Medium
Time:

20 minutes

Takes:

8 hours - overnight

Makes:

2 baking sheet-size fruit leather flats

Costs:

$25

Roll Call: Make Fruit Leather

Turn summer sweets into autumn treats.
Materials
  • 4 c fresh, seasonal fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, berries, apples, pears, grapes)
  • ½ c filtered water
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp honey (optional)
  • spices (optional)
  • dehydrator or oven
  • rimmed baking sheets (oven-only)
  • parchment paper
  • plastic wrap
  • airtight glass container

Cheat Sheet

  • Nutrition. “Fruit leathers are a great way to preserve the nutrient value of fresh fruit when it is in season. The fresher the fruit going into the leather, the higher the nutrient density, so fruits that are frozen, canned, or heated make a less health-power packed leather than fruit straight from the vine.”
  • Flavor. “Experiment with flavors you would never find in the store (strawberry rhubarb, peach cinnamon pie, pear ginger, etc.). Nibble the pieces of fruit you have available in various combinations before you get started, and then go with your creative impulse — it’s impossible to get it wrong.”
  • Optional step for fruits that oxidize and turn brown (pear, peach, banana, etc.). After Step 1, place fruit in a large saucepan. Add 1/2 c of water for every 4 c chopped fruit. Bring to a boil, and then remove from heat. Put the fruit into your food processor or blender. Pulse a few times to see how the combination blends. If it is too difficult to blend easily, add water by the tbsp and try again, repeating until it mixes easily. Blend until smooth (not runny). If fruit contains seeds, you can strain mix, but seeds are an ample source of nutrients so this is optional.
    Want To Learn?
    Live learner? Check out a video play-by play.

    If you’re rich in summer fruit, you’ve got happy problems. Turn an abundance of fresh fruit into fruit leathers — a perfectly packable and not-so-bad for you back-to-school treat. Holistic health coach and food educator Adrienne Barrett schools us with this recipe.

    Lesson Plan

    1. Rinse the fruit. If you’re working with stone fruit, remove the pits and chop the fruit. If working with apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. If working with grapes, de-stem them.
    2. Doctor up the flavor. Taste your mix. If it tastes stellar as is, or if are a purist, add nothing. If it needs a bit of sweetness, add a tsp of honey per 4 c of fruit, blend again, and taste, repeating until desired sweetness is achieved. If the flavor is a little flat or your fruit tends to brown, add in lemon juice by the tsp, to taste. Add in spices by the pinch and blend for flavor and a medicinal perk — cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar, while ginger aids in digestion.
    3. Line. Cover a rimmed baking sheet or your dehydrator tray with a piece of parchment paper.
    4. Pour it out. Put the purée onto the lined baking sheets, making circles with ½ c -1 c puree. Tilt the sheet until the puree is thickest around the edges (1/4 inch), and thinner in the middle (1/8 inch), which will prevent edges from getting brittle and middle from staying gooey. If using a dehydrator, you can make several sheets of smaller diameter leathers. Place the sheet in the oven or dehydrator.
    5. Dehydrate. OVEN: Heat the oven to 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 8 hours-overnight, until the purée dries out and forms fruit leather. DEHYDRATOR: Set temp to 135°F. Check on the fruit after 4 hours. The fruit is ready when it is leathery and pliable, with no sticky spots in center. If it’s not there yet, turn up temp to 180°F, and set for another 2-4 hours.
    6. Rolling and storing. When the fruit leather is ready, peel it up from the parchment paper, lay it onto plastic wrap, then roll it and store in an airtight glass container in a cool, dark place (the pantry, or the refrigerator for longer life). If the leather becomes brittle, fear not, you can break the pieces into fruit chips.