Fruit leather is one of those easy, healthy snacks we just can't get enough of. And if your family is a fan of dried fruit or store bought fruit leather, why not try making it yourself at home?
Nearly any fruit can be turned into fruit leather. So, it's the perfect way to use up fruit you bought in bulk and are struggling to use up, and you can play around with flavors based on what's on sale or in season. You can also combine more than one fruit to make a creative fruit leather mash-up... maybe mixed berry or pear-apple.
This 5-ingredient version, inspired by the Fruit Leather recipe from SimplyRecipes.com, is affordable and so low-effort - and free of additives and preservatives you might find in pre-made fruit leathers. Whichever fruit you choose to turn into DIY fruit leather, we have a feeling your whole family won't be able to stop snacking on it.
- Fresh fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, berries, apples, pears, or grapes)
- Lemon juice
- Sugar or honey, to taste, optional
- Spices of choice, optional
Clean and prep the fruit. Wash all of your fruit, and prep it - that could mean pitting peaches, coring apples, or peeling pears. You'll also want to chop it up into small pieces, and taste it to get a sense of the natural sweetness you're working with.
Add the prepped fruit to a large saucepan, and add 1/2 a cup of water for every 4 cups of fruit. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the saucepan, and let it cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Once all the fruit has softened and cooked through, give it a stir and mash with a potato masher.
If you want to add some sweetness, this is the time to do it - honey, cane sugar, or even molasses are good options. You can also add spices and seasonings in this step. We like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg if you're going sweet, or chili powder if you want something spicy. (Tajin-spiced mango fruit leather, anyone?) Add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the fruit's natural flavor, too.
Let the mixture simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until any added sugar is dissolved and the fruit mixture has thickened.
- It's time to puree! Add the hot mixture to a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
Heat your oven to 140F and pour the puree onto a lined baking sheet - the mixture should be about 1/4" thick.
Once the oven comes to temperature, place the baking sheet in the oven. It will need to bake for 8-12 hours, so it's a great overnight project. You'll know your DIY fruit leather is done when it's non longer sticky to the touch.
After it cools completely, use a pizza cutter to slice it into squares or strips. You can take it one step further and roll it into parchment paper for a lunchbox-ready treat! Keep your finished fruit leather in an airtight container in your refrigerator - it will keep for up to 2 weeks.
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