I am an organic grower, and I would like to produce dried fruit but I'm not allowed to use sulfur dioxide according to the organic regulations. Is there any research on alternatives to this so that pears (and other fruit) won't turn dark?
You might try salting the fruit (using either a dip or a spray) as an alternative. Salt treatments (approximately 1% dip for 3 minutes) are commonly used for sun-dried tomatoes, and they work to some degree. Another possible treatment worth testing is a 3-minute dip in 1% ascorbic acid. Salt or ascorbic acid inhibit the enzyme that catalyzes browning. There is more browning than with sulfur dioxide, but these are useful in delaying it for some time.
– Diane Barrett