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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Crafting in the Kitchen: Homemade Fruit Leather

If you kids are like mine, they love fruit leathers. 
Actually I do too.  
They are a great way to get some sugar and fruit when you are out or in the car. 
They are a treat, like candy but way better! 
We normally buy them from Winco (which is the greatest store by the way, if there is one, near you check it out) but after reading the ingredients one day I got to thinking, I could so totally make this at home. 

After some web searching I found a bunch of recipes (here is just one) and all had about the same info. So I decided to give it whirl.  

After the first batch when flying out of the fridge I made a second and remembered to take pictures this time. If you are making your own baby food, simply make a little extra and use it to make a snack for you, any older kids and friends! 

Ok, so here is what you need:

A big pot or sauce pan
4 cups of fruit
about 2 tbsp of sugar (depending on your sweet tooth)
Enough Water to cover the fruit
Parchment Paper or a Silpat sheet
A fine mesh strainer
Cookie Sheet

Ok so here is where I missed a picture. Just imagine the water is filled with mixed berries from Costco.
I boiled the fruit, water and sugar until the fruit was soft. I am not sure how long it took. 

Once the fruit was cooked, I strained it and put all the fruit in my food processor (you can use a blender, but you need to do smaller batches)

The liquid you have left over from boiling the fruit can be tossed or used to make oatmeal, a simple syrup or what ever else you can think of.

Ok so back to your fruit. Once you have a nice even consistency puree use your fine mesh strainer to separate the seeds and other bits. 
It is time consuming I know but just use a soft spatula or the back of a big ladle to push the yummy fruit through.

 You get about 1 cup of puree from 4 cups of berries. 

Note: I made my with only the berry puree it is an intense flavor (good still) but looking at the store ones have apple puree (apple sauce) as a filler. This will extend your berries and give you more leather for your time. I would do equal parts berries/apple. One Large Apple makes about 1/4 cup of apple sauce (cut, boil, puree)

 Now you get to the oven and boring part! 
Set your oven to 200 degrees
Line your pan and.. pour!
Try to get your puree in an even layer. Any thicker parts take longer to cook.

Place your pan in the middle of your oven and set the timer for 2 hours. 
I did not even bother to start checking it until 1:45. 
The fruit leather is done when it is no longer tacky/sticky
Pull it out and off the cookie sheet on to your drying rack. 
Let it cool then remove from the parchment. 

Slice or break up your HOMEMADE Fruit leather and store in a ziplock bag. 

I have made cherry and mixed berry so far and since I am again running low I foresee an apple/berry coming soon. 
Just about any fruit you can think of would make a good fruit leather, so go forth and puree!

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