I’m always looking for quick and easy snack ideas that we can take on the go. Recently, I saw a few pins on Pinterest for homemade fruit leathers and I was intrigued because my four year old loves the Whole Foods 365 version. Some of the recipes I read used a lot of sugar. Some used gelatin. And some boiled the fruit, which seemed really messy and time consuming.
After reading every recipe I could find I gave it a try. The first attempt included melted plastic and a raspberry batch that tasted awful! I did some tweaking, got a few supplies that I decided were necessary after all and the second attempt went really well – even my picky husband liked them! Here’s my version and a few tips for success.
2 red apples
1/2 teaspoon of stevia
1 tablespoon of expeller pressed coconut oil
juice from 1/2 an orange
food processor or blender
cookie sheet with an edge
silpat mat (this is one of the tools I went out and bought just for this recipe)
spatula for spreading
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees then start preparing your fruit. I used strawberries and 2 red apples. You can use whatever fruit combination you like, but you will need about 3-4 pureed cups to get it thick enough to fill your pan.
Wash and chop your fruit and place it in your food processor or blender. Add one tablespoon of expeller pressed coconut oil (you can use regular coconut oil if you don’t mind the coconut flavor) and 1/2 teaspoon of stevia. You can also use a tablespoon of honey if you don’t have stevia.
Add the juice of 1/2 an orange. This will help get the consistency right without adding water, which dilutes the flavor. You can taste the mix as you go, but remember, the drying process will increase the sweetness so don’t over sweeten your mix.
Blend until smooth and add more fruit if you don’t have a full 3-4 cups of mix.
Place a silpat mat on your baking sheet and pour your mix into the middle of the pan. Most of the recipes I saw online used plastic wrap, because you are drying at such low temperatures. I found that it still melted slightly along the edges so I wasn’t comfortable using it. If you don’t have a silpat mat (these things are awesome for all baking needs and easy to clean – I LOVE mine) you can use parchment paper.
Spread the mix with a spatula or the back of a spoon. It’s important to keep it thick and spread it evenly otherwise the edges and any thin areas will dry too fast and turn crispy. The thicker your mix the longer it will take to dry, but I think the flavor and texture are better. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you can’t see through the mix in any spots. That’s when you know it’s too thin.
Place it in the oven and allow it to dry. It will take about 6 hours, but you should keep an eye on it the first time. Drying times will vary by oven and the types of fruit used. You can tell it’s ready when the middle is no longer mush or overly sticky.
When your fruit mix is dry peel it off your silpat mat and lay it on a piece of wax paper. It should come right up.
Cut it into strips, roll and store in an air tight container. They should last about 5 days although our first batch was gone in 2 days! You can also store them in the fridge, but they’re a little tough to eat cold so make sure they’ll have time to adjust to room temperature before you’re ready to eat them.
That’s it. It’s actually a pretty quick and easy process other than waiting for them to dry. We took these to the ballpark as part of our lunch on Saturday and I’m planning to make a big batch this weekend for our road trip to the beach!
Have you made homemade fruit leathers? Do you think you’ll give it a try?
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