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Yes it’s true… I have been wrapped up with making fruit leather these days, weeks, oh my gosh, has it even turned into a month?! I shudder at the thought. I wake up in the morning and my little feet hit the floor and pitter-patter down the hallway, making my way to the kitchen, for in the midst of my dreams I have come up with yet again, another recipe to test… I am not sure what bug bit me, but it gave me a fever for creating gourmet fruit leathers.
As I stand at the island in my kitchen, most of the cabinet doors are open, the draws are ajar, and the counters and sinks are full of dirty dishes. Shoot I am beginning to think that dishes are just meant to be dirty all time and having them clean in the cabinet is just a sheer crime! I usually have at least four recipes going at once. It isn’t uncommon to find the water running, (filling the sink for dishes), the Blendtec whirling with some beautiful puree in it, all the while I hustle and bustle about looking for a dry dishcloth, which is usually always hanging from my pants pocket. Logic defies me during these moments. A photo shoot is sitting in the corner waiting for my attention, and my printer is chiming in the background telling me that I have run out of paper for the labels that I am creating. Fruit juice is in my hair (note to self: always put blender lid on before pushing “on”) causing strands of it to stick to my cheek which constantly makes it feel as though there’s a bug on me. lol My husband walks by, plants a kiss on my head, (which is a strategic plan to distract me as he snags a sample) and gracefully walks away shaking his head, laughing and telling me that I am crazy. Perhaps I am, but I am ok with that. All current fruit leather recipes are listed below, just in case you want to skip all the following girl talk.
Part of my inspiration comes from my surroundings, here at Oldfather Farms. The lush fruit season sends my mind into a tizzy of joy and wonder. It all started with the fruit bearing season of Bing and Rainier Cherries. After we sent the bulk of the ripe cherries to the packing house, I was left with over 100 lbs worth to process personally. My fingers were stained reddish/purple for about three weeks and my hands looked like those of a mechanic who works in grease all day. But I was proud of them and eventually stopped stuffing them into my pockets whenever I went out in public. :) I was determined to NOT let a single cherry go bad on me so, I picked them, froze them, dehydrated them, made smoothies with them, made jams, ice creams, and fruit leathers galore. I even think I swallowed a cherry pit when my pitter malfunctioned and shot one into the air and into my mouth! Will a cherry tree grow out of my belly button come Spring? My Great Grandmother always told me that watermelons were going to sprout out of there because I always ate the seeds. I am still waiting on that.
I had dehydrator trays all over my kitchen, fruit leathers had invaded and taken control. My brain was constantly interrupting itself. The chatter went something like this: “I could try…oh wait, what would tarragon taste like paired with, oh oh, bananas, I could combine bananas and …. wait…. a bright shiny object!” I kid you not, there was a tornado of ideas going through my mind so quickly that I almost called for an emergency broadcast (this was not a test)! It was exhausting as my body tried to keep up with my mind. I would no sooner wash the counter load of dishes when another creation would hit me and the process would start over. There was no end to my madness so I caved into it. The Borg where right on Star Trek, resistance is and was… futile.
It wasn’t just creating the recipes that kept me busy. I then had to package and design labels for all of them. Right now my stand-alone freezer is chuck full of raw treats and it brings me such joy, and to my non-stop grazing husband. hehe We keep the freezer in the garage and my husband is always in it, pulling out raw treats and sharing them with everyone who comes over; guests, orchard workers, the neighbors horses, the electricians, you name it. Today, a crew of five workers who are removing poison oak from our land, got Banana and Strawberry Dixie Pops. Nothing more masculine than seeing a hard-working men walk around with Dixie Pops. lol
Still covered in every fruit puree possible… pear harvest hit… well for Bartlett’s anyway, the Bosc are still on the branches right now. And trust me those branches are hanging low with the weight of the fruit on them. Occasionally I go out there and lift up a branch or two, hoping to give the trunk of the tree some relief. A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! The day of harvest came and it was a glorious day outside, the weather was perfect as it hovered around the mid seventies, the sun was high but there was a slight breeze in the air to keep it from beating down to harshly. The orchard pickers reminded me of stealth ninjas, one minute they were in front of you, the next minute they had disappeared into the trees only leaving a ghostly trail of dust that proved that they were once there.
The rumbling of trucks and four-wheelers kept a steady hum as the workers continued well into the late afternoon. There were bins and barrels of pears peppered around the land. Ladders clanked and squeaked as they stripped each tree clean of its bounty. Then faintly, if the wind caught their words just right, you would hear a cadence of orders being commanded, a friendly chatter between workers and occasionally a melody of song would whisper through the air. They were working hard but they seemed happy. Which made me happy. I sit here with a smile on my face as I look at the photo to the left here… You can’t quite see the huge grin on Bob’s face but he too was in heaven. Here is giving the pears a bit of loving before they got shipped off. So, keep in mind, if you buy a pear and it tastes amazing… it could be from Oldfather Farms… infused with love! :)
Oh, and did I mention that there was a Mexican food truck parked in the middle of the orchard?! Oh gosh, how could I forget that. This topped it all! A local restaurant sent out one of their food trucks to feed the workers. What an odd, yet wonderful and tasty delight that was! I posted a picture below of Gina and Bob enjoying a Mexican feast. Boy, was the food amazing! Here is a shout out to Taqueria Los Amigos!
No sooner did the pears start to ripen, then so did our little peach trees. (and they still are) Cherries, pears and now peaches! How is one to keep up?! (wipes brow and carries a grin stretched from one ear to the other) So, daily I head out and touch the pears, seeing if they are ready for picking. Ok, ok, I talk to them too, really, there’s no need for a straightjacket. Really.
But wait, there’s more! (I feel like a Ginsue knife commercial) Blackberries!! Take me now lord, for I am in heaven! lol We must have at least a hundred feet of wild, thorned, blackberries within our property lines and trust me, I have picked buckets full. But I have come to realize that I realistically can’t keep up with them, so I am going to share some with the birds. :) Below, I am picking away while Bob is rejoicing in the background. I do love that man.
So, as I already said, I have been making oodles of fruit leathers and I wanted to share all the recipes with you that I have been creating but I was concerned about releasing them individually and overloading you with emails so I decided to do one grand-puba post and include links to the fruit leather recipes that I have released so far. I have developed, prepared and tested over 40 new recipes. Most have been an instant hit but I have one right now as I type this that has given me some challenges. I am on the 3rd attempt of that recipe trying to perfect it. But that’s ok too because the mess ups didn’t end up in the trash, they actually gave me a whole new idea and now I am off in a new direction. I will share more later …
So without further ado… in no particular order… I would like to present to you…
They freeze beautifully too!
OH and one last thing that I wanted to share with you. Bless my husbands heart, he sees all the work that I put into these creations, the amount of time I spend on them and he wanted to do something special for me, he wanted to find a way to make my life easier….so he bought me a new washing machine…
Isn’t he just amazing?! lol