Recently, I made an impulse purchase on a flat of strawberries at the farmer’s market. The only problem? After I brought the berries home, I realized that I wasn’t in the mood for making jam or pie. Lucky for me, I remembered running across a recipe for homemade fruit leather over on Simply Recipes just the other day, so I seized the opportunity to try it myself.
The procedure is very simple, and written in such a way that you can utilize any fruit that’s available to you. In fact, I plan on making several batches in the future using some of my favorite fruits, such as peaches, raspberries and blackberries. I may even decide to combine fruits in one batch to test flavor combinations. And the best part? I can control how much sugar is added to the final product, making this a delicious and healthy snack for kids.
Homemade Fruit Leather
• 4 cups chopped fruit (rinsed, pitted, peeled, cored, and/or stemmed)
• 1/2 cup water
• Lemon Juice, to taste
• Sugar, to taste (I used 1/4 cup)
Pour the chopped fruit and the 1/2 cup of water in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture up to a simmer and stir. Cover the saucepan and allow the mixture to continue simmering for 10-15 minutes.
Uncover the saucepan. Add lemon juice and sugar to taste, and mash the mixture together with a potato masher. Continue simmering for another 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened.
Remove the mixture from heat and allow to it to cool for five minutes. Using a blender (standard or hand-held immersion), puree the mixture until it is nice and smooth. Give the mixture one final taste, and adjust lemon juice or sugar amounts as needed. Set the puree aside.
Preheat your oven to its lowest temperature (for me, that’s about 140°F), and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or microwave-safe plastic wrap, making sure all of the edges are sufficiently covered. Pour the puree into the lined cookie sheet until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Place in the oven on the center rack for 8-12 hours, or until the mixture is smooth and no longer sticky to touch.
Because my batch of fruit leather was made with strawberries, I wanted to package them with pretty red tags and labels. To store the fruit leather, I cut it into strips about 2″ thick using a pizza cutter. I then cut strips of waxed paper that were slightly wider and longer than the strips of fruit leather, and rolled them up. I sealed the rolls with tiny labels in the style of Treasury, indicating the flavor of the rolls as strawberry. Then, I stored my rolls in tin-tie bags, and added a larger personalized label to the front of the bags so they would be ready to give away as gifts to my friend’s children this weekend. I’m excited to see what they think of my homemade fruit leather!