Homemade Fruit Leather

Not many people know this, but........my daughter, Cheyenne Rose, does not like candy. Who doesn't like candy?! Really! She doesn't even like to smell sweets of any kind. She says it smells bad. (Actually I would have to agree that sugar is not the most tempting scent for me either). It's no wonder she's so skinny! Usually when she's looking for a treat, what she wants is all natural, healthy, fruit leather. 

I'm going to show you how to save all that natural produce yumminess even if it's slightly over ripe (but unbruised). No added sugar!!! And you can feel confident knowing you're giving your kiddos something healthy that tastes good.

To start, pare or peel your fruit (if it has a thicker skin, like apples), or wash thinner-skinned fruit, like berries. Remove the pits, seeds and cores. Using a blender or food processor, puree the fruit until it's a very thick but pourable puree. If needed, you can add small amounts of water to get the right consistency. For every two cups of light colored fruit, use 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to prevent darkening. You can also use applesauce for up to half of the puree. It decreases the tartness, makes it go further and makes it more pliable. 

Now that it's all smooth, get out your cookie sheets :) They will need to have sides. Line the bottom of the cookie sheet with wax paper. You're ready to add the puree and spread it out thin to about 1/4" thickness. About 2-1/2 cups of puree per cookie sheet should do it.  If you have a dehydrator, great! If not, an oven turned on to 135* will work just fine. Dehydrators take about six to eight hours to dry, an oven is up to eighteen hours or one to two days in the sun. Fruit leather might be easy to make but it's definitely not quick! 

When it's of fruit leather consistency, take the wax paper out of the cookie sheet and let it cool on a cake rack. Once cooled, you can roll it up, wax paper and all, slice it in sections, however big or small you want them, and store in an airtight container or bag in a cool dark area. It will store for six months up to a year or even longer if you put it in the freezer. 

If you're like me, you probably have to hide it to make it last longer.  Otherwise, my kids would have it gone in about two days.  But I'd rather them eat healthy snacks like this than high calorie, teeth rotting, empty nutrition sugary snack foods.  Even I get tired of just snacking on an apple.  I like to mix it up by making green smoothies with fruit or adding fruit to my other baking recipes.  But at the top of our favorite list is definitely fruit leather! Happy snacking! :)

Mother Nature's Natural Healthy Homemade Yumminess!