My son consistently sees “fruit roll-ups” in his friends lunch boxes. The added dyes and preservatives just aren’t good for kids. Luckily, my son knows this. Even before he could read I would have him check labels for any “numbers”. If there were “colored numbers” (Red #40, Yellow #6, etc.) then he knew we weren’t buying it.
Unfortunately, as we make these decisions as parents it’s our kids who have to deal with the ramifications. One of the ways to keep him from being ostracized is to make our own fruit leather. Of course, right now it’s strawberry fruit leather!
Strawberry Fruit Leather Options
The picture you see is in a food dehydrator. It’s not a fancy one – it fact, it’s close to 25 years old, plastic, and purchased from an infomercial. But, it’s been great and until it dies on me I’m still using it.
If you’re interested in overall optimal health, a food dehydrator is a great investment. At the end of summer we dehydrate all the remaining herbs which will last us well into winter. Same with excess fruits and vegetables. Making your own trail mix is a super simple with a food dehydrator and you don’t have to worry about added sweeteners. And my family’s favorite – jerky is easy to make in a variety of flavors from a variety of cuts of meat.
If the investment isn’t in your future you can still make strawberry fruit leather. Depending on where you live there are a couple options. You can place the mixture on mesh wire covered with parchment paper and let it dry naturally in the sun or in the oven on the lowest heat setting.
If you have a dehydrator you can purchase special fruit roll sheets for the equipment. Or, you can use parchment paper in place of the special sheets. The special sheets are nice because you can fit a bit more mixture into the dehydrator by filling all the way to the edges but sometimes the middle gets a little brittle. Both work well though.
Strawberry Fruit Leather – Practice Makes Perfect
This is definitely one of those recipes that practice makes perfect. Learning your drying time can really only be done by trying. The first few times I tried I created strawberry brittle, but it still tasted good. No matter which way I’ve tried overnight seems to be about the right timing but heat and humidity may change your personal timing. Once you get it though you can make a lot of batches and be prepared for lunches all the time.
Strawberry Fruit Leather Storage
I store the strawberry fruit leather in the refrigerator. Depending on your technique you may be able to store in the pantry, since most of the moisture has been removed. The whole point of food dehydrating is to be able to store the food without concern. Unfortunately my family likes the strawberry fruit leather not quite stiff so over time it has gotten bacteria and molded in the pantry. This didn’t happen quickly and certainly could be as much from hands going in and out of the bag as from the original product.
Strawberry Fruit Leather Ingredients
- 2 pints strawberries
- 1 Tbs. coconut sugar
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- Extra virgin olive oil
Strawberry Fruit Leather Directions
- Wash strawberries. Do not wash until right before using. Remove green tops.
- Place all ingredients in a blender.
- Puree all ingredients for 90 seconds or until all seeds have disappeared.
- Put a little oil on a paper towel and wipe 2 dehydrator fruit leather sheets or parchment paper.
- Evenly distribute the mixture between the sheets, if using. Spread the mixture so the thickness is equal so the drying time will be the same throughout.
- Place in dehydrator overnight, in direct sunlight (on wire mesh), or in the oven on lowest setting. Check occasionally for doneness. The fruit leather should be pliable with no moist sections.
- Store in container in refrigerator.
This same technique works well with most berries. Raspberry seeds may not completely pulverize so strain through cheesecloth if necessary. Depending on the sweetness of the berry more or less coconut sugar may be added.