My mom never bought us Fruit Roll-Ups when we were kids. As a child of the 80s, it was a terrible injustice, but she thought they were too sugary and too expensive. But her desire to keep our diets low in sugar didn't stop me from trading with friends at lunch. I loved the strawberry ones the most, and I'm sure it was due to the high sugar content. Kids still love fruit leather, and now there are many new varieties out there that are much lower in sugar but they are still generally pricey. Especially when you consider all of the packaging and how little you get for your money.
Thankfully, fruit leather is easy to make, and, with a little creativity, you can come up with your own flavors and blends! The best part about this recipe is that you only need two ingredients - 7 pounds of the fruit(s) you want to use and about 3/4 cup of sugar (which can easily be substituted for sweeteners with a lower glycemic value. Or you can even make them sugar-free!).
Photo Credit: the_moment
- 7 pounds of your desired fruit, washed and patted dry
- 3/4 cup of sugar or sugar substitute (more or less depending on your taste preference and how sweet your fruit is)
1.) Preheat the oven to 400.
2.) Slice fruit in half, removing any pits or stones. Place in a single layer on a baking pan with the sliced side up.
3.) Roast your fruit at 400 degrees for roughly 20 minutes. It's best to roast for 10 minutes and then check every five minutes to prevent burning and scorching.
4.) Once the fruit is done roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
5.) Once cool, blend the fruit in a food processor until smooth. Pour into a large bowl.
6.) Add the sugar/sweetener to taste. Stir well. Or skip this step if you want your leather to be sugar-free.
7.) Line a rimmed baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and pour the mixture onto the sheet. Make sure it spreads completely. You'll want a thickness between 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
When drying your leather, you can use a few different approaches.
Oven: Turn your oven on to its lowest setting. 140 is ideal, but if your lowest is higher than that you'll need to keep the oven door slightly ajar to prevent it from cooking instead of drying. Place baking sheet on the center rack and dry for 6-8 hours. You can dry multiple sheets of leather at a time using multiple oven racks.
Convection Oven: Follow the same instructions as the conventional oven, but it will speed up the process considerably.
Dehydrator: You can easily use your food dehydrator, but you will want to use the trays provided with your machine.
The Zero Energy Way: Wrap your trays in plastic wrap and let the sun do the work. Place your trays in direct sunlight for 2 days, and your leather will be perfect.
When your leather is all done drying (the surface is no longer sticky, and it is smooth to the touch), simply use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into strips and keep in a sealed container. Store in the fridge or freezer.