Homemade fruit leather is a flavor-packed snack that’s great for kids, backpackers, bikers, and road warriors alike. Even if you didn’t grow up eagerly anticipating store-bought fruit roll-ups being in your lunch box as a kid, the homemade version is definitely something to try. The concentrated fruit flavors are simply delicious, and there are no added preservatives or colors.
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If you have a dehydrator with a fruit leather tray, making fruit leather is quite easy, but making it in the oven is just as simple. The process is mostly the same. You start by choosing your desired fruit and other ingredients, such as a sweetener and spices, and puréeing them together in a food processor.
You then boil the purée to cook out some of the water and make a thicker, spreadable mixture. Finally, you spread the mixture thinly on your fruit leather tray (dehydrator) or on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (oven) and heat it on a low temperature (145 to 170 degrees F) for several hours. The drying time depends on many factors, including humidity, temperature, and how cooked down the purée is. A good rule of thumb is to check the fruit leather after about 4 or 5 hours. It will likely need more time, but checking at this point will help you gauge how much more time is needed.
There are plenty of recipes online for different fruit leathers to get you started, or you can try the recipe I’m about to give you. However, once you get the hang of making them, fruit leathers are fun to experiment with thanks to all of the possible fruit combinations.
Recipe for Spiced Orange Cream Fruit Leather
This recipe for spiced orange cream fruit leather is really a treat around Christmas time thanks to the cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s lightly sweetened with honey and gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt.
- 6 oranges
- 1/2 cup of applesauce
- 2 tablespoons (T) of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon (t) of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon (t) of nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons (t) of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt
- Cut off the rind of the oranges with a sharp chef’s knife to ensure you remove all of the pith. Cut the oranges in half to remove the thick white stems on the inside.
- Purée the oranges, honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a food processor or high-performance blender. If you are using a chunky applesauce, you can purée it along with these ingredients. Smooth applesauce can be added in the next step.
- Combine the orange mixture with the applesauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 15-20 minutes or until you have a pourable, yet spreadable, mixture (the consistency of a thick applesauce that holds its shape). For a really smooth consistency, especially when working with fruits that can stay chunkier even after being processed, I like to use an immersion blender to combine all of the ingredients really well.
- Mix in the plain Greek yogurt and vanilla.
- Spread thinly (between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch thick) on a fruit leather tray. (Oven alternative: spread on a silicone baking mat placed on a baking sheet.)
- Place in the dehydrator and set the dehydrator for 145 degrees F. Dry for 5 to 13 hours. (Oven alternative: set the oven to lowest setting available, typically 170 degrees F.)
- When the fruit leather is done, it should be free of sticky spots in the center and should peel off the surface and easily roll.
- With the whole batch of warm fruit leather rolled up tightly, use clean kitchen scissors or a knife to cut it into smaller portions of rolled up strips of fruit leather.
- Store your fruit leather in airtight containers.
What’s your favorite fruit leather? Let me know in the comments section below.