I love buying little gifts for my husband, not only because I love him so much but because he finds joy even in the smallest of gifts. For instance, while I was out grocery shopping a few days ago, I came across the most beautiful chili peppers and I knew instantly that Bob would love them. I really don’t know much about peppers, which ones are hot or mild or what to do with them exactly but they were just to pretty to pass up. Once I got home with them, I arranged them on the countertop, asking Bob to close his eyes. He patiently waited for words, “Ok, you can open then now!” And when I did, his face lit up for he found them as enticing as I did. His first words were, ” You need to make a leather with them!” His wish is my command so within minutes the blender was purring away with another wild concoction brewing in it.
I dipped my tasting spoon in the puree and took a tasting. Ooooh sweet…OOOOOH HOT! lol I got a little nervous because I know flavors intensify while in the dehydrator but it was too late now, I had to move forward with it. Bob tasted the puree and had the same reaction but assured me that he liked it. In the end, I have to admit that I / we really enjoy this leather. As you take a bit and suck on it, the sweetness of the peach hits you first …. but like most things in life, this is the calm before the storm. lol Because not long after the sweet, calming peach… in rolls the fiery pepper storm. WOWZA! Bob kept asking for more so I knew it was a hit. We then shared the leathers with some Mexican landscapers who are doing some work for us who said they like picante (spicy) food and it was a hit. They loved it! Shew! If you’re not afraid of a little adventure in life, and you want to spice things up (literally), I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and give this recipe a try.
Chili peppers actually have several important health benefits that are essential for good health. Here are a few…
- They can reduce inflammation, such as that associated with arthritis.
- Chili peppers have also been found to be an effective pain reducer.
- Cayenne is a major supporter in the production of hydrochloric acid, which is important in the digestion of food, and may also help to ease stomach pain associated with ulcers.
- Cayenne is also great for the reduction of gas and bloating.
Ingredients: 4 1/2 cups puree
- 6 cups chopped peaches
- 1 red chili pepper, seeds removed (some chilis are hotter than others, use caution)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla infused agave nectar
- Select RIPE or overly ripe peaches that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
- Puree the peaches, red pepper 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.
- 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 1 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 the fruit leather 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 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.