What to do with those old variety pears that tend to be left on the tree ? Use them – they are fantastic! Varieties like Hessle, which have a small fruit, but there are a lot of them on a tree. Pick them and dry them in the pear equivalent of apple rings. Only they aren’t a ring as they don’t need coring.
Picking time is crucial: Picking the old varieties of pear at the right time is a trick. Don’t wait for them to be ‘ripe’ as you would a more modern variety of table pear. If you wait, the centre will typically be rotten. Pick before that stage when they have become sweet but are still crunchy.
Just slice them up (about 5mm thick slices). The picture shows a dehydrator rack (which is essentially a low temp fan oven) but you can do this in your own electric fan oven at its lowest temp, or on a cake rack over a fire or radiator. It takes about 12 hours in a dehydrator/oven, longer with other methods.
Once dry, put in an airtight jar and they will last for months – but only if you hide the jar or lock it. Otherwise they only last a few weeks because they are so bloomin’ tasty !