I don't even like pears all that much, but I must say that after cutting up so many of them I have become convinced that they are a sexy fruit - not the pears just sitting on the counter, but once you cut them open. Additionally, they smell delicious while cooking!
Drying herbs is simple and rewarding. I don't know why it took me until the end of the season to try it! I started drying a bit of thyme from the plant I keep on my windowsill. Freshly-dried herbs look and smell so wonderful - I finally understand why cookbooks tell you to throw away your spices after one year. A small amount of these herbs makes a huge difference in a recipe! And, while the spices are drying, they make for some rustic decoration. I do dry stems in paper bags as well though, and I think that method works better - it's just not as pretty. Herbs should be considered a gateway drug into growing and preserving. As long as you have a big enough pot (with proper drainage), some sun, and sufficient watering, you can grow herbs. Thyme and rosemary are my two of choice. Love them! But grow something that you would like to use fresh in the kitchen. Drying is just about as simple. Cut, clean and dry some stems, bunch and hang or simply put loosely in a paper bag, leave out of direct sun for a week or two, then pull the leaves off and store!
In the future ... well, I've been reading Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone and learning of some exciting possibilities! More on that later :-)