Let’s just get something out in the open. Fruit Roll-ups are no good. They’ve got corn syrup and hydrogenated oil in them.
Take it from me, life is much better if you make the nummy sweet snacks yourself! And I have good news – it’s easy. But you have to promise not to call them Fruit Roll-ups. The proper term for the homemade goodness is fruit leather.
Sounds so much more John Wayne, don’t you think?
1) Puree Fruit with seasonings and water.
(Make the texture like apple sauce. I used an immersion blender.)
2) Smear the puree around on a lined cookie sheet.
3) Dry it out in the oven for several hours (anywhere from 2-8 hours, depending on how watery the mixture is).
(If you’re a fancy pants you can use a dehydrator, Or, if you’re mad cool, you can harness the power of the sun, like this gal)
4) Eat, Drink, and be Merry!
That’s right, I said drink.
You see, in the Middle East fruit leathers are rehydrated in water to make thick, fruity drinks. Try it sometime. Yum!
The Recipe: Apricot Fruit Leather (Quamar-el-Deen)
Don’t do too much crack
Turn the oven onto 150F and keep the door barely cracked (some people suggest using a dish towel to keep the opening only an inch or two). This will maximize the heat in the oven (and lower your gas bill), while still allowing the moisture to escape.
Don’t get in a sticky situation
Fruit leather will stick and be a nightmare to remove unless you spread it on the proper surface. Acceptable surfaces include silpat, microwaveable saran, and foil. Unacceptable surfaces include wax paper and spreading it directly on your cookie sheet, even if you spray it up and down with spray. The leather will tear.
Fruits that make GOOD Fruit Leather:
Any fruit that has a good amount of pulp in it will work wonderfully for Fruit Leather. You can also save the pulp from your juicer to add body and flavor to any combination of the following:
– Dried Apricot
– Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
This is the fun part. Get creative – cinnamon, nutmeg – these are just the beginning. What about cardamom, or mint? What about liqueur, honey, brown sugar, wine, yogurt, nuts?
Properly dried leather should only be slightly tacky to the touch. If you accomplish this, slice it up and store in an airtight container at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer. You can keep pieces from sticking with saran or parchment paper. If you are a novice, I suggest staying away from adding dairy.