Homemade Fruit Leather and 5 Recipes

Making homemade fruit leather is made from fruit puree which is then dried. Fruit leathers are great to make for picnics and camping holidays as it is lightweight but packed with flavor and goodness, is a healthy energy snack, and will keep for months. A quart of fruit (640g) will make a strip of leather 6 inches by 24 inches.

The time that the fruit takes to get to the leather stage when drying it in the sun really depends on the type of fruit used as well as the weather conditions. However, if all is well, your fruit should become leather in about 20 - 24 hours. If done in an oven, it could take up to 8 hours.

It isn't always easy trying to pour the fruit puree onto the baking sheet on top of the plastic as it moves a lot. Try securing the plastic with some masking tape on the edges. Remove once your fruit puree has been spread to the desired thickness and is ready for drying.

For your fruit leather recipes, 2 cups of fruit can be spread on a baking tray measuring 12 inches by 15 -17 inches. The optimal depth is spread to a quarter of an inch, but if you want the fruit leather to dry quicker you can spread it to an eighth of an inch.

When the fruit candy is firm to the touch it can then be peeled off the plastic lining the baking tray and wrapped up for storage. It should be shiny and feel like leather.

Fruit leathers will keep for about 1 month at room temperature, 4 months in a refrigerator, and up to 1 year in a freezer.

1) Apple Fruit Leather Recipe

640 g apple, cored, skinned and chopped

Place a small amount of chopped apples into the liquidizer with enough water to start liquefying. Keep adding water and apples until you have a thick puree. Cover a large flat biscuit tray with plastic wrap and pour apple sauce on, spreading it so that it is about a quarter of an inch thick.

Place in an oven at 120ºC and leave the door open. When the fruit is completely dry and plastic is peeled off, it feels just like leather. Just tear off a chunk and eat it.

Apricots, berries, peaches, pears, prunes and most common fruit dry well. Store in freezer for longer keeping.   

A quicker way of making apple fruit leather is to buy tins of apple puree and place in baking tins.

2) Strawberry Fruit Leather Recipe

Pulp the desired amount of strawberries thoroughly, adding 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar for every cup of fruit. Heat it slightly in order to kill any bacteria or mold that might be present and then spread evenly onto a clean dry tray. Preheating the berries also preserves the color of the fruit as well as aids in the drying process.

To prevent the fruit leather from darkening in color 2 teaspoons of lemon juice can be added to every 2 cups of fruit.

The strawberry puree can be left in the sun, or dried in the oven at 120ºC with the door open. If you are going to sun-dry the fruit, make a tent out of either cheesecloth or mosquito netting to keep the insects out. Make sure that none of the material is in contact with the fruit. Sprinkle with castor sugar when dry and roll up and cut. Store in clean, dry jars.

3) Banana Fruit Leather Recipe

Mash the required amount of bananas to a mushy pulp. Add a teaspoon lemon juice for every 2 bananas and also some of the finely grated lemon rind. Mix thoroughly and then add a teaspoon or two of honey. A few sprinkles of nutmeg or cinnamon can also be added if desired. Spread this mixture onto a tray and dry in the sun. Store as above.

4) Cherry Fruit Leather Recipe

Boil together 150 ml of water with 500 g sugar until it starts to thread. Add about 1 liter of mashed cherries and boil for a few minutes. Pour this into a tray and leave to sun-dry for a few days. Bring in the mixture at night.

5) Blackberry Fruit Leather Recipe

For every cup of blackberries, add 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Place berries and sugar in a pot over a low heat. While they are cooking, mash the fruit with a potato masher. Remove from heat and strain through a fine strainer to remove all the seeds. Place fruit mixture on a tray, spread out so that it is a quarter inch thick, and dry as the recipes above.

Fruit leathers can make nice homemade gifts for Christmas.

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