Dehydrating Pineapple quick tips
Optional, none usually needed.
Syrup blanching (for candy-like result)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) dip
Cut into strips 1/2" to 3/4" thick.
135° F (57° C)
12-16 hours, turning fruit after 8 hours.
Firm, chewy and lightly sticky.
Dehydrated pineapple is one of the more rewarding fruits to dry at home. The results can be leaps better than commercially dried pineapple products.
If you live far from the tropics, fresh pineapples tend to be a luxury fruit. They are often both expensive and disappointing in flavor except for a few times a year. Finding good pineapples is all about timing. Most pineapples in the United States come from Hawaii or the Caribbean. The Hawaiian crop usually hits store shelves in late spring, and the Caribbean crops start arriving in late December and again in August.
In the western USA, the Hawaiian pineapple harvest conveniently lines up with the time of year when many of us are starting to prepare for summer hiking. During a pineapple sale, I will run my food dehydrator non-stop for days at a time, and my kitchen becomes a serious pineapple processing operation.
Dehydrated pineapple is magical hiking food and one of my favorite daytime backpacking snacks. It is loaded with natural sugars and vitamins and provides a perfect slug of energy for when you've got a big hill ahead.
Chopping fresh pineapple:
Specialty pineapple cutters
The hardest part about dehydrating pineapple is all the chopping. Since I'm a pineapple hoarder, I dropped a few dollars on a pineapple slicer and corer. It slices out a long corkscrew of pineapple flesh from between the core of the fruit and the skin. Mine works great and I recommended getting one if you often find yourself preparing fresh pineapple.
Chopping pineapples with a butcher knife:
If you don't have a pineapple corer, here's a good approach to preparing a pineapple the old-fashioned way.
It may seem wasteful throwing away the cores, but pineapple cores aren't good for much. They can be tough and fibrous. Compared to the rest of the pineapple flesh they also have higher concentrations of bromelain, an enzyme that breaks down protein. Bromelain is a common meat tenderizer. Unless you want to tenderize your mouth, you probably don't want to be eating pineapple cores.
A quick internet search reveals some controversy over how much bromelain you'll find in pineapple cores, and whether or not it is enough to cause discomfort when eaten. I learned about bromelain through an unpleasant encounter, so I have an opinion on the matter: The first season I dehydrated pineapples, I salvaged the delicious-looking cores and ran them through my masticating juicer. A few minutes after drinking the juice I noticed my mouth and tongue had gone numb and felt burnt. I couldn't taste much for a day or two. After this I decided to use pineapple cores exclusively for marinades.
- Select pineapples with minimal surface damage or bruises. Pineapples do not ripen once they've been picked, so there is no benefit in letting them sit around. Buy the best looking and smelling pineapples you can find and process them as soon as you can.
- Rinse and scrub the pineapples under tap water to decrease the potential for exposure to pesticides and pathogens from the skins.
- Use a pineapple cutter or chop the pineapple as described above. Chop the pineapple into strips or chunks about 1/2" to 3/4" in thickness.
- No pre-treatment of pineapple is necessary, although syrup blanching can be used to produce something closer to candied pineapple. I personally do not use any pre-treatment.
- For easier clean-up, line dehydrator trays with nylon or polypropylene mesh to prevent the pineapple from sticking to the trays. Place a single layer of pineapple slices on the dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate at 135° F for 12-16 hours, turning the fruit after eight hours to ensure even drying.
- The dehydrated pineapple will be finished when it is firm, chewy, and lightly sticky.
- For best results, vacuum seal or place in air-tight freezer bags. Refrigerate or store in a cool, dark place until you plan to eat them.