Unless you are lucky enough to live in Hawaii or South America, you probably don’t get to eat too much fresh pineapple. Around here, they usually run $3-4 a piece, so it’s not something I buy on a regular basis. When I saw that I could ad-match pineapples thanks to a sale in Green Bay, I jumped on it and quickly bought four.
I’ll be honest, we usually stock up on tinned pineapple. Sometimes I’ll even splurge for store-bought dried pineapple chunks. While still delicious, they have nothing on the sweet, acidic zing of a fresh pineapple. Is it possible to keep that unique flavor intact by home preservation? Yes!
Start out by gathering a cutting utensil, cutting board, pineapples, and dehydrator.
Cut the tops and bottoms off of each pineapple. If you have chickens, they’ll love picking all of the flesh off of the pineapple scraps. If not, you could compost the extra bits or use the top to grow a whole new pineapple plant.
Carefully cut off the hard skin of the fruit with a large knife. It’s easier if you stand the pineapple up and cut from the top down in thin strips. Once all of the skin is off, use your fingernail or a small paring knife to remove any deep pocks left over.
Once your fruit is cleared of skin bits, cut it into quarters from the top down, then cut the woody center out of each quarter. I think you can technically eat that center, but man… is it tough! No, thanks. I’d rather let the chickens make quick work of those.
At this point, you’ll have notched wedges that need to be sliced thinly. I used a knife, but if you have a mandolin or food processor with slicing blade you can use those as well. Try to keep the slices under 1/4″ thick for faster drying times.
Line them all up on the trays so they aren’t touching. They have so much sugar in them that they’ll stick together if they’re touching. Yeah, still edible, but not as pretty if you have to tear them apart. I’m such a terrible perfectionist.
I put it on 125° in my Excalibur. They took about 16 hours to dry leather-hard, then I removed them and put them in quart sized Ziploc bags. You can also store them in clean Mason jars or airtight Gladware. For long term (1+ years), consider using Mylar with oxygen absorbers appropriate to the size of your Mylar bag.
To get the dried pineapple unstuck from the mesh screens, put the screen flat on the counter and use a pastry cutter.
Grapes were also on sale this week, and seeing as we won’t be harvesting our own grapes for at least another year, I stocked up to make raisins. Making raisins is easy. All I did was wash the grapes really well under running water, cut them in half, then arrange them on the trays cut-side-up. Four pinapples yielded 3 full quart bags. I got one quart of raisins from about 2.5 pounds of red, seedless grapes.
Store-bought, chemical laden* dried pineapple has NOTHING on homemade. Yum!
*Store-bought may contain: sugar, dextrose, glucose syrup, fruit juice, coloring derived from fruit, glycerin (422), sorbic acid (200), sulphur dioxide (220), paraffin, BHA (320), edible fats, and oils.