Green Apple Jolly Rancher Fruit Leather ~ Gourmet Edition ~
Gravenstein apples are thin-skinned, super tart and snappy, pleasantly puckery when raw. The flesh is crisp, tart and floral with a puckering punch that will leave your mouth-watering! Prior to about one month ago, I had never heard of these apples. With curiosity at it fullest, I snatched up a good size bag of them. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but then that is really never a worry for me. I wanted to find a way to preserve them so I share them with others and the best way was to make a fruit leather. After creating the fruit leather puree it came to me that it tastes just like those Green Apple Jolly Ranchers that I grew up sucking on.
Funny but painful story about those darn Jolly Ranchers. They use to make them into sticks, not sure if they still make them or not, but anyway, I always seemed to have one in hand, sucking and licking away on it. Then one day, my tongue became inflamed with felt like it was covered hundreds of canker sores. My great grandmother had to take me to the doctor because it was so painful. I don’t recall that anything was really ever done but I do remember sitting on the floor in the den, directly in front of a big box fan with my tongue hanging out of my mouth. The cool air gave me some relief. I am sure I was sight to behold.
Ok, let’s move forward and check this recipe out. I hope it gets your mouth-watering and that you try making this recipe. I realize that Gravenstein apples are not always available due to season and location so if you want to still make the recipe, pick a sour green apple as a substitute. Enjoy!
Ingredients: yields 4 cups puree
- 3 gravenstein apples (1.6 lbs)
- 2 large bananas, ripe
- 2 Tbsp raw coconut crystals
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp salt
Tip: If the apples create a puddle of juice after the pureeing process, add 1-2 Tbsp of ground chia seeds and allow the mixture to rest so it can absorb the fluid. Proceed as normal.
- Select RIPE gravenstein apples that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor. (see below for selecting)
- Prepare the apples; wash, dry, and core.
- Puree the apples, bananas, coconut crystals cinnamon and salt, 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 1 tbsp 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.
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.
For the best tasting recipe, you need to the best tasting apples. Here is how to select them:
- A Good-quality Gravenstein apple will be firm with smooth, clean skin and have good color for the variety.
- Test the firmness of the apple by holding it in the palm of your hand. (Do not push with your thumb). It should feel solid and heavy, not soft and light.
- Avoid apples with soft or dark spots.
- If the apple skin wrinkles when you rub your thumb across it, the apple has probably been in cold storage too long or has not been kept cool.
Gravenstein apples are available in the Fall.
- To store, keep apples as cold as possible in the refrigerator. Apples do not freeze until the temperature drops to 28.5°F.