Today, I am going to feature the mango. I never grew up eating this fruit and I am estimating that it was about 8 years ago when these blessed fruits came into my life. The outer skin is smooth and is green in un-ripe mangoes but turns into golden-yellow, bright yellow or orange-red when ripe depending on the cultivar. Peeling back the skin, the juicy flesh has orange-yellow in color with numerous soft fibrils radiating from the husk. The flavor is pleasant and rich, and tastes sweet with mild tartness. I have eaten them at all stages, some good and some not so good. When you sink your teeth into a nice ripe one, you will know it instantly because there will be a trail of juice running down your forearm. There have been times where they are so juicy that I almost had to take a shower afterward. Like papaya, mangoes contain enzymes for breaking down protein. The fiber in mangoes also helps digestion and elimination.
To ripen a mango;
- Leave the fruit out on the countertop at room temperature for a couple of days to allow it to ripen naturally. Check periodically to see if the mango is ripe by applying pressure with your fingertips. This is the slowest method to ripen a mango.
- Place the fruit in a brown paper bag, and leave it on the counter for a couple of days. The brown paper bag will trap the natural ethylene gas, which causes the mango to ripen quickly.
- Place the fruit in a brown paper bag, and add 1 to 2 apple slices. Leave the bag on the counter overnight. The apple releases its own ethylene gas, which will shorten the ripening time even further. A whole apple will also work.
Ingredients: 6 cups puree
- 2 ripe mangos (1lb 3 oz)
- 2 1/2 cups sliced peaches (16oz)
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup raw almonds, chopped fine (add at the end)
- 1 cup coconut flakes (divided – 3/4 cup blended, 1/4 cups add at the end)
Preparation for leather:
- Select RIPE or slightly overripe bananas, mangos and peaches that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor. (use bananas with brown speckled peels)
- Puree the fruit, 3/4 cup coconut flakes, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and stevia, 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 4 hours.
Transfer the semi-dried banana chips onto the leather, gently pressing them in. Continue drying for about 4-6 hours or until done. 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 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 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.