How to make fruit leathers and dried fruit snacks

How to make fruit leathers and dried fruit snacks

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Fruits are very delicious and nutritious. But some people do ignore them and prefer to eat junk foods. But did you know that you can turn these fruits into natural snacks for you and your family?

Fruit leathers and dried fruits are easy enough to make.

Fruit leather

Canning produce from your garden or the farmer’s market is a great way to preserve fruits and vegetables and ensure that you can still enjoy off-season crops anytime. But there are just some fruits that are not firm enough for canning. You can turn these into fruit leather as long as they are not yet rotten. Be sure to check the fruits for dark spots and bruises and remove them.

Here’s how to make fruit leather…

You will need:

  • Fresh fruits (apples, apricots, berries, grapes, peaches, and plums). You can fill one cookie tray with at least 4 cups of fruit.
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • You can add cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves
  • Sugar – for apples, plums, and other tart fruits

Directions:

  • Get your cookie tray and cover it with waxed paper or plastic wrap.
  • Rinse your fruits. Pit or seed them if needed.
  • Chop them into small pieces.
  • Dip the sliced fruits into lemon juice. After that put them into your blender.
  • For each two cups of fruit, add half cup of water. Puree fruit. Don’t forget to taste the fruit, so that you will know if the taste is good. Add sugar if it needs more sweetness.
  • After that, you can now pour the pureed fruit into your cookie trays. Spread the pureed fruit evenly, with a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
  • Cover the tray with cheesecloth and place it in a warm, sunny area to dry.

You can also do this:

  • Pour the fruit into a large saucepan.
  • Bring it to simmer, to deepen the flavor of the fruit leather that you are making.
  • Cover and cook for fifteen minutes over a low heat, so that the fruit will be cooked well. Don’t forget to stir it well.
  • To enhance the flavor of your fruit leather, add 1 tbsp. of lemon juice.
  • You can also add a pinch or two of any spices that you like.
  • After that you can now pour the pureed fruit into your cookie trays. Spread it evenly with a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch.
  • Cover the tray with cheesecloth and place it in a warm area to dry, or you can just place the cookie trays in your oven.
  • If you used plastic wrap, make sure that you keep it from touching the sides, racks, or the bottom of your oven. Keep the plastic wrap from folding over the top of the pureed fruit.
  • Heat the fruit with a temperature of 140 to 150 degrees. After that let it dry for 12 hours or overnight.
  • Your fruit leather is ready when it is not sticky anymore, if it has a smooth surface, and if you can easily separate it from the waxed paper or the plastic wrap.
  • You can now put it in your refrigerator or freezer. Just make sure to roll it up in a plastic wrap.

Dried fruit snacks

Store-bought dried fruit snacks are expensive, so if you can make your own, then why not?

You can use any fruit in making dried fruit snacks; just make sure that you use fully ripe and unblemished fruit. The reason why dried fruits are very expensive is because you need 25 pound of ripe fruit to produce 5 pounds of dried fruit!

Wash your fruits and wipe them with towel. If you are going to use fruits such as bananas, peaches, or pears you will have to peel them. Dip apples, peaches, apricots and other light colored fruits into lemon juice before drying them.

Cut your fruits about 1/4 inches. If you’re using fruits such as apricots, plums and other small fruits you can just cut them into two. You don’t have to cut grapes and cherries, just leave them whole.

How to prepare your fruits:

Remove the stems and pit of grapes and cherries, you can cut them into two or leave them whole.

  • Core your apples and pears and then cut them into slices or rings.
  • Cut your apricots in half and then remove their pits.
  • Peel your bananas and cut them.
  • Peel your peaches and remove their stems and pits.

Pre-heat oven to 130 – 160 degrees. Use lower heat for thinner sliced fruits like apples and peaches. Spread the fruit in a single layer on your cookie sheets, don’t let the slices touch. Put a pan liner or pizza screen on top of the fruit slices to keep them from curling as they dry. When the oven is preheated, place cookie sheets into the oven. Leave the oven door slightly open, to let the steam escape. Check your fruit every now and then, rotate the oven racks or cookie sheets, and turn the fruits every hour.

Drying fruits using the oven can take a lot of time. Here’s a simple guide showing how long it takes to dry some common fruits:

Apple 6 hours
Banana 6 hours
Peaches 6 hours
Pears 6 hours
Plums 6 hours
Citrus peel 8-10 hours
Grapes 8-10 hours
Apricots 12 hours
Cherries 12 hours
Strawberries 12 hours

 

The fruit will become leathery if it lost most of its moisture. To make sure that the fruits are dry, check a couple of slices from each tray.

When the fruits are already cool place them in a resealable bag or airtight containers. Keep them in a cool, dry place. Fruit snacks spoil easily, so you have to consume them quickly.

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