Simple fruit puree is slowly baked in the oven to make these kids fave snacks. \Fruit Leather can be made with almost any fruit and takes very little effort to make a tasty, packable, snack for big and little kids.
Can you feel it? I think Fall is in the air. Is it Fall or just fall? I can’t remember. Either way, it’s in the air. It was down to almost 60 one morning. I got all excited and almost busted out the pumpkin spice everything!!
To say I don’t like summer is an understatement. It’s hot. I hate heat. This great city of mine is flooded with tourists at the peak of the season which makes going home more miserable. And this summer was even worse with the Safe Track thingy Metro was doing to make massive repairs to all lines of the system. That meant overcrowded trains, frustrated passengers, and a ton of locals just driving in instead.
I know, this is supposed to be about how wonderful summer produce is. Honestly, that’s the ONLY thing I like about summer; the produce. All those tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peaches, cherries, and berries. Now, if those suckers would grow in fall and winter I’d be a total happy camper. But, alas, they don’t. So, I must suffer through all this summer nonsense to have this delicious produce.
Now, how does one keep that sweet summer flavor year round? Some can. Like in a jar like your grandma or great-grandma did. Some pickle in, of all things, a crock or the aforementioned jars. Mom used to pickle and can. Actually, she still does, but I haven’t pickled anything since the radishes I did last year. I used to make killer jams and jellies. But since there’s only two of us, it doesn’t make sense to me to make large batches of jams and jellies especially since we don’t eat them all that often. Some freeze. Now, that I could do and did with some hatch chiles I received a couple of years ago. And we have a vacuum sealer so they will stay fresh longer.
This year, I decided to try my hand at fruit leather. It looks so good and sounds so simple that it was a must this year. Of course, it doesn’t help that I wasn’t allowed to have those fruit roll up things growing up. I admit it. I had envy. As a grown up, I thought I’d just make some instead of buying them. They’d be better for me anyway. And that’s just what I did; made me some fruit leather.
Have you had fruit leather before? It’s like jerky but with fruit. And since I love jerky I just knew I was going to love this recipe, too. I made a couple of kinds; mango and cherry. Both of which taste amazing and are the perfect afternoon snack. You know, that little bite of sweet you want after lunch? It’s totally perfect for that. At least it is for me. Just enough sweet to make me think I’m being bad and delicious fruit flavor to know I’m being good.
The best thing about fruit leather is added sweetener is usually not needed. The natural sweetness of the fruit is concentrated in the drying process so you will not need any honey or sugar in this recipe. It’s just straight up fruit and a little fruit saver if you want to keep the color bright. Just a little. I didn’t add that. It’s totally optional, but if you were making peach or something you would probably add it to keep that bright color. The cherries turned a dark DARK red that I loved, so I wasn’t worried about the color. It almost looks like chocolate they’re so dark.
I allowed the leather to bake at 170 for about 6 hours. I read recipe after recipe and they said anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. It really does depend on the water content in the fruit you select. If the puree is really thin, plan for an overnight cook. If it’s thicker, just make sure it’s spread really thin and it shouldn’t take longer than 4 hours. Yeah, I know, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. Because these fruit roll ups are much more tasty than those store bought kinds.
See what I mean when I says it looks like chocolate? It’s super dark and deliciously sweet that you’re truly going to feel like you’re indulging, but you’re really not. You’re eating some amazingly delicious, concentrated fruit that’s completely healthy and good for you. I know, it’s not an easy idea to get used to, that snacks and desserts can be healthy AND delicious.
There are so many delicious recipes using summer produce. Thankfully, Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking, was able to host this event this week. She did a rocking job, so make sure to comment like and share to show to some love for her mad hosting skills this week.
How do you harvest and save summer produce?
- 4 cups cherry puree (or your fruit of choice)
- pinch of Fruit Fresh (optional)
- Preheat oven to 170.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat (preferable). Pour half of the puree on each pan and, using an offset spatula, spread evenly.
- Bake at 170 for 4 to 6 hours. The leather is finished when it is dry to the touch. Allow the leather to cool completely.
- Place a piece of parchment on top of the fruit leather and flip the silpat over. Carefully remove the leather from the silpat; cover with another piece of parchment, and slice into strips using a rotary cutter. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
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