Banana Prunus Armeniaca Fruit Leather … sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Prunus Armeniaca is another way of saying apricot. So what do we know about the all mighty apricot?
- It is similar to a small peach (0.6–1.0 in) diameter.
- They range from yellow to orange, often they adorn a sweet blush color of red on the side most exposed to the sun.
- The surface can be smooth or velvety with very short hairs.
- The flesh is usually firm and not very juicy.
- Its taste can range from sweet to tart.
- The seed enclosed is a hard, stony shell, often called a “stone”, with a grainy, smooth texture except for three ridges running down one side.
Many apricots are cultivated in Australia, particularly South Australia, where they are commonly grown in the region known as the Riverland and in a small town called Mypolonga in the Lower Murray region of the state. In states other than South Australia, apricots are still grown, particularly in Tasmania and western Victoria and southwest New South Wales. Hmmm, anyone want to go on a field trip with me? hehe
There is no doubt that apricots all by themselves are delicious but they are small and it can take quite a few to make enough volume to make fruit leathers. One way to help stretch the mighty dollar and the fruit leather is to add some bananas to the mix. Pureed bananas make for wonderful leathers because it is so pliable and works as a great binder. But besides all of that… the combination is wonderful together.
- 9 apricots, washed and stones removed
- 2 large ripe bananas
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp liquid stevia ( I use NuNaturals )
- Select RIPE or slightly overripe fruit that has reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
- Prepare the apricots; wash, dry,and remove the pits. Remove the skins (if desired) and any bruised areas.
- Puree the fruit, lemon juice, vanilla and stevia 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 (make a thicker puree), 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 one hour then reduce the temp to 105 degrees (F) 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 the fruit leather peels away easily and holds its shape after peeling, it is dry. If the fruit leather 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 up to avoid moisture from forming, thus giving it a breeding ground for molds.
- Roll them up and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. See photos 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.
Below is a sample of how I wrap my fruit leathers for storage…
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.