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How to Make Fruit Leathers from Fresh Fruit

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How to Make Fruit Leathers from Fresh Fruit

Homemade fruit leather

Leda Meredith

Fruit leathers, also called roll ups, are a healthy, portable food. Kids love them as a snack, and they are lightweight and take up very little space, which makes them perfect to take on hikes. They are also easy to make.

You can make fruit leathers from canned fruit, including already pureed fruits like applesauce, but they are excellent when made with fresh fruit.

Prepare the Fruit

Choose fruit that is very ripe. Peel and core fruits such as apples and pears. Remove pits from other fruits such as peaches and plums (you'll have a smoother fruit leather if you also peel these, but it's not necessary).

Fresh fruit has to be heated to 160F/71C to kill off potential pathogens before using it to make fruit leather.

Chop the fruit into 1-inch chunks. Add water to the bottom of a double boiler. Put the fruit in the top of the double boiler. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the fruit is soft and the center of the fruit mixture registers 160F/71C on a thermometer.

Let the fruit cool slightly. Transfer it to a blender or food processor and puree.

Drying the Fruit Leather

If you have a dehydrator, that is a more energy-efficient way to make fruit leathers than using your oven. But both methods yield delicious results.

Dehydrator Method

Line the trays of your dehydrator with plastic wrap or non-stick dehydrator sheets. If using plastic wrap, tuck the edges under the trays so that the wrap won't flop over onto your fruit while it dries.

 

Put 1 cup of fruit puree in the center of each tray. Spread with a spatula until it is between 1/4 and 1/8-inch thick. Be sure to spread the puree evenly so that all areas of the fruit leather dry in the same amount of time.

 

Place the trays in the dehydrator and dry at 140F/60C. Start checking for doneness after 4 hours. Your fruit leather is ready when it is translucent, only slightly sticky to the touch, and peels easily away from the plastic wrap or non-stick sheet. Note that fruit leathers can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to dry depending on how thickly the pureed fruit was spread and the density of the fruit.

Let the fruit leather cool to room temperature. To store, roll it up in plastic wrap or waxed paper, making sure all the surfaces are completely covered, including the edges.

Oven Method

Very lightly grease a baking sheet with vegetable oil (cooking spray is useful here). Alternatively, line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. If using plastic wrap, tuck the edges under the tray so that the wrap won't flop over onto your fruit while it dries.

 

2 cups of fruit puree is enough for a 12 by 17-inch baking tray. Put the puree in the center of the tray. Spread with a spatula until it is between 1/4 and 1/8-inch thick. Be sure to spread the puree evenly so that all areas of the fruit leather dry in the same amount of time.

 

Turn the oven to its lowest setting, between 140F/60C - 145F/63C (you want to dry the fruit, not cook it). Start checking for doneness after 4 hours. Your fruit leather is ready when it is translucent, only slightly sticky to the touch, and peels easily away from the baking tray or plastic wrap. Note that fruit leathers can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to dry depending on how thickly the pureed fruit was spread and the density of the fruit.

Let the fruit leather cool to room temperature. To store, roll it up in plastic wrap or waxed paper, making sure all the surfaces are completely covered, including the edges.

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