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Fuzzy Navel Fruit Leather

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Fuzzy Navel Fruit Leather made with fresh peaches and no added sugar

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free ~

As a child, I was a tree climber.  I was constantly in search of a mighty, hefty trunk that I could shimmy up. We moved a lot during those childhood years. And as Mom scouted the surroundings for school and job locations,  I only cared about whether or not there were any good trees to climb.

The last time I climbed a tree, I was in 8th grade.  We had a huge oak in our yard, and it had my name all over it!   I can’t even recall how many times I went up and down that tree, but each time I went up, I went higher and higher.

I got braver and braver as I scooched myself along its branches. If  I thought it could hold my weight, I explored it. Then the day came when my tree climbing career ended. It started out as a typical day, I stood at the base of the tree and looked high into its canopy.

Today, I was going to go further than ever before.  So, my adventure began up the tree.  I was making great headway and having a great time.  I can’t remember how far off the ground I was, but it wasn’t anything to sneeze at.

I stretched my arm up high, blindly searching for a knob or branch to grasp so I could pull myself up further,  my hand rested on a large piece of bark, and with great strength, I started to hoist my body up, the bark gave away (luckily I had a grip with my other hand), so all was good, but then…THEN thousands, I mean, thousands! of earwigs came pouring out from the wounded tree where I had ripped the bark off.

OMGosh!!!  I can’t remember how I got to the ground but trust me; it took me only a matter of seconds.  (shudders at the memory)  It still makes my hair stand on end to even think back to that moment.  To this day I can be startled into a cardiac emergency by the sight of earwigs!

fresh peaches on my farmI bet you are wondering why I shared that silly story…  well, that was the last time I faced an earwig UNTIL a few days ago. Coming to live on a  farm I have learned that I have to share it with all other sorts of creatures, one being the earwig.  Sigh.

A few days ago  I went out and picked a bucket of peaches, and with a song, in my heart and joy in my step, I made my way back to the kitchen so I could start creating with them.  There was one peach that stood out above the rest.  I was huge!  It was beautifully wrapped in soft, peach-colored skin with a blush of red on one side.  It was perfectly ripe when I gave it a gentle squeeze.

I rolled it around in my hands, admiring its beauty when I spotted a little hole near the stem.  No biggie I thought.   I placed my perfect peach under the faucet and carefully bathed it, not wanting to bruise the delicate skin.   With my pairing knife in hand, I made a circular cut in two directions,  oh man, the knife just glided through its flesh and juice started to run down my forearm.

My mouth instantly started watering.  I gave the peach a slight twist, and it just fell in half away from the seed….EARWIGS!!!! Holy mother of orchards!!!!!  I started to do the earwig dance (trust me, it’s not sensual lol), hooting and hollering, grossed out beyond gross,  I had instant goosebumps, and even my goosebumps got goosebumps!  My loving husband came to my aid and took the peach to the back door where he pitched it into the woods.   I am getting goosebumps as I am typing this sentence.  I guess I am not the only lover of a gorgeous peach.

So, onward to the Fuzzy Navel Fruit Leather.   For a long time, I have wanted to name a recipe Fuzzy Navel. I can’t explain why I just liked the sound of it.  I knew I had heard the name before and had an inkling that it was a drink of some sorts,  so I Googled it.   Yep, as I suspected, it is an alcoholic beverage that consists of peach schnapps, orange juice, and lemonade.   I’ve never been a drinker so I am not sure what the beverage tastes like,  but I liked the idea of peaches, oranges, and lemons in the ingredient list, and I figured I could make something fun with them.

I will be honest; it took me three tries to get this recipe right.  I think the oranges threw me off.  They add a different consistency to the mix, and I kept over-drying it.  What was intended to be a pliable leather that turned into flakes… which ended up giving me whole new ideas for some other recipes.  So it’s all good.  Ok,  I have bent your ear long enough, let’s get on with the recipe.


yields 6 cups puree


  1. Select RIPE or overly ripe peaches and oranges that have reached a peak in color, texture, and flavor.
  2. Puree the fruit, lemon juice, and rum extract, 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 granulated sugar because it tends to change the texture.
  3. 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.
  4. Dehydrate the fruit leather at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, reduce temp to 115 degrees (F) and continue drying for about 16 (+/-) hours.  The 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
  5. 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 them tightly with plastic wrap. Click (here) to see photos on how I wrap them.
    • 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.

Culinary Explanations:

  • Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F)?  Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
  • When working with fresh ingredients, it is important to taste test as you build a recipe.  Learn why (here).
  • Don’t own a dehydrator? Learn how to use your oven (here). I do however truly believe that it is a worthwhile investment. Click (here) to learn what I use.

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