Fruit Leather from the Oven; No Dehydrator, No Problem!

Have you ever wondered what to do with the fruit in your fridge or on the counter that’s just on the edge of spoilage?I have!  Mine looked a little like this:

old fruit

It isn’t very pretty is it?

I’ve gotten tired of the same old bread and muffin salvage projects I normally resort to. This time, I wanted to do something a little different; fruit leather!!  We have all eaten some form of fruit leather thanks to the ever popular fruit roll-up. These of course, are popular with the kiddos because they are full of sugar and extra additives. While your homemade version will lack most of the sugar, it will still be a hit with your little (and big) ones!

Here’s what you need:

Cleaned and hulled fruit (remove any brown soggy spots too)

Juice from one lemon

Blender

Baking/Cookie sheet

Parchment paper

Rubber spatula or butter knife

Optional:

Sugar or honey (use to sweeten if your fruit mixture is not naturally sweet enough)

Fruit juice (just in case your fruit is on the dry side)

 

The first thing you need to do is set your oven to the lowest setting. That’s usually 170 degrees for modern oven models. While your oven is warming, line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Make sure it’s parchment paper and not wax paper! I’ve made this mistake before and it’s not pretty. Your baking sheet should look similar to this:

 

baking sheet

 

I wouldn’t recommend using cooking spray as a replacement for the parchment paper but some swear by it. All I ended up with was a solid sheet of burnt fruit when I tried that method. I suggest sticking with parchment paper for better results. Next, you want to add your cleaned fruit and lemon juice to the blender. Then, hit the puree button. If it doesn’t have a puree button, shoot for “liquefy”.

 

Ready to blend

 

Round and round it goes!

If your fruit does not liquefy right away, add a little juice (I used some OJ here). Once it looks like this…

 

Puree

 

do a taste test. If your puree is a little tart, add some sugar, honey, or sweetener of your choice. Mine was perfect as it was, so I moved on to the next step. Are you ready? Good!

Once your puree is ready to go, simply pour it out onto your baking sheet.

 

Pour

 

After you have poured all of your puree onto the baking sheet, use a rubber spatula (if you don’t have one, use a butter knife) to smooth out the puree.

Spread

 

Make sure it is spread as evenly as possible. Just like this:

 

even spread

 

Once your fruit mixture is evenly spread, you are ready to pop it into the oven! Set your timer for 3 hours. This is when you’ll want to begin checking on it to make sure your leather isn’t getting leathery just yet. Don’t be surprised if you start to see this happening in your kitchen after an hour or so, the smell is irresistible!

 

Hungry Puppy

 

After a few hours, your puree should have darkened but it should not be tacky. Mine darkened a little over an hour after putting it in.

You can check the texture of your puree with a toothpick or a fork; the same way you would check a cake. If it has not begun to solidify, set your timer for another 3 hours.

Your waiting time will vary depending on the type of fruit you use as well as the amount of puree you pour onto your baking sheet. Mine was very thin and solidified pretty quickly so my waiting time was a total of 5 hours. Most fruit leather will not be ready for 8-12 hours; perfect for starting at the beginning of the school day so it is ready by the time the kids come home. If you aren’t worried about the oven being unattended, you may want to let your fruit sit overnight.

Your fruit leather will look something like this by the time it is ready to come out of the oven:

 

Fruit leather

 

Let the leather sit until it is completely cooled. Once cooled, lift the parchment paper off the baking sheet and peel the leather off from one of the edges.

 

Peel

 

Now you can decide how you would like to store your fruit leather if you’re family has not already devoured it. I chose to place strips of fruit leather onto pre-cut strips of parchment paper so I could roll and store them as individual strips rather than keeping the fruit leather whole.

 

Cut strips

 

Here is my final product:

 

Fruit Roll

 

If you are storing your fruit leather, make sure you place it in an air-tight container and keep it stored in a cool, dry location. If stored correctly, it will last you up to a year!

Congrats! You have successfully made homemade fruit leather without a dehydrator!

 

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