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Making Fruit Leather

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Fruit leathers are homemade fruit rolls.  They are a tasty, chewy, dried fruit product.  Fruit leathers are made by pouring pureed fruit onto a flat surface for drying. When dried, the fruit is pulled from the surface and rolled.  It gets the name “leather from the fact that when the pureed fruit is dried, it is shiny and has the texture of leather.

The advantages of making your own fruit leathers are to use less sugar and to mix fruit flavors.

Fruit leathers are a great tasting, healthy snack that can be easily made with a food dehydrator.  Homemade leathers are wholesome, 100% fruit snacks that are extremely easy and fun to make.  Store bought roll ups are over processed, over priced, imitation fruit products that include extra sugars, extra corn syrups and trans fats as ingredients. Below is a listing of the major ingredients from a well-known brand of a fruit roll up product:

  • Fruit from concentrate
  • Corn syrup
  • Dried corn syrup
  • Sugar
  • Partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil

Tips for making the best home-made fruit leather:

  • Select RIPE or slightly overripe fruit that has reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
  • Prepare the fruit; wash, dry, remove stems, pits, seeds and so forth.  Remove the skins if desired and any bruised areas.
  • Puree the fruit 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 you acheive 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 fruits that have a lower water content such as banana (make a thicker puree), or add 1 Tbsp at a time of ground chia seeds.
    • Problem:  The fruit leather is discolored.   Many fruits will discolor as they dry.  It doesn’t affect taste, only the appearance.  To make fruit leather that doesn’t discolor, you can add a little lemon juice to the puree.  About 2 tsp per 2 cups of puree.
    • Spices to Try - Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, mace, mint, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.  Use sparingly, start with 1/8 teaspoon for each two cups of puree.
    • Flavorings to Try - Almond extract, lemon juice, lemon peel, lime juice, lime peel, orange extract, orange juice, orange peel or vanilla extract.  Use sparingly, try 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for each two cups of puree.
    • Extender – Applesauce can be dried alone or added to any fresh fruit pureé as an extender.  It decreases tartness and makes the leather smoother and more pliable.
    • Delicious Additions to Try — Shredded coconut, chopped dates, other dried chopped fruits, granola, chopped nuts, chopped raisins, poppy seeds, sesame seeds or sunflower seeds.  These can be sprinkled on top for added 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 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 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 approx. one month, or in a freezer for up to one year.
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.
I printed this label on my printer, giving my fruit leather that special touch.
I highly recommend the Excalibur Dehydrator lined with reflex sheets from my personal use.
Fruit
Suitability for Fruit Leather
Apples Excellent
Apricots Excellent
Avocados Not recommended
Bananas Fair to good
Berries with seeds Excellent
Blueberries Only in combination
Cherries Excellent
Citrus fruits Only in combination
Citrus peel Only in combination
Crabapples Only in combination
Cranberries Only in combination
Grapes Fair to good
Guavas Only in combination
Melons Not recommended
Nectarines Excellent
Peaches Excellent
Pears Excellent
Pineapples Excellent
Plums Good
Strawberries Excellent

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32 thoughts on “Making Fruit Leather

  1. WOW! I have made fruit leathers (raw) & love them… but I’ve never seen any presented & packaged so beautiful !! YOU really are an artist of food, presentation & amazing creations… You’ve inspired me to making more of these yummy treats! Love your blog, keep up the awesome work, you excel !! One of the best sites out there, best of success to you ALWAYS !! xx a fan from Kincardine, Ontario, Canada

  2. Akentos says:

    O.O Fantastico!

  3. Tiffany says:

    I LOVE it! The packaging is so cute. Amy, thanks for all the inspiration you provide. You put a unique spin on everything you do. Your attention to detail raises the bar for excellence!

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Tiffany. I believe that we ought to surround ourselves with beauty and art and that my friend can come in so many mediums… I appreciate your kinds words, they “inspire” me. :) Have a wonderful day when this message finds you. amie sue

  4. Jana says:

    My dear Amie-Sue
    I see you are using your cherries! :)
    I love the packaging, would be totally buy some of them in a store.
    The last time I made fruit leather I filled them with cashew cream, the neighbours loved it.

