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Saturday, August 3, 2013

all-natural fruit leather


Homemade fruit leather.

Really not as hard as one might think. It's really just fruit, and a few tools help matters. Start with either ripe fruit, or defrosted previously frozen fruit.

You will then need parchment paper. Not waxed paper! Parchment is the way to go. I've learned this the hard way so just take my word for it. Cut out your sheet of parchment to fit the dehydrator tray. 

 You will need about 4 cups of blended fruit. This looks more like 5 cups of chopped fruit. If using previously frozen, keep all the juices. Don't drain them off.

Use anything you like to blend fruit into a lovely, thick puree. Adding parts at a time rather than the whole lot is more effective for most appliances. This image is about 50-50 ripe mango and peach blend. The dark bits are peach skin. Nope, I don't bother peeling them. Just remove the stone. :)

Add ground spices to taste, such as cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, even essences of vanilla or a citrus if you wish. Keep sticking a finger in the puree and make sure you like the taste of your concoction. You may add a sweetener if you like, honey or sugar or date sugar or powdered stevia, but most fruit blends are fine on their own. It will most likely be as sweet or tart once dried as it is now in the puree. I like to use cooked diced apple for sweetness with more bitter or sharp tasting fruits or berries. (Applesauce is a bit thin. You want it thick. The easy way is to cook diced apple in a few Tbs water, covered, and then strain off the water.)





I had extra puree after pouring my first sheet of peach-mango leather, so I added defrosted berries to the blender and made up just enough for a second flavor.




When you pour the puree onto your sheet of parchment, on the dehydrator rack, don't spread it out! Leave it good and thick. This is almost the most important step. Just pour, pour pour, and let it settle where it will. You can see I have three racks stacked up here. The middle is empty. I find that this helps keep good airflow so the leathers dry at the same rate.




Set dehydrator heat to 135 F, pop the lid on, and leave about 18 to 24 hours. Your finished leather will not be sticky to touch. Cut up with scissors, pop into a tupperware or ziplock bag, and it will keep for months at room temperature. No need to refrigerate. Use a marker to label flavors on the parchment edge if you wish.






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