10 March 2014

31 Days of MOO No. 10 - Fruit Leathers

We have an apple tree. It's a very old tree and I love it. I love it's shape. I love the way it shades the front of the house in summer. I love the way it lets the sun shine through it's bare branches in winter. But most of all I love the apples it produces every year. Buckets and buckets and buckets of them.

Those apples are small, just right for a quick snack. They make amazing pies. They make delicious stewed apple. They make great applesauce. And they make delicious fruit leathers.

For a treat now and then when our kids were younger I used to buy Roll Ups. They loved the sweet treat. I hated the price. And then I discovered that fruit leathers are one of the easiest treats to make and I shook my head in disbelief and disgust at the amount of money I'd wasted over the years.

You can make fruit leathers too. You don't need any special equipment, although a dehydrator makes it a little easier. You can use your oven and baking sheets and the result is just as good. I'm going to give you the instructions for making fruit leathers in your oven (if you have a dehydrator follow the instructions for your unit).

You will need:
Applesauce (or peach or pear or apricot or nectarine or your favourite combination)
Baking sheets
Baking paper

Step 1. Pre-heat your oven to 80 degrees Celsius (or as low as it will go). This is important - don't skip this step for the sake of 10 minutes of electricity or gas. The oven needs to be at temperature when you put the fruit leather in to start the drying process straight away.

Step 2. Line your baking sheet with the baking paper. I like to overlap the ends by a couple of centimetres, it makes lifting the paper off the tray a little easier.

Step 3. Pour your applesauce in a thin layer (about 3mm) over the baking paper. Spread it evenly over the entire baking tray. Make sure there are no bubbles. I drop the baking sheet on the bench a couple of times to make sure (don't drop it from a height, it will splash, just a couple of centimetres will do the job).

Step 4. Put the baking sheets into the oven. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Rotate the trays every few hours so the fruit dries evenly.

Your fruit leather will take between 10 - 20 hours to dry depending on your oven, the weather and of course the moisture content of the fruit. The leather is done when it is still sticky and pliable but not wet to the touch.

Step 5. Cool on the trays then slice or cut with scissors (easiest) into strips. Roll them up (for roll-ups) or leave them in strips. Sto

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  1. Hi Cathy - I make fruit leather with my dehydrator and my kids just cant get enough - we fight over the end product ! Our favourite combo is made from a base of tinned apricots and then I add whatever fruit I have at home. Usually the fruit that is bruised or just getting to the overripe stage. This might be plums, pears, apples or even bananas. I line the dehydrator trays with baking paper, blend the fruit retaining a bit of the juice and spread it out. In a few hours - voila ! All natural, no chemical nasties, sulphate free and a fave in our house.

    1. I do both methods. Sometimes there's just too much fruit and my dehydrator only has three trays so I run it on the verandah and then use the three shelves in the oven as well. I just love my dehydrator, it makes preserving so easy.


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