We purchased a dehydrator about a year ago so Hubby could try making beef jerky and I have since learned the luxury of using it for fruit leathers. We buy a ton of fruit on a regular basis, but every now and then some if it starts to go soft and age before we can get to it to eat it. If you puree it up and toss it in the dehydrator, you have a nice, easy, healthy snack AND a way to extend the shelf life of your produce.
This time around we decided to try a Cinnamon Raisin combination and I have to say, it turned out fantastically! These little fruit leathers got eaten up soo fast that I’m pretty sure it took longer to actually let them cook in the dehydrator than it did for them to disappear!
2 cups Raisins
2 medium sized Pear, pealed and cut (you can use apples instead if you like)
3 tsp Cinnamon
Pour your chopped pears, raisins, and cinnamon into your blender. Puree up the fruit until the mixture is nice and smooth.
I use plastic tray liners I purchased off of Amazon.com designed to go into a food dehydrator. These are necessary when making a fruit leather out of a puree – otherwise your puree mix would just pour down between the grates of your dehydrator and make a goopy mess in the bottom. There’s really only one single important step in this entire recipe and here it is ~>Make sure you grease or Pam spray the liners before you spread the puree on them! You will really really wish you had when they’re done cooking…trust me on this one!
The amount of time the puree will need to dehydrate can vary widely depending on what kind of fruit you used in your mix. A wetter mix is actually easier than a ‘thicker’ mix. I would say 8-10 hours is about average, but this is definitely a case where you need to get in there and check it every hour or so to see how it’s progressing. My Cinnamon Raisin mix ended up taking around 12 hours yesterday. Just keep checking it. You don’t want it to be wet at all, or even tacky to the touch. At the same time, it shouldn’t be brittle and crack. It should feel like a store-bought fruit roll up.
When it’s done dehydrating and is now a solid (gummy) ring of deliciousness, simply peel it off of your (nicely Pam sprayed) liner and put it on a cutting board for slicing up. You can do it nice and simple like we do, and just take a pizza cutter to it, or you can place a sheet of parchment paper under it and get a sharp knife and slice it (along with the parchment paper) into pretty strips so you can roll it up and have it look just like the name brand stuff. We store ours in a sealed container in the pantry and it can last for a few weeks, though ours is always eaten within a few days.
**Now – for the oven method**
If you don’t have, or don’t want to use, a dehydrator, it’s just as easy.
Puree up the fruit, just like I mentioned above. Line some baking sheets with parchment paper – Note: parchment paper, NOT wax paper.
Pour your puree on the lined baking sheets and smooth it out so it’s evenly spread.
Then bake at 200 degrees for about 2 hours. Again, you’ll need to check this often to see how it’s coming along. Your fruit leather will over-dry much quicker in the oven than the dehydrator, so make sure to keep an eye on it.