Sunday, July 19, 2009

How To Make Fruit Leathers

That's what they were called when I was a kid. Fruit roll-ups or fruit snacks is the name you see now-a-days. They are very easy to make if you have a dehydrator. I don't use my dehydrator often, but during the summer it is put to good use. The fruit leather that is highly coveted at my house is the Rough & Ready Wild Yellow Plum leather. This is a plum tree that grows wild in the foothills of the Sierras. My parent's original tree was down by their pond. It was a grueling walk in the summer to get them. That made anything done with the plums that much more precious. Grueling because the pond is at the bottom of the hill. We used to joke that it was a 1/2 mile down and 2 miles back. It's summer, it's hot, it's uphill and now you're carrying bags full of plums. They are tiny plums the size of a cherry, so you need a lot to do anything with them.

What I do first is fill my clean sink with water enough to wash the plums. I pick out the leaves, sticks, bugs, and bad plums if any and wash them up. I then usually fill my biggest pot to over filled with plums. I set a lid on the top of the pile and turn the heat on to the first setting. Just as low as it can go without being off. Probably within an hour the lid is fitting nicely on the pot. I don't add any water. I let this cook on the stove on it's lowest setting until the plums are squishy. At this time I take a slotted spoon and spoon all the solids out into a bowl. The juice that's left over I save to make the worlds best jelly. Now it's time to run the plum solids through the food mill to get out the seeds and skins. I've found over the years it saves me time to run my clean hands through the cooled plums and pull out as many seeds as I can first.

After the food mill I have a bowl of plum pulp. This is what I use to make the fruit leathers.

Above is the bowl of the plum juice I save to make jelly. It has nothing to do with making fruit leathers, but it is nectar from the Gods for making jelly. Cover and stick it in the fridge until you're ready to make jelly.

Into the bowl of plum pulp I stir in just enough sugar until it tastes good. It's pretty sour to begin with. This time I had 12 cups of plum pulp and added 4 cups of sugar.

I cover my dehydrator tray with a sheet of plastic wrap or the pulp will run right through. I also tape down all 4 corners as they occasionally blow up and cause a mess. I spread 2 cups of sugared plum pulp out on the plastic wrap. It is now ready to go into the dehydrator. It takes about 12 hours to dry. I do this in the evening and then it's ready the next day after breakfast when I have time to deal with it.

As you can see the dried fruit leather just peels off. It is tasted for quality control as one should do with any food them make. :D In my house this may be the last time I get any fruit leather before consumed by the kids.

It tears easily for sampling. hmmm not sure better have another taste.

Oh no the teenagers have found out they are out of the dehydrator and ready for eating.

Well Allison how does it taste?

Can you stop for just a minute to give me an answer?

OK your mouth is too full to answer.... I'll take that as my answer. It must be good if one wolf's it down.

I sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar, so they unroll easier.

I then roll them all up.

I cut mine into thirds, which makes a generous fruit leather serving.

Put them in a ziploc bag and put them either into the fridge or freezer and watch them disappear.

You can make these with any fruit. This is the season to get wonderful ripe fruit hopefully you'll known someone with a fruit tree or you can go to the farmer's market.


jan said...

what a great idea. This looks like a project my little grandchildren would really enjoy.

I had a plum tree in my yard until about five years ago, the old fashioned kind with fruit the size of fat cherries. you are right. They made the world's absolutely best jelly. Now I wish I had this idea and not just thrown the makings of fruit leathers in the garbage.

You are indeed inspired resourceful and creative.

Scraplin said...

I have never heard of this! pretty cool!