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©2013 Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)
During summer, my kids would drive me crazy asking for sweet snacks. I didn’t like the commercial fruit rollup snacks and the questionable ingredients they were made with. Corn syrup, canola or cottonseed oils, additives and food dyes are things that should not pass the lips of children (or adults). So I bought an Excalibur dehydrator and made our own fruit leathers with real fruit and the kids loved them.
Homemade fruit rolls can be made from most fruits or a blend of fruits and honey. Even frozen or canned fruits can be dried into fruit leather, as well as leftover jam from home canning.
Fruit leathers are made by drying pureed fruit on a flat surface. When it’s dried, you can roll it up in plastic wrap and store it for up to a year in the freezer. You can also experiment with recipes by rolling up fillings in the fruit leathers, adding a new twist on a simple snack.
How to Make Fruit Leathers from Fresh Fruit
- Ripe or slightly overripe fruit is best to use
- Wash the fruit or berries in cool water and remove stems, seeds and the peel
- Cut about 2 cups of fruit into chunks and puree with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and a little honey, if desired, until smooth. This will make about a 12”x15” sheet of fruit leather
How to Make Fruit Leathers from Canned or Frozen Fruit, or leftover jam preserves from home canning
- Either home canned or store-bought canned fruit can be used, as well as frozen fruit
- Drain off and save the liquid from the fruit
- 1 pint of fruit will make a 13”x15” leather
- In a blender, puree the fruit with 2 teaspoons lemon juice until smooth and add the liquid if it’s too thick.
- Applesauce can be dried to make a yummy fruit roll. Or add applesauce to other fruit purees to extend a batch. The applesauce will decrease the tartness in the recipe and make a smooth and pliable fruit leather.
How to Dry Fruit Leathers
To dry fruit rollups in the oven, line a 13”x15” cookie sheet with plastic wrap. Be sure to smooth out any wrinkles.
To dry in the dehydrator use the plastic sheets designed for the dehydrator, or line the trays with plastic wrap.
Pour the puree onto the sheets, or in desired sizes. Spread the puree evenly in 1/8” thickness onto the trays. Avoid the edges of the cookie sheet if possible. The larger the fruit leather, the longer it will take to dry. Set the oven or dehydrator at 140°F. Drying times can take as long as 18 hours in the oven, 6-8 hours in a dehydrator, and 1-2 days in the sun.
How can you tell when fruit leathers are dry?
Since fruit leathers dry from the outside edges towards the middle, the best way to tell if it’s done is to touch the leather in the center. If there’s no indentation, it’s finished drying. Simply peel the leather, while it’s warm, from the plastic sheets and roll it up. After it cools, wrap it in plastic.
Fun Tip: use cookie cutters to cut shapes from the rolls, and roll the shapes in plastic wrap to store.
How long can fruit leathers be stored?
Fruit leathers can be stored for 1 month at room temperature and up to 1 year in the freezer.
Garnishes and Fillings:
Be creative with your fruit leather recipes and add garnishes and fillings.
Try spices like nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, cinnamon or cloves. Start with 1/8 teaspoon for each 2 cups of puree and experiment until you find the right amount for the flavor you want.
Try flavoring fruit leathers with extracts of almond, orange and vanilla. You can also add orange juice or lime juice in the puree before blending.
Add some variety to the fruit leathers with chopped dates, nuts, raisins, fruits and shredded coconut. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds and miniature marshmallows are delicious too.
Fillings rolled into the leathers are always delicious. Try jams, marmalades, peanut butter, softened cream cheese or cheese spreads. Melted chocolate is another favorite filling. Spread these on after the leathers are dry and then store in the refrigerator.