Friday, October 23, 2009

Fruit Leather

This is my favorite way to use up rapidly ripening fruit or too much fruit. You can use your oven or a special food dehydrator appliance. The best home food dehydrators are made by Nesco. Almost any combination of fruits will work, so be creative! These rolls pictured here are apple-mango. I used 2 gaga apples and 1 mango with a few spoons of sugar to sweeten. Mine were done in 12 hours using a dehydrator.

**TIP**: I find that apples gice the best textured leathers and work especially well when mixed with other runnier fruits such as berries. They are often complement almost any fruit and are a good 'filler' to stretch expensive fruit further without compromising the taste.

When making fruit leather, there is no set recipe. So much of it depends on the specific fruit you are working with, its sweetness and your personal taste preferences. Here are some general tips from

Fruit Leather Master Recipe
yields about one baking sheet

4 cups fresh or canned fruit (peaches, plums, berries, apples, pears, grapes)
Lemon juice
Sugar/Honey (as needed)
Spices (optional)

1. Rinse, peel, remove stems, de-seed and chop the fruit. Taste it to see how sweet it is. If still a little tart, you may need to add some sugar in the next step.

2. Place fruit in a large saucepan. Add a half cup of water for every 4 cups of chopped fruit. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on a low for 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked through. Uncover and stir. Use a potato masher to mash up the fruit in the pan. Taste the fruit and determine what and how much sugar, lemon juice, or spices to add. Add sugar in small amounts to desired sweetness. ***Note: The fruit seems to get sweeter after drying as the flavor becomes concentrated. Add lemon juice one teaspoon at a time to help brighten the flavor of the fruit. Add a pinch or two of cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices if desired.

Continue to simmer and stir until any added sugar is completely dissolved and the fruit purée has thickened, another 5 or 10 minutes (or more).

If you are working with grapes - strain the juice out of the mashed grapes to make grape juice.

3. Puree cooked fruit in a blender/food processor until very smooth. Taste again and adjust sugar/lemon/spices if necessary. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silpat/silicone mat or grease it with a neutral oil (ex. canola oil). Pour out the purée into the baking sheet to about an 1/8-1/4 inch thickness.

4. Place the baking sheet in the oven at 140 degrees 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 to form fruit leather (8-12 hours, can do this overnight). If you have a food dehydrator, use it instead of the oven, set at 135-140 degrees F. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface.

5. When ready, you can easily peel it off the Silpat mat. To store, cut into 1 inch strips, roll each strip up in waxed paper and tie with a of string. Store airtight. Can be stored in freezer up to 1 month.


Anonymous said...

I agree Nesco food dehydrators are a good brand. This is a good comparison chart of the various Nesco dehydrators.

Juliette said...

^ thanks! that's really helpful.

Rachel said...

oh YUM! I go trough so much Whole Foods fruit leather--I should really try making my own! Yours are super cute, too.

Melissa said...

Oh god, this makes me wish I had a dehydrator. I loved fruit roll ups as a kid - this is even better!