Tropical Island Fruit Leather ~ Gourmet Edition ~
Come with me and let’s take a trip to the Islands mate, were we will explore the mighty pineapple!
A pineapple is ripe if one of its top leaves can easily be pulled out. I have tried and tested this and it works. Unripe pineapples not only taste unpleasant, but can actually be quite poisonous. Eating it causes serious throat irritation and it has a strong laxative effect. I found that interesting because there have been time were I felt a strong scratchiness in my throat and wondered if it was an allergic reaction. It has never effected like a strong laxative though, but then nothing does. They say that if you want it to ripen the pineapple faster, you can stand it upside down (on the leafy end)! To that I say, good luck balancing that puppy. I am guessing one would need to wedge it between something to support it. Good to know though. :)
Did you know that you can grow a pineapple plant by twisting the crown off a store bought pineapple, allowing it to dry for 2-3 days, and then planting it? I seriously need to try this some day. But I don’t think I seriously want to be a pineapple farmer, I read that one pineapple plant produces only one pineapple every 2 years… holy smokes. That would real stretch my patience thin. One last interesting tid-bit that I learned was that a pineapple is not, strictly speaking, a fruit. Rather it is 100-200 fruitlets all fused together!
I just love learning all this stuff… specially while I am chomping away on this Tropical Island Fruit Leather. Enjoy!
Ingredients: yields 4 1/2 cups puree
- 5 cups cubed pineapple
- 5 large kiwi, peeled
- 1 cup coconut flakes (divided, see below)
- Select RIPE or overly ripe pineapple and kiwi that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
- Puree the fruit , 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.
- Sprinkle 1/2 cup of coconut flakes over the wet fruit leather. I made two trays worth, so put 1/2 cup worth of coconut on each tray.
- 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.