It is a mighty recipe Tuesday and I'm pretty much sharing this for Ashley @ Let's Get Bananas who has oohed and ahhed about my fruit leather postings on Instagram!! I am here sharing my new favorite snack that is nutritious, homemade and actually good for you. It is 100% fruit--dehydrated into, you guessed it, homemade fruit leather or fondly remembered as fruit by the foot! We all had fruit roll ups during our youth which seemed "healthy" because it was made with REAL FRUIT or so promised. Throw that stuff away because I've got the low down on the real thing.
Kroger had strawberries, raspberries and blackberries on sale this week for $1.88 each. For $5.64 and just 367 calories for the entire tray it is beyond a bargain. Trust me, if you are calorie counting it is a great snack!! If you are anything like Mr. Collier and me, fruit leather does not last long around the casa!
I've tried this recipe with and without the parchment paper. Honestly, I prefer the parchment paper because of easier cleanup and much less damage to the baking sheet in the long run. But essentially pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees F. and cover the baking sheet with parchment paper or brush with olive oil.
Cut up the strawberries into quarters. The raspberries and blackberries can go right in! Feel free to substitute any flavor of fruit you would like. Apricot, date and cherry would also be delicious. *Note that berries will make your fruit leather more seedey. Keep that in mind for texture later. I don't mind but I'm sure some folks do! You could also strain out the seeds after the puree step below.
Combine the berries in a pot and fill with water until the fruit is covered. Simmer until the fruit is extremely soft and the color begins to fade from the strawberries.
Let the mix cool a bit and throw the entire mixture into your blender. I'm going to be bitter for a moment and say that the only use I get out of the MAGIC BULLET is for smoothies and soft things. Otherwise just a serious pain-in-the-you-know-what! Again, at this stage you can attempt to strain the seeds if you are concerned. The fruit will seriously appear to be a smoothie when you are done with this step.
Pour the "smoothie" on the prepared baking sheet. Be sure to even out the mixture because this makes a big difference in the cooking quality. Place the baking sheet in the oven and let it dehydrate for 6-8 hours. At this low temperature, I feel perfectly comfortable setting this up and letting it dehydrate throughout the day. But again, it depends on how comfortable you are with that. You will want to let the fruit leather continue to dehydrate until the mixture is not wet to the touch.
Once it is done, let it cool for a few minutes before tearing. I know it is incredibly tempting to start ripping the thing apart as soon as it comes out. I prefer to tear the leather while warm and this especially is important for those of you who cook without parchment paper. The warmer it is the easier it will be to get off of the sheet.
But that is pretty much it! Super simple and delicious!