Simple Fruit Leather using fresh/frozen/canned fruit, or jam.

Fruit leather might seem a little daunting to make at first, but in reality is very simple, and is a good way to use up fruit. When you have canned it, jammed it, frozen it, dehydrated it and made syrup from it and STILL have fruit left over, why not make fruit leather from it? Everyone loves it, it makes a great lunchbox snack, and can contain as much or as little sweetener as you like.

Homemade fruit leather is a healthy, cheap alternative to “fruit to go” snacks and the unhealthy “fruit roll ups”.  Here is the ingredient list for Fruit Roll Ups Blastin’ Berry Hot Colors:

Pears from concentrate, Corn Syrup, Dried Corn Syrup, Sugar, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Acetylated Monoglycerides, Fruit Pectin, Dextrose, Malic Acid, Vitamin C (Acorbic Acid), Natural Flavour, Color (red 30, yellows 5&6, blue 1).

Need I say more?  There is no need for color, pectin, preservatives, corn syrup, GMO ingredients and so on.

Fruit leather can be made from pretty much any kind of fruit you like. It can also be made with processed fruit, such as jam, canned fruit, or frozen fruit. If the fruit is firm it will need to be heated to soften and blend. You can mix and match fruits as desired. You can also add spices such as cinnamon or vanilla, etc. You can sweeten your fruit leather with whatever kind of sweetener you like, or no sweetener at all. Taste your puree. If it is already sweet keep in mind it will be sweeter when dehydrated.

If you haven’t purchased a dehydrator, I highly recommend spending the extra money and buying an Excalibur.  They are top-of-the-line dehydrators, and recommended by many.  My dehydrator is homemade, made from these plans.  You can make your own too if you are so inclined!

Directions:

  1. Place your peeled and chopped (or canned, frozen etc.) fruit into a large pot.
  2. Heat to cook fruit if necessary. (example, raspberries will mash nicely without needing to be cooked. Apples will not). If the fruit is not juicy, or is frozen, add a half to 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pot to make a nice puree. As the fruit warms up, use a potato masher to mash it into small pieces.
  3. Mash fruit.  Once fruit its mashing nicely, you can use a stick blender or a whisk to further blend the fruit.
  4. When your puree is a smooth, wet consistency, you can sweeten it or add spices or vanilla.
  5. Pour puree evenly onto parchment-lined dehydrator sheets. Make sure your parchment paper turns up at the edges if the fruit mixture is quite liquid.
  6. Dehydrate the puree following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding temperature. It could take as little as 5 hours or as long as 24 hours or more. This depends on thickness and temperature.
  7. Leather will be ready once it is no longer sticky to the touch.
  8. Remove from dehydrator and cut with kitchen shears into sections. You can remove it from the parchment paper or leave it on. Leaving it on makes it less sticky for children to handle.
  9. Store in an airtight container. It will last longer if it is in the fridge or freezer.
  10. Enjoy!

Fruit leather is a healthy snack and a great way to preserve in-season fruit.

Tips:

  • If you chose to sweeten your puree, you can do so with anything. Honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, jam etc will all work. Just remember that however sweet your puree is, it will be sweeter when dehydrated because you are concentrating the final product.
  • If you don’t like seeds, you can strain any seedy puree through cheese cloth first.
  • Check your parchment paper!!  Poorer quality parchment paper is coated with teflon.  Choose parchment paper that is coated with silicone which is a safer alternative.

This post has been linked to The Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday September 11, The MorrisTribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival #25 and Frugally Sustainable’s Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Fruit puree (blackberries, plums and crab apple jam) ready to dehydrate.