Fruit Leather - healthy, with no preservatives
Fresh fruit (apricots, peaches, berries, apples, pears,)
Lemon juice or pineapple juice
(3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice or 1/4 C Pineapple Juice)
Wash the fruit. If you working with stone fruit take out the pits, chop the fruit. If working with apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. Place the fruit in a blender or a food processor with the lemon juice or pineapple juice and puree. (Feel free to mix fruit – like peach/pear, raspberry/pear….etc) Note: when working with berries like strawberries and raspberries – strain the puree through a couple of layers of cheesecloth to remove some of the seeds.
Taste the fruit before proceeding. Note how sweet the fruit is. If very sweet you will not need to add any sugar. If still a little tart, you may need to add some sugar, honey or agave (another option is to use jam to sweeten).
The purée should be very smooth.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe). Pour out the purée into the lined baking sheet to about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.
Place the baking sheet in the oven; try to keep any plastic wrap from touch the sides of the oven or the oven racks. Also try to make sure that the plastic wrap hasn't folded back over on top of the purée. If this happens, the purée won't dry out. Heat the oven to a low 140°F. If you have a convection setting, use it, it will speed up the process and help dry out the purée. Let dry in the oven like this for as long as it takes for the purée to dry out and form fruit leather. We usually keep it in the oven overnight, so about 8-12 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface.
If you have a food dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Some suggestions are to put the tray in a Barbeque grill, and leaving covered, in the sun all day. My Mom used to make it the traditional way of tenting the tray with a screen and leave it outside in the sun on a hot day.
When the fruit leather is ready, you can peel it up from the plastic wrap. To store it, roll it in its plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer. My Mom used to cut them into 1” strips – the precursor to Fruit by the foot®
Yield: 3-4 cups of fruit yield about one baking sheet of fruit leather.
Have fun cookin'