Q.: I found a recipe that I want to try for dried pear slices. It calls for slicing the pear whole into thin slices. My question is this: How do I get the pears sliced as thin as the recipe calls for?
A.: The key to success in the kitchen is the right equipment. To get the kind of thin slices you will need to turn pears into crisp dried pear slices, I would recommend using a mandolin slicer or the slicing blade on your food processor.
A mandolin is preferable because you don’t have to worry about fitting a whole piece of fruit into your food processor, which can have a narrow chute. Also, the slicing discs on some food processors are not adjustable, so you may end up with thicker slices than you desire.
If you don’t own a mandolin, it is a worthwhile investment, particularly if you cook often. Because the blades are adjustable, you can usually get razor-thin slices of fruits and vegetables using one. You can find mandolins where they sell kitchen equipment starting around $25. Higher-quality ones are priced in the $50 to $100 range, which is still cheaper than a food processor. Professional-grade mandolins can cost as much as several hundred dollars.
Without either device, you will be at the mercy of your hands and a really sharp knife.
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