Pumpkin is all the rage right now, but let us not forget the bounty of other Fall fruits and vegetables. I love heading to my Farmer's Market on Saturdays in search of inspiration for recipes for the coming week. I encourage everyone to move past your comfort zone and pick up a fruit or vegetable that you wouldn't normally buy. You will be surprised at what creativity it brings forth. Asian Pears are one of those fruits for me and my inspiration for Dried 5-Spice Asian Pears.
I have a massive Asian Pear tree in my backyard and have not so much as used 1 pear from it for the past 2 years. The first year, I kept waiting and waiting for them to get soft like a ripe pear, only to find at the end of the season that they are firm when ripe, much like an apple, and signal ripeness by turning a golden yellowish brown color. The birds and my dog ended up feasting on them for the past 2 years, but this year I was determined to not let them go to waste so I climbed the tree and picked every last one before the backyard creatures had their chance. We ended up with almost 20 pounds!
I set out to use them all and ended up creating an Asian Pear Chutney (coming in a few weeks), Asian Pear “apple”sauce, and my favorite – these dehydrated asian pear slices spiced with Chinese 5-Spice powder. You can dehydrate them plain as well, but these flavors go so well together and have just the right combination of cinnamon and spice. Thankfully, they're simple to prepare, because we went through a whole bag in less than a few days.
So Happy Fall everyone! And remember, as wonderful as they are, don't let Pumpkins monopolize your kitchen! There's a wide array of other Autumn Squash to chose from as well as these lovely Asian Pears, Figs, Apples, Persimmons and so much more. Let the creativity commence!