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Strawberry Banana Lime Fruit Leather

Posted May 28 2009 12:23am

For reasons that I don't really understand, neither of my two kids like fruit. They eat arugula, kale, swiss chard, and broccoli with abandon. Not to mention daikon, radishes, onions, cauliflower and mushrooms. But give them a strawberry or a blueberry and it's like you asked them to eat worms. If given the choice, actually, they'd probably eat the worm.

Both will eat apples, bananas and melon, so we eat lots of those around here. And they'll eat pretty much any fruit if it's dried. Dried mango, dried blueberries, dried cranberries ... and fruit leather has always been a big hit.

With vegetables, I've found it helps if I let my kids pick out whatever they want and then have them help cook. Cauliflower became a favorite when we discovered purple cauliflower at the farmer's market and I let my older son stir fry it with ginger, cilantro and lemon juice. Kale was added to the list when we figured out how to make crispy kale chips in the oven, and I let him do all the prep from washing the kale, removing the stems and rubbing on the oil and salt.

So that is my strategy with fruit too. On Sunday at our local farmer's market, I let my older son pick out whatever he wanted. I beamed with pride as he picked carrots, fennel, swiss chard, broccoli, cauliflower and red pepper for the vegetables. For fruit he was more limited but finally decided on apples, strawberries and limes.

When we got home we talked about what we wanted to do with the fruit. The apples he wanted to save for his lunch box and snack time. The strawberries and limes we decided to make into fruit leather.

So here's what we did.

1 pint of strawberries
2 limes
3 bananas

Wash and cut up the strawberries, then add them to a blender together with the peeled bananas and juice from the limes. Blend until smooth and pour onto a dehydrator sheet. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for about 5 hours or until dry.

Verdict: A big winner. Both boys loved the fruit leather. In fact, I had to put it away before they ate it all. For me, the tang of the lime juice was a nice complement to the sweetness of the strawberries. I will definitely make this again (maybe I'll even try to sneak in a kiwi next time... ).

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