices to infuse my water with delightful lemon flavor. I can also see myself using these to flavor sauces, like my Garlic Lemon Chicken, when fresh lemon juice is not available.
I think after this experience I will be putting a dehydrator on my Christmas list. I can just see endless possibilities!
Don't miss your chance to enter my #MakeHealthyEasy Blogiversary Giveaway. It's ending soon.
Oven Dried Vanilla Pears
4+ Bartlett pears
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to the lowest bake setting. (This was 170 degrees on my oven.)
- Slice pears very thinly, using the lowest or second to lowest setting on a mandolin. Alternatively, slice pears with a very sharp knife.
- Layer pears in a single layer on a lined (parchment, foil or Silpat) baking sheet.
- Brush eat pear slice with a dab of vanilla extract. You only need to brush one side of the pear.
- Bake for 3-4 hours until most of the moisture is gone and edges have curled. Flip fruit regularly to better promote drying out. Remove from heat, let cool and enjoy.
Makes 2-4 servings
Other fruit: Slice starfruit on mandolin and follow directions for baking. Slice citrus with a sharp knife in very thin rounds and follow directions for baking.