Vanilla Cherry Fruit Leather
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Fruit leathers are an equal opportunity food. It doesn’t matter what your age is, what you look like, what color your skin is, how tall or short you may be, if you are having a bad hair day or not… it just doesn’t matter. It’s all good.
They are great for moms on the go, an afternoon snack for the kids as they come bounding off the school bus, a quick pick-me-upper snack to have before the evening Boy Scout or Girl Scout meeting, for those who get stuck in a business meeting and you need to hush your growling stomach so the whole group doesn’t look at you, a great way to keep up your stamina as you power shop at the mall for that “perfect outfit”, for the nurse who gets a 10 minute break before the double shift starts, and last but not least… for the husband who is continually rummaging through the kitchen cabinets looking for “that” flavor.
There is no wrong way to eat fruit leather; grab firmly and rip off a bit “cave-man” style! Peel thin strips, tilt your head back and slowly lower the strip in your mouth, roll pieces into a ball and try to toss it into your partners mouth, suck on a piece and let it dissolve on the roof of your mouth, or eat at your leisure as you lounge on the deck with your feet kicked up, fold strips into triangle shapes, roll into a cylinder and use as a straw in your favorite drink, lend your imagation to the fruit leather and just enjoy it. :)
Key points to remember when making your own fruit leathers. Don’t add any sweetener until you have pureed all the other ingredients together. If the fruit is ripe enough, it may not need any help. Keep in mind, flavors intensify during the dehydration process. When storing, make sure you wrap it well in plastic wrap. Fruit leather will stick…meld….fuse to itself. :) Now go on, hop into that kitchen of yours and get busy.
Ingredients: yields 4 1/2 cups
- 5 cups organic cherries (I used Bing), washed and pitted
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Select RIPE or slightly overripe cherries that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
- Prepare the cherries; wash, dry, remove stems, and pits.
- Puree the fruit, vanilla and lemon juice in your blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and sweeten if needed. Keep in mind that flavors will intensify as they dehydrate. When adding a sweetener do so 1 tbsp at a time, and reblend, tasting until it is at the desired taste. It is best to use a liquid type sweetener such as raw honey or agave as an example. Don’t use a granulated sugar because it tends to change the texture of the finished fruit leather.
- Problem: The puree for the fruit leather is too thick (won’t pour easily). Add fruit juice or water, a little at a time until the right consistency. Also, you can add other fruits that are higher in water content.
- Problem: The puree for the fruit leather is too thin (too runny). Mix with fruit that have a lower water content such as banana or add 1 Tbsp at a time of ground chia seeds.
- Spread the fruit puree on teflex sheets that come with your dehydrator. Pour the puree to create an even depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. If you don’t have teflex sheets for the trays, you can line your trays with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Do not use wax paper or aluminum foil.
- Lightly coat the food dehydrator plastic sheets or wrap with a cooking spray, I use coconut oil that comes in a spray.
- When spreading the puree on the liner, allow about an inch of space between the mixture and the outside edge. The fruit leather mixture will spread out as it dries, so it needs a little room to allow for this expansion.
- Be sure to spread the puree evenly on your drying tray. When spreading the puree mixture, try tilting and shaking the tray to help it distribute more evenly. Also, it is a good idea to rotate your trays throughout the drying period. This will help assure that the leathers dry evenly.
- Dehydrate the fruit leather at 145 degrees (F) for for one hour, reduce temp to 105 degrees (F) and continue drying for about 16 (+/-) hours. Finished consistency should be pliable and easy to roll.
- Check for dark spots on top of the fruit leather. If dark spots can be seen it is a sign that it is not completely dry.
- Press down on the fruit leather with a finger. If no indentation is visible or if it is no longer tacky to the touch, the fruit leather is dry and can be removed from the dehydrator.
- Peel the leather from the dehydrator trays or parchment paper. If it peels away easily and holds its shape after peeling, it is dry. If it is still sticking or loses its shape after peeling, it needs further drying.
- Under-dried fruit leather will not keep; it will mold. Over-dried fruit leather will become hard and crack, although it will still be edible and will keep for a long time.
- Storage: to store the finished fruit leather…
- Allow the leather to cool before wrapping to avoid moisture from forming, which makes a breeding ground for molds.
- Roll them up and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. See pictures below.
- Place in an air-tight container, and store in a dry, dark place. (Light will cause the fruit leather to discolor.)
- The fruit leather will keep at room temperature for one month, or in a freezer for up to one year.
Photo above: Here I have prepared my fruit leather for the dehydrator. I used my hand to evenly spread the puree around, assuring that it is nice and even throughout to help with the drying process. It’s amazing how much the color changes from the start to the end!
Photo above: Place two pieces of plastic wrap on your counter top, overlapping them to create a large sheet.
Photo above: Fold the edges of the plastic wrap onto the fruit leather, tapering in the ends a bit, as shown in the photo.
Photo above: Fold the end piece over onto the fruit leather. This will be the end that you start rolling.
Photo above: Roll the leather nice and tight all the way to the very end. This should keep your fruit leather nice and sealed.