    See you soon ;) can’t wait!
    Love Jana

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Jana,
      So good to hear from you! Yes indeed, I am using my cherries lol. Last night alone I packaged up 26 cups worth of DRIED cherries in food savor bags to keep them fresh. Shew! That’s a lot considering they really shrink up during dehydration. I have also made 27 full tray sheets of leathers and my freezer is well stocked. lol I have more recipes to share that include them but I don’t want to over saturate you all with recipes. Trust me, it’s hard for me to pull the reigns back. I look forward to meeting you this Fall! Have a wonderful day, amie sue

  5. [...] your own raw fruit leather using a dehydrator. You can make it plain [...]

  6. Lauren says:

    I’m looking for a recipe that makes a thicker, fruit snack-like, bar. I had a FruitChia bar the other day that was delicious and I’d like to find a recipe to recreate it. This was a thicker and chewier fruit bar than the regular fruit leather. It didn’t seem to have any other added ingredients other than fruit & chia seeds. I have yet to experiement. Any tips?

  7. Morgan says:

    I just got my brand new Excalibur, and a load of feijoas from my organic food co-op and thought to make myself from fruit leather. Using a high powered blender I blended a mix of feijoas/bananas/raspberries and a little apple/rhubarb juice until I had a thick but pourable puree. I put on a teflex sheet and it would only have been about 1/8″ thick, and when I checked on it two hours into the dry time it had cracked all over. The leather is still very wet, too wet to peel off the teflex although a skin is starting to form on top, but it’s all cracked. Any thoughts as to where I went wrong?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Morgan, this has happened to me once. My guess it that it might not have been pureed enough. That is what I guessed to have happened when it happened to me. And sometimes if the fruit is low in pectin, it can crack more. Also, make sure that you don’t have the temp to high. These are just suggestions, hard to know for sure from this point. Keep drying it till completely dry…. crumble it and sprinkle over cereal and try again. :) amie sue

  8. Malgorzata says:

    Why the storage time is one month only? I make dehydrated fruits and they last a year in a glass jar kept ine the kitchen cupboard. The fruit leather seems to have no more water than the fruits.

    • amie-sue says:

      It is my educated guess Malgozata…. I am not a manufacture and I can’t say for sure what the shelf-life is since I don’t send foods off for testing. And since we don’t keep raw foods around that long, I am going based off experience. It will last longer in the fridge or freezer… It will greatly depend on each persons drying technique. Have a wonderful evening, amie sue

      • Malgorzata says:

        Thank you Amie-Sue for your response. I thought, that it had gone bad after one month. We have got a very short strawberries’ and cherries’ season, so I would like to keep them for longer time :-)

        • amie-sue says:

          I so understand Malgorzata, I made over 78 different flavored fruit leathers last summer just to preserve all the seasonal fresh fruit that was given to me. :) Enjoy and have a blessed day, amie sue

          • Malgorzata says:

            Amie-Sue it is almost half a year since I’ve made my first fruit leather. I still keep some of the first batch and they are in a good condition. I store them in a glass jar, which stands in the kitchen drawer.

            • amie-sue says:

              That is great malgorzata. I agree, in the right storing conditions / climate, fruit leathers can keep for a long time. :) Thank you for sharing! amie sue

  9. diane lupinacci says:

    Do you have a recipe for making carrot fruit roll up with carrot pulp?

    • amie-sue says:

      No I don’t Diane. I tried one at one point but it turned out brittle and I never tried again. Sorry, amie sue

  10. RAY EDWARDS says:

    I just started trying to make “sun dried” tomatoes
    in my new dehydrator, but am disappointed with the results.

    Could I make a puree and use the fruit leather technique
    to get a dried tomato concoction that could be used in salads?? What do you think about the idea??

    • amie-sue says:

      I think that idea sounds creative Ray. Sorry to hear though that the tomatoes didn’t come out as planned? What process did you use and how did they turn out that made them disappointing? amie sue

  11. Jennifer says:

    Your site is really awesome, and very pretty. Thank you, I will be back to visit over and over!

  12. Kymn says:

    Hi

    thanks for this recipe. I have a problem. I followed the steps one by one and my leather pulled apart when drying. I tried is 3 times again and it did the same with all 3 batches. Its as if it cracks. Do you know what I am doing wrong?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Kymn, what ingredients are you using? Are you following one of mine? Please let me know so I can better help you. amie sue

  13. Kymn says:

    Hi Amie-sue

    I followed your instructions step by step but used guavas with a sugar water. I did not make it to runny but a good pouring consistency.

    • amie-sue says:

      I am not familiar with guavas Kymn, nor do I use sugar water… so that might be the issue. Hard for me to comment since I am not familiar with using the two ingredients. There might be too much “water” in the batter. amie sue

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