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Monday, August 23, 2010

How to Make Apple Fruit Leather

Preparation, Sun Drying,
Oven Drying, Dehydrator Drying,
Testing for Dryness,
Storage, Helpful Hints

Select ripe or slightly overripe fruit. Take care to use sound, unspoiled fruit.
There are two methods of preparing apples for fruit leather. The first method uses homemade or canned applesauce. This may be blended with other fruit purees or spices such as allspice, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Vanilla and light corn syrup or honey may also be added. 
The second method uses a fresh apple puree, with or without the peel. Cut the fruit into chunks and place it in a food chopper or blender. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (2 tablespoons of Meyer variety lemon juice) for each quart of fruit. Chop, grind or blend until at thick puree is formed.
Most any fruit can be used for fruit leather: apples, berries, grapes, pears, peaches, plums, tomatoes, pineapple, oranges and others. Fruits that are not well suited for fruit leather, without some modifications, are grapefruit, lemons, persimmons and rhubarb.
Line a cookie sheet or similar flat tray with plastic wrap, or plastic wrap coated with a cooking spray. Make sure that the cookie sheet or tray has an edge to prevent spillage of the puree.
Pour the puree onto the sheet or the tray about one-quarter inch deep. Distribute evenly by tilting the tray; do not use a spatula or knife. When all space are covered, the right amount of puree has been applied.
This will take from two to three days, depending upon temperature and humidity. Test frequently for dryness.
If the weather is hot (above 85 degrees F) and dry (less than 60 percent relative humidity) the trays can be placed in direct sunlight or behind a pane of glass or Plexiglas to concentrate the heat. Cover or bring inside at night if the nighttime temperatures vary more than 20 degrees F from daytime temperatures, or if fog or humidity is common at night.
Set oven at lowest setting (140 degrees F). Place the sheets or trays in the oven and leave the oven door cracked open 2-6 inches, depending on the oven door. The fruit leather will be dried in 4-5 hours.
Place sheets or trays in the dehydrator. Set temperature control at 140 degrees F. Dry for 4-5 hours and test for dryness.
Properly dried fruit leather will be sticky to touch, but will be easily peeled from the plastic wrap. Lift the edge, which will adhere lightly to the surface, and peel it back about an inch. If it peels readily, it is properly dried.
After dehydrating is complete, roll the plastic wrap and the dried leather in one piece in a loose roll.
The dried fruit roll can be stored for years in the freezer, for months in the refrigerator, and for up to 30 weeks at room temperature.
Freeze leathers containing nuts or coconut unless they are used right away. For a special treat, spread apple leather with melted caramel, roll up and cut into pieces.

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