I was lucky enough to get to take the kids apple picking from a beautiful tree in a friend’s front yard. Our friends don’t spray the tree, so while most of the apples were delicious on the outside, the cores of nearly apple contained a worm or two…or three. (This is why the ‘organic’ apple is such a magical fruit: When I was growing up, my dad tried EVERYTHING to keep worms away; NOTHING but spraying pesticides worked.) Anyway, we gathered almost a bushel of fruit! So what to do with about 42 pounds of fruit ready to go bad quickly? With it still being ‘Back to School’ season, and nearly 180 lunches left to pack this year, my mind turned to perfect lunch dessert: Apple Blueberry Fruit Leather.
Growing up, my Mom made peach leather, pear leather, strawberry leather, plum leather and more. But she always used applesauce as a base to stretch the fruit. She stored it in the freezer and we ate it all winter long as a fruity snack when fresh fruit wasn’t an option in middle-of-nowhere Montana. But she had no recipe. So of course I turned to my favorite way to research: Pinterest. I found some inspirational photos like this and this. But I couldn’t find a recipe to incorporate applesauce. So I winged it. And in the end, I realized that as long as the fruit is sweet to begin with, you probably don’t need a specific fruit leather recipe. Just puree cooked or raw fruit until it’s a spreadable consistency; sugar seems optional because drying the fruit will concentrate the natural sugars.
I used a food dehydrator (that I picked up a thrift store – since I wasn’t sure I’d like or be motivated to dry enough food to devote cash to ANOTHER kitchen gadget.) But now I will certainly be in the market for a new one if this dehydrator dies! If you don’t have a dehydrator, follow these directions for drying fruit leather in your oven – and I’d use parchment paper instead of plastic wrap in the oven!
Have you ever used a food dehydrator? Can you recommend a certain one – or feature on a dehydrator?