Monday, August 24, 2009

Fruit leather recipe

This is the basic recipe I have been using to make fruit leather with all of my apricots this week. Yes, still working on that. Some of the apricots need to ripen more, so I took a break for the weekend.

First I wanted to share my opinion on why I think it is important to take the time for things like this. At the same time I share some of my recent annoyances-I can because it is my blog and I can do what I want:)
1st, food storage is important and the more food storage you can acquire the better.

2nd, I realize that this can take a lot of time, and people are busy. I can think of 100 other projects in my home and with my kids that will always be there, but I believe we can make time for anything. If there is time to find out the newest American Idol, or who is Dancing with the stars, you can't be that tight on time. No rudeness intended, just that we all different priorities. I have a difficult time sitting still and watching tv when I know I have so many things that need to be done. So I use this as my down time and turn on a movie while I pit and cut them.

3rd, it is also a great teaching lesson for your kids. My kids enjoy this tradition each year, and actually get upset if they both can't help me pick the fruit. When I got home, I had other things that needed to get done before I started on apricots. When I got downstairs my 5 year old had laid out the blanket and her and my 3 year old had pitted 2 bowls of apricots by themselves and laid them on the dehydrator screen!

4th As mentioned we are teaching our kids, but also ourselves to be self-reliant. I understand that we have a Walmart down the street with dried apricots that I can pick up in 10 minutes. I can pick up a loaf of bread, instead of make it too. BUT I think it is important to know how to rely on our own skills and storage, in case one day those resources aren't available. Disaster strikes and a loaf of bread will cost you $10 if you can find anything left on the shelf. Note-I do not make all of my bread myself:) but get 95% of it at the grocery store. But once a week I try to bake bread, rolls or such to keep my storage rotated as well as teach myself how to be better at it.

5th and final gripe:) A small bag of dried apricots at the store cost about $4. For the amount of apricots I have dried so far and the fruit leather I have made would have cost me about $50---but I have paid nothing. Also, I know what goes into the food I make homemade, and not what has been used to preserve and maintain color, and sweetness.

Fruit Leather Recipe
Fresh fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, berries, apples, pears, grapes)
Lemon juice
Sugar (if needed) --I figure if my kids enjoy it without sugar, than why add it
Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)
1 Rinse the fruit. If you working with stone fruit, take out the pits, chop the fruit. If working with apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. If working with grapes, de-stem them.
Taste the fruit before proceeding. Note how sweet the fruit is. If very sweet (ripe Concord grapes for example) you will not need to add any sugar. 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 let cook on a low heat 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 (1 Tbsp at a time if working with 4 cups of fruit), to desired level of sweetness. 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 to augment the flavor.
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).

Note if you are working with grapes - strain the juice out of the mashed grapes to make grape juice. Force what is left behind, after straining, through a food mill, to make the purée for the next step.
3 Alternatively purée it thoroughly in a blender or food processor. Taste again and adjust sugar/lemon/spices if necessary. The purée should be very smooth.

4 Line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe). Pour out the purée into the lined baking sheet to about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.

5 Place the baking sheet in the oven, try to keep any plastic wrap from touch the sides of the oven or the oven racks. Also try to make sure that the plastic wrap hasn't folded back over on top of the purée. If this happens, the purée won't dry out. Heat the oven to a low 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 like this for as long as it takes for the purée to dry out and form fruit leather. We usually keep it in the oven overnight, so about 8-12 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface.
Alternatives to the oven. If you have a food dehydrator, this would be a great use of it. Also a reader posted that she spread them on the cookie sheet and then put them outside all day. Get it out by 9 in the a.m., it's done by or 4 in the afternoon! That seems like a good idea to cut down on power and also not heat your house up using the oven.
6 When the fruit leather is ready, you can easily peel it up from the plastic wrap. To store it, roll it in its plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
4 cups of fruit yield about one baking sheet of fruit leather.


  1. We make fruit leather a lot lately, but we don't cook it. (I wasn't taught that way) The latest that we made was cherry. SO good. Anyway, we pitted them, pureed them in the blender (I did add 1/4 c V-8 100% Acai Berry juice for the sweetener)spread them on the cookie sheet and then put them outside all day. If I get it out by 9 in the a.m., it's done by or 4 in the afternoon! SO good and SO cheap! Especially when the fruit is free! Not only are we teaching ourselves skills, but I think we're showing HF that we're willing to use the blessings (free fruit from a neighbor, produce from our garden) that he has given to us.

  2. Thanks Tiffany for all this info. I have never made this before!