As summer winds down to a close and the leaves begin to change colors, children and parents begin to think of the beginning of school. There are school supplies to purchase, fall clothing to try on, and forms to sign. As the children get ready the weekend before school, the important question arises of what to put in your child’s lunch. It is difficult to find something nutritious and delicious that will travel well in a lunchbox. One option that meets all of these criteria is fruit leather. Fruit leather is easy to make at home and is a great alternative to the commercially prepared fruit leather snacks.
To begin making your homemade fruit leather, you will need to decide what flavor of fruit leather you would like to prepare. Some fruits that work well are apples, berries, pears, and grapes. You do not need a certain amount of fruit, but it is best to have a larger quantity, so you will have enough to make a decent sized batch of fruit leather. You could also combine fruits, such as apples and strawberries, or grapes and pears.
After you have chosen your fruit you will need to wash the fruit. If you have larger fruit, such as apples or pears, cut the fruit into smaller pieces and remove the core. Next, place the fruit in a large saucepan and add about a half cup of water for each four cups of fruit. Let the fruit cook on low heat for about 15 minutes in order to cook the fruit until it is tender. Once the fruit is tender, mash the fruit with a potato masher. At this point, you will need to taste the fruit to determine if you need to add sugar, lemon juice, or any other spices you would like. Continue to cook the fruit mixture for about 10 minutes until it has thickened.
Once the fruit mixture has become thick, puree it in a blender until smooth. Once this step is completed, you need to prepare your food dehydrator. Line each of the trays in the dehydrator with plastic wrap, making sure the trays are completely covered. Carefully pour your fruit mixture onto the trays, spreading the fruit to about a 1/4 inch thickness. Once all of your trays have the fruit on them, place the cover on your food dehydrator and turn on the food dehydrator.
The fruit will take about 6-8 hours to dry in the dehydrator. Once the fruit is dry, remove it from the trays, cut into the sizes you want, and wrap tightly in plastic. This will keep for about a month at room temperature when it is tightly wrapped.
As you can see, making fruit leather with a food dehydrator is easy to accomplish, and the end result is much healthier for your children than the store-bought, processes versions. Why not mix up a batch today?