I went blackberry picking AGAIN! Oy-vey! I can’t help myself. I grew up a fruit lover and having fresh fruit was always a very a special treat… now, I am surrounded by it and I can’t fathom the idea of letting it go bad. But, how does one keep on top of over 100 feet of wild blackberry bushes?! I simply can’t pick them fast enough. Last night I decided to pick just a little bit more (feel like an addict here) and as I was crouched over, carefully weaving my fingers around all the thorns so I could snatch that “blue ribbon” prize-winning berry, a quail popped out beside me. Scared the living daylights out of me! lol The birds are enjoying the berries too, so I guess I won’t be too greedy. :)
The amazing thing with these blackberry bushes is that all the berries ripen at different times. So, the picking feels like it is never-ending. You will notice that when I made the blackberry puree that I added a little sweetener. The berries were very ripe but I wanted to increase the sweetness level a tad so it will be important for you to taste test as you prepare your fruit leather.
My photos didn’t come out the best but that won’t affect the flavor.
Ingredients for blackberry puree: yields 3 cups puree
- 4 cups fresh blackberries
- 2 Tbsp vanilla infused agave nectar
Ingredients for banana puree: yields 3 cups puree
- 4 large bananas, ripe = 3 cups puree
- Select RIPE or slightly overripe blackberries and bananas that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
- Prepare the blackberry puree and banana puree separately.
- Puree the blackberries and agave in the blender or food processor until smooth. Taste and sweeten more if needed. Keep in mind that flavors will intensify as they dehydrate. When adding a sweetener do so a little at a time, and reblend, tasting until it is at the desired taste. It is best to use a liquid type sweetener. Don’t use a granulated sugar because it tends to change the texture of the finished fruit leather. Place the puree in another container so you can make the banana puree.
- Puree the bananas by themselves. If the bananas are not ripe enough, you may need to add some sweetener.
- To make the spiral effect; Starting with the blackberry puree, pour a small circle amount in the center of the teflex sheet, then pour some banana puree in the center of the blackberry puree. Shake the tray so it spreads a bit. Continue this process until the mixture has spread out towards the dehydrator tray edge. You can make as many or as little rings as you want. I then took a skewer stick and drug it around in a pattern.
- 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 1 hour, then reduce temp to 105 degrees (F) for about 16 (+/-) hours. Flip the leather over about half way through, remove the teflex sheet and continue drying on the mesh sheet. 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 the fruit leather is not completely dry.
- Press down on the fruit leather with a finger. If no indentation is visible or if the fruit leather 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.
- 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.