Dan and I have been on a few road trips recently. When I think of foods to pack for the drive, my mind always tends to think about healthy snacks that we can nibble on. We both love homemade granola, as well as containers full of fresh, cut-up fruit. Unfortunately, fresh fruit doesn't last long on the open road. I have been buying organic fruit leathers for Benaiah and he loves them, but I recently read in a magazine how to make your own fruit leathers. I decided that it’s about time I save a little money and make my own for the family.
Strawberry prices have been through the roof for months until recently, when the price of these fresh berries dropped. So, I thought now would be a great time to experiment and use them to make my own fruit leathers. I went to our nearby store where I can buy produce in bulk and came home mission- minded.
First, I washed the 2 pounds of berries I had purchased and took the green stems off. After thoroughly cleaning them, I cut them in half and tossed them into my blender. The recipe I was following said to add honey and lemon juice to taste. I decided to use one tablespoon of honey and one teaspoon of lemon juice. I also poured in 1/4 cup of warm water into the blender. I puréed the berries until they were smooth. If you feel like you need more water, some recipes recommend 1/2 cup of water for every 4 cups of berries. I decided to use slightly less than what was recommended.
Making fruit leathers is not an exact science, because the next step is preheating your oven to the manufacturer’s lowest setting possible. I would estimate that ovens range anywhere from 120-175°F. Depending on your oven’s temperature, that will change how long you need to actually cook your fruit mixture. Once your oven is set and your mixture blended, take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Lightly spray a non-stick spray onto the paper and pour the berries onto the sheet about 1/8 inch thick. You will need to cook them in your oven from 6-10 hours. The fruit leathers will be done when they are dry and just barely sticky to the touch. Allow them to cool before cutting them into strips. You can either store them in plastic wrap, little baggies or an air tight container. They will stay fresh for nearly a month, but will probably be eaten up by then!
This may be a little time consuming, but it is so super easy that it makes up for how long of a project this is. Not to mention, they're yummy and healthy, which makes them great. Enjoy!