Fruit leathers are homemade fruit rolls and they are very popular in our house. I love them because they are a great way to use up leftover fruit, don’t contain any added sugar, and the kids gobble them up.
You’ll need a couple special kitchen tools for this recipe. The first is a blender. I use my immersion blender to keep the clean up simple, but any good blender will do.
The second tool is a dehydrator. A decent dehydrator runs about $100 and can be used for other preservation projects. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can try to do these on a very low oven – they will take about 18 hours in an oven. You can also dry them in the hot sun – it will take about 1 to 2 days to dry in the sun.
For the diabetics out there, make these without added sugar and they should contain the amount of fruit allowed for a fruit exchange.
This recipe is written for 2 cups of fruit, but it can be multiplied to accommodate as much fruit and drying space as you have.
- 2 cups of any combination of ripe or slightly overripe fruit – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana, kiwi, mango
- 1/4 cup of applesauce (optional, to help thicken the fruit)
- 2 t of lemon juice or 1/8 t ascorbic acid for light colored fruit to prevent darkening (optional)
- 1-2 T of honey, to taste (optional)
- Prepare dehydrator trays by lining them with parchment paper over the surface of the tray. I cut out the center hole on my paper to help it fit better. Edges of the parchment paper can be folded up at the edge of the tray. Depending on the size of your dehydrator trays, you will need one or two trays for 2 cups of fruit.
- Wash fruit or berries in cool water. Remove peel, seeds, and stems.
- Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the fruit.
- The pureed fruit should be slightly thick so that it doesn’t run apart when poured onto the dehydrator trays. If it seems too runny, add a little applesauce to thicken it up. The applesauce will also help decrease tartness and make the leather smoother and more pliable. If the fruit seems to thick, add liquid, such as orange or apple juice, to thicken.
- Taste and add honey, if needed. I rarely add any honey at all.
- Pour the pureed fruit mixture onto the prepared tray. Avoid the edges of the tray. Spread it out to about 1/8 inch thick. Thicker spreads will take longer to dehydrate. Spread into any shape you like. I usually do about 2″ x 8″ rectangles. Larger shapes can be cut smaller later, but will take longer to dry.
- Dry the leather at 140 degrees F. The leather will dry from the edges to the center.
- After about 4 hours, test for dryness by touching the center of the leather – your finger should not leave an indent.
- While warm, you can peel from the parchment and roll. Allow to cool and rewrap in plastic. I usually let mine cool flat and then bag it and freeze.
- The leather usually will get eaten pretty quickly. But it will last about a month at room temp or it can be frozen up to a year.