Homemade oven dried fruit, with some store bought dried papaya for color

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about oven dried pineapples from Mark Bittman's latest cookbook: The Food Matters Cookbook.They were a huge hit; I ate some of them plain, and then I built a salad around what was left. Last week I tried the same technique with some too-tart plums I bought way too many of. It's a magical technique, turning ho-hum produce into sweet candy.

Today, I thought I'd try it with a bunch of apples that weren't looking so great, and a pear and mango that were beginning to get mushy. The apples and pears were perfect - sweet, moist, wonderful. The mango was kind of weird, possibly because the mango was too far gone to salvage. I spread the apples and pears out out on a pretty plate on the kitchen table and an hour later they were gone. I think the kids ate them without realizing they were fruit. :)

Oven Dried Apples and Pears
Heat the oven to 225*. Peel a combination of apples and pears - use about five for each baking sheet. (I have tried this successfully with pineapples and plums, too. Be daring! Try it with other fruit and let me know how that goes!) Cut the fruit into slices, not too thin. (You can see what size I made them in the photo below.)

Place the fruit on wire racks atop a large baking sheet. Leave the fruit in the oven for a few hours. I left mine in for about six hours. The longer you leave them, the more dry they'll get, and the more concentrated the flavors will become.

Let them cool (or not) and either eat them right away or put them away for another time. Mark Bittman says to refrigerate them if they're at all soft, or store them in the pantry if they're completely dried out.

Submitting this for the Tackling Bittman Giveaway Submission over at Girlichef and A Moderate Life