On their website, Vitamix boasts that this amazing “blender” can tackle 52 amazing food feats. Well, I’m proud to say I’ve discovered food feat #53.
Before Christmas break, I stuck some apples in the fridge…and forgot about them…until yesterday. Now, when it comes to apples, I’m pretty snobby. I really like a crisp, crunchy apple. I do not do mealy apples. I’ve recently discovered honeycrisp apples (or as R likes to call them: “honeycripsy” apples) and if any of you have ever ate one, you know exactly what a delicious apple should taste like. Sorry Gala and Fuji but I’ve found a new love. But, I deter. Back to the old, mushy apples in the fridge. Yesterday, I pulled them out of the fridge just to see how “bad” they really were. Secretly, I was hoping that they were rotten and I could just toss them. But suprisingly, they “looked” decent. Well, I knew they weren’t good enough for this “apple snob” to eat directly. So, I remembered that I had been wanting to try to make fruit leather from scratch. Do you remember eating Fruit Roll-Ups as a kid? I thought this would be the perfect way to use up my “old” fruit.
Here’s what I did:
Ingredients: 3-4 apples, ~1 c of strawberries, (or equivalent amount of fruit of choice), water, lemon juice, sweetener, cinnamon (optional)
1. Prepare fruit. Peel and core/remove seeds from apple. (If using peaches, de-stone them.)
2. Place all fruit into the Vitamix and blend until a puree consistency (~30 seconds).
3. Place fruit in saucepan. Add 1/2 c water for every 4 cups of fruit. (I added 1/2 cup.) Heat on low heat for 10-15 minutes. Taste fruit to determine sweetness. Add sweetener in small amounts (1 tablespoon at a time). I used agave nectar, but you could use regular granulated white sugar or sugar substitute. I didn’t need very much at all. I probably added less than 1 tablespoon. Add lemon juice in small amounts (1 tsp at a time) to “brighten” flavor of the fruit. I added a dash of cinnamon to complement the apples. Continue to simmer until sugar has dissolved. (Taste again and adjust sugar/lemon/cinnamon if needed.)
4. Prepare a jelly roll pan with plastic wrap (Make sure it is microwave/heat safe).
5. (If you did not use a Vitamix blender and your fruit puree is more chunky than desirable, you may want to strain or use potato masher.) The fruit should be very smooth. Pour and evenly spread fruit puree into prepared pan. It should be about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick.
6. It is important that the plastic wrap does not touch the fruit. I had to use small bits of tape to hold my plastic wrap back. If this happens, the fruit won’t dry out properly.
7. Place pan into oven on lowest heat setting (~140 degrees). (For my oven, it was “warm”).
8. Let it dry in oven overnight, or about 8-12 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky and easily “peels” from the plastic wrap.
9. To store, roll up the fruit leather in its plastic wrap and store in air tight container. Additionally, you can cut up the larger sheet into smaller snack-sized rolls.
The taste was amazing! And it felt good to eat since I knew exactly what went into making it (no artificial colors, no excessive sweeteners, no preservatives).
–When pouring fruit puree into pan, don’t worry about it being too “thick”. I thought mine would be too thick and it ended up “shrinking” a lot!
–I left my fruit leather to dry for about 9 hours. I notice that there was a small part that wasn’t quite “dry”. Next time, I’ll probably let it dry for closer to 12 hours.
–Strawberries and apples with a dash of cinnamon is a great combination. Next time, I’m going to experiment with pineapples, peaches and pears.
–My detailed instructions probably give the impression that this recipe is time-consuming. Just the opposite! This recipe is super easy, so don’t be afraid to try it! You won’t be sorry and you’ll never again buy store-bought Fruit Roll-Ups.
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