The summer of 2012 I canned what seemed like a truck load of pears. I ate canned pears. My kids ate canned pears. I made cakes and muffins and cobblers using pears. They were delicious.
Then sometime within the past year the pears turned soft in the jars. They were still good. The seals on the lids were intact. But the fruit had softened enough so I wasn't overjoyed with the texture. I like a bit more firmness in canned pears.
So what do you do with 16 pints of soft pears. I am too frugal (read cheap) to just toss them out. I thought about making pear butter, but my supply of canning jars is dwindling and I still have several foods left to can before winter sets in, so I kept looking for ideas. Then I found a couple of videos showing how to make fruit rollups from canned fruit. I have 5 fruit rollup inserts for my dehydrator trays and even though I had never made rollups before, I decided to give it a go.
I opened all the jars and drained off the liquid. I had 4 pints of canned peaches left that had been canned about the same time as the pears, so I drained them as well, rinsing the fruit with water to wash off most of the sugar/water syrup they had been canned in, making them less sticky. I ran the fruit through my blender to make a puree and filled 5 trays. Each tray holds two cups of fruit puree. I still have two quarts of puree in the fridge to dehydrate tomorrow.
The fruit is drying nicely, but it is taking longer to dehydrate than expected. I suppose that may be due to the high humidity in the air right now. I will just turn the temperature down from 130 degrees to 100 degrees and let the fruit dry overnight. The plan is to wrap the dried fruit rollups in waxed paper. I will save out a few pieces for snacking and freeze the rest. I think the pear rollups will make a nice evening snack for me or a tasty, healthy treat for the Grands.
I read somewhere that about 40 % of the food in the US is wasted. I grew up in a frugal family. We wasted very little. We couldn't afford to just toss out leftovers. I will admit that once in a while a container of food will get shoved to the back of my fridge where it winds up looking like a science experiment run amok, but I try really hard to use up everything I cook. I'm glad I was able to find a good use for those pears. And there is the added bonus of having another 20 empty pint jars now to fill with something else. I'm thinking a big pot of chili might be good.