I enjoy spending the day in the kitchen making culinary creations and last Sunday I spent the entire day doing just that. I made fruit leather, banana bread, tuna-less tuna salad, and of course dinner. Everything turned out delicious and I love having all the goodies and leftovers. Here are the details on how I make my fruit leather.
Equipment you’ll need:
-knife, peeler, cutting board, apple parer, slicer, corer (optional)
-extra-large pot ie) stock pot
-large mixing bowl
-blender or food processor
The produce I used:
-approx. 10 apples, peeled, cored, chopped
-1 pear, peeled, cored, chopped
-2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
-10 strawberries, hulled and chopped
-2 big handfuls baby carrots, chopped
-juice of 1 lemon
I usually don’t follow a recipe when I make fruit leather, it’s more of a formula. Depending on what I have on hand and what I need to use up gets tossed into the pot. I like to use apples because they contain pectin and make up the bulk of the puree. I have found that adding bananas gives the puree and end result a smoother texture and we love bananas. The lemon juice keeps the apples from browning too much and this is the first time I added carrots thinking if juice companies can do it, why can’t I? I put the strawberries in to try and camouflage the “oranginess” of the carrots. It worked, the kids didn’t notice and they both love it!
Prepare the fruit:
Wash all fruit and carrots. For the apples and pear I used my apple parer, slicer, corer gadget, if you don’t have one you can do it by hand with a knife and peeler. As you cut the fruit place them in the extra large pot once full squeeze on the lemon juice and toss to coat and add a few tablespoons of water, to prevent sticking. Place the pot on the stove and turn heat to medium. Once you hear the fruit starting to simmer, stir well, cover with tight fitting lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Once the fruit has thickened and becomes the consistency of apple sauce turn heat off and let the fruit sauce cool. I left mine until after dinner.
Transform into fruit puree:
Using a ladle I put half the fruit mixture in the blender, pureed it and transferred it to a mixing bowl, then repeated with the other half of the fruit mixture. Line your dehydrator tray with the fruit roll sheets, lightly oil the sheets and ladle or pour on the fruit puree. I smooth out the puree with a spatula to make sure it’s evenly spread out, makes for even drying times. The puree filled 3 trays of the dehydrator.
Making fruit leather:
I plugged in the dehydrator and set the temp to 135 degrees at approx. 8pm (the kids bedtime). The dehydrator worked all night and by the time I checked it at 7am the fruit leather was done! Yum!
This fruit leather is obviously made from cooked fruit, the fruit I was using needed to be used up and was a little over ripe and I find that cooking the fruit mellows the flavours and releases the sugars. Also cooking the fruits gives the puree a smoother consistency which gives the fruit leather a softer taste and smoother consistency. I have made fruit leather using raw fruit and it’s important that the fruit is at it’s peak of ripeness without bruises or blemishes. Raw fruit leather also takes longer to dehydrate and you have to watch it carefully as you get closer to the end because if you over dry it the leather can be more brittle. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, I suggest you try them out and see which one you prefer best. Also I just wanted to note that if you don’t have a food dehydrator that it can be done in a conventional oven, I’ve never tried, but it’s another option if you wanted to try food dehydrating before investing in a dehydrator.
Peace and love.