If you don’t know what fruit leathers are or how to make fruit leathers then don’t worry, you’ve probably seen them in the grocery store under the brand name ‘Fruit Roll Ups’. They’re marketed as a healthy treat made from dried fruit puree and juice, but the unfortunate reality is that most fruit leathers sold in stores are laden with sugar, preservatives and filled with little else in the way of actual fruit.
This is no reason why you can’t enjoy your own healthy fruit leathers, though. Making your own versions means you can have complete control over what goes into your sweet treat, and in turn what goes into your family’s bodies. All you need is a food dehydrator, and the fruit roll up/fruit leather trays that are sold to fit them.
You may be wondering just how to make fruit leather in a dehydrator. It’s a specific process, but not one that’s difficult or time consuming at all. You can use almost any fruit, as long as you can make it into a puree (so this excludes pomegranate and passion fruit). You might choose to leave the seeds in, or even add chopped nuts or other seeds to the mixture for some texture. Add a drop of food coloring to make it more appealing to kids, or swirl it through for aesthetic appeal. The choice is yours.
Before you learn how to dehydrate fruit leathers you need to gather your ingredients.
– 2 cups of fruit will make enough for one tray of fruit leather. Wash and peel your fruit if necessary. You can use frozen or canned fruit, but be sure to drain any excess water or syrup off.
– Sugar. You can use any kind of sweetener you choose, from honey to molasses, or brown or white sugar. Use 1 tbsp sweetener for each cup of fruit.
– If you’re using fruit that darkens in light or air (e.g. bananas, melon, apples) then add 1 tsp lemon or lime juice to every cup of fruit.
Firstly, you need to turn your fruit into puree. You can do this however you like, but we advise against using a juicer as this leaves out all the thick goodness. A hand blender is best, as you don’t need to add any extra water for the device to work. Try not to water down your fruit, or it will be too thin to dry into a leather.
Once your fruit is blended, stir in the sweetener and lemon/lime juice if required. Next, turn on your fruit dehydrator appliance and simply pour the puree onto your fruit leather tray to the thickness you want. The next stage in how to dehydrate fruit leather is the simplest: leave it to dry for 8 to 12 hours, roll up on a sheet of plastic wrap or greaseproof paper and serve, or alternatively store in zip lock bags to enjoy at a later date.