Fruit Leather – A Healthy Alternative

posted by Karen Hood
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fruit leather is a treat that kids love! It is a healthy substitute for candy. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that dried fruit is like eating sticky candy. It stays on the teeth longer than fresh fruit, releasing sugar into the saliva for a greater period of time, which promotes tooth decay. Make sure you limit the amount of time in which your or your children’s teeth are exposed to sugar without being cleaned.

Drying fruit has been done for centuries. It is an easy way to preserve fruit. We generally think of dried fruit as such things as raisins, prunes, apple slices or apricot halves, but that isn’t the only way to preserve fruit. Pureeing fruit to make leather is an easy way to use up excess fruit before it goes bad. It is also easier than drying fruit pieces, because the puree is a more consistent thickness so that it all dries at the same rate.

Following are three fruit leather recipes you can use to preserve fruit for later use as tasty snacks.

Kiwi Fruit Leather

From St. Patrick’s Day Delights Cookbook

This is a great way for preserving kiwis when you are able to catch a great sale and they do not look like they will get used or eaten fast enough.


Ingredients:

10 kiwifruit, peeled

2 Tbs. white grape juice concentrate

¼ c. sugar

2 Tbs. lemon juice

green food coloring (optional)

Directions:

  1. Purée ingredients completely in blender, making sure seeds are pulverized.
  2. Spread purée in trays; dry until leathered.
  3. Wrap in wax paper and store in airtight jar.

Blueberry Applesauce Fruit Leather

From Easter Delights Cookbook

This is excellent fruit leather, and it makes a great Easter basket filler. This makes a tart fruit leather, so if you like it sweeter, add more honey.

Ingredients:

1 c. blueberry purée

1 c. unsweetened applesauce

1 Tbs. honey

Directions:

  1. In blender or food processor, combine blueberries and applesauce.
  2. Process until smooth.
  3. Pour mixture through strainer or sieve to remove skin and seeds.
  4. Stir in honey.
  5. Place mixture in 10-inch skillet.
  6. While stirring frequently, cook over very low heat for 1 hour until thickened.
  7. Preheat oven to 150 degrees F.
  8. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Pour thickened mixture onto parchment paper, and spread to form rectangle.
  10. Bake 5½ to 6 hours, until fruit sheet is dry enough not to stick to your fingers but moist enough to roll; remove from oven and cool.
  11. Placing a potholder in oven door to keep it ajar will help dry the leather by allowing moisture to escape.
  12. Once cooked, leather should be rolled in plastic wrap or stored in airtight container to keep.

Raspberry Fruit Leather

From Easter Delights Cookbook

Try homemade raspberry fruit leather for a great snack or lunch treat. You will not want store-bought leather after tasting these.

Ingredients:

2 c. raspberry purée

2 Tbs. honey (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix purée and honey together if using honey.
  2. Line cookie sheet or tray with wax paper.
  3. Evenly spread purée ¼ inch deep.
  4. Place in sun, oven, or dehydrator to dry. (It takes 4 to 10 hours.)
  5. Leather is ready when edges are not sticky to the touch.
  6. Pull from wax paper while still warm, and roll in plastic wrap.
  7. Can be stored for 30 days at room temperature or for months in the refrigerator.

St. Patrick’s Day Delights Cookbook and Easter Delights Cookbook are coming soon! Find more preserving recipes in Karen Jean Matsko Hood’s Cookbook Delights series of cookbooks. These may be purchased online from Karen’s Bookstore.



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