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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Recipe: Fruit Leather

Foods can be preserved in a variety of different ways, from canning to smoking. Whenever preserving food, it is important to ensure that your workspace is clean and germ-free and that the food you are preserving has not gone bad or become over-ripe.

Freeze: Berries can be frozen individually and then packed together into a larger container.
Can: Fruits, tomatoes, peppers, and pickles are among the foods that can be preserved through canning.
Salt: Fish can be preserved by salting it.
Dehydrate: Fruit, and some vegetables, can be dried until the moisