Growing up, I was one of the many kids who loved rolled-up fruit snacks. Even today, I can eat one and think fondly of playing outside as a kid. Now, I make my own tasty, chewy, dried fruit snacks called fruit leathers.
Fruit Leathers are homemade fruit rolls using fresh, canned, or frozen fruit. Fruit leathers are made by pouring pureed fruit onto a flat surface and put into a dehydrator. When dried, the fruit is pulled from the surface and rolled. It gets the name “leather” because when the puree is dried, it is shiny and has a leathery texture.
Strawberries are in season, and I just made some strawberry and pumpkin fruit leather rolls. This is a great way to sneak in a vegetable to a picky kid. I used one pound of fresh strawberries and pureed pumpkin as a thickener. After washing and cutting the fruit, I pureed the strawberries in my blender. I then mixed in approximately 3 tablespoons of the pumpkin in a bowl. Some fruit purees will be thin, so use a thickener, such as applesauce or pumpkin puree, to get the right consistency.
I poured the puree mixture evenly onto my plastic dehydrator tray. The trays I use were designed for making fruit leather. You can check out the book So Easy to Preserve for more information on alternative tray options.
Spread the puree about 1/8- inch thick and avoid pouring it too close to the edge of the tray. Dry the leathers at 140 °F for about 6 to 8 hours. Larger batches of fruit leather may take longer to dry. You can test if the leathers are done by touching the center of the leather; if there is no indentation, they are ready for rolling. While the leathers are still warm, peel from the tray and roll. The rolls can be as large or small as you want. Cookie cutters can be used to cut out shapes the kids will love.
In my house, the leathers never last long enough for me to worry about storing them. However, keep them tightly wrapped in plastic if you want to store them. Fruit leathers will keep up to one month at room temperature. For storage up to 1 year, place the tightly wrapped rolls in the freezer.
For more information, see HGIC 3080, Drying Foods.
- Andress, E. L., Harrison, J. A., & Reynolds, S. J. (2014). So easy to preserve Cooperative Extension, University of Georgia/Athens, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.