Dehydrated pineapple is one of my husbands favorite snacks, and my kids love it almost as much as he does. Homemade dehydrated pineapple is unlike the so-called "dried" pineapple you find in the store. Even though the store bought dried pineapple is dried a bit it has extra sugar and chemicals added to make it kind of chewy and over all kind of yucky. My mother hated "dried" pineapple until she tasted my dehydrated pineapple. Although I've done my fair share of canning pineapple (another great way to preserve it), dehydrating actually takes less time and the final product takes up a lot less space. It is also the prefect grab-and-go snack for kids. I really do try to follow that golden rule of food storage and store what we eat. I also rotate my food so it's kind of a necessity......:)
Dehydrating pineapple is really easy! It's one of the first things I learned how to dehydrate (remember, it's my husband's favorite) and once you've done it once or twice it'll go fast. Depending on how many pineapples I have, I often ask my son to time me (yeah, my kids have cheap entertainment). I can cut/peel and slice 15 pineapple in about an hour.
How To Dehydrate Fresh Pineapple!
Here's What I Do:
First I find pineapple on sale. I found them last week for 99 cents. I let them sit out a few days to get nice and sweet - watch out here because even though they will be super sweet pineapples also get more acidic as they ripen. Since you are dehydrating and concentrating that sweetness and acid you could find yourself with an acid-burnt mouth, so don't let them over ripen.
They've all been beheaded! (evil laugh) Ok, yeah, I live in an all boy house and sometimes things rub off on me (I used to be girly.....*sigh*). The first thing you want to do is take off the top of the pineapples. I have an assembly line going, remember most of the time I'm being timed at this.
Then take off the bottom.
Cut all of the sides taking off as much of the eyes as possible but not wasting too much of the flesh. Some people swear by a pineapple cutter. I've simply never had one and have heard they waste a lot of the flesh.
For the eyes that are very deep take a knife and score the pineapple like I've done here. The eyes run diagonal on a pineapple and usually you can cut out more than one at once.
You can see here how I've made kind of a V shape and am about to lift the eyes out.
Here you can see the crevasse the was left after I've taken out a row of eyes.
Split the pineapple in half. It's really handy to have these cut resistant gloves since the pineapple is very slippery. Well, one might not be too bad but the juice from 20 pineapples make things slippery, but the gloves help for slicing too as you'll see in a moment.
Now, you want to quarter the pineapple.
Then cut off the hard center. I've heard the center is actually edible but I would imagine you'd be chewing for a long, long time. It's got a woody texture.
Now, you're ready to slice.
I just have middle of the road mandolin slicer. I think this one is an OXO. I've had it for years (before I started dehydrating). When it wears out I might get something a little different with dehydrating in mind, but this one does the trick with pineapple and works fine. Here is when the cut resistant gloves really come in handy. The hand guard is basically worthless on this slicer. So the gloves allow you to cut down to the last slice.
I have the slicer set between 1/4" and 3/8"
Load up your trays!
Here is a fully loaded Excalibur dehydrator. I used to have a small round tray dehydrator that I used for years. The Excalibur is so much better and bigger!
This is what the pineapple slices look like when they are done. They take 12-14 hours on the fruit setting. I take the slices out and put them in the freezer for two weeks to pasteurize them. Then I take them out and store them in a cool dry place.
Of course one of my favorite ways to store dehydrated pineapple in a Mason jar. I use my FoodSaver to vacuum pack the jar. Supposedly, the pineapple will last 30 years or longer if the jar is stored in a cool, dry and dark place. I do not have any dehydrated pineapple that old but I'm sure it's true. They've even found dehydrated food in Egyptian tombs, so we humans have been preserving food in this manner a very long time.
I put some pineapple in plastic bags so my husband can take some to work. I started with 20 medium sized pineapple and loaded a 9 tray dehydrator twice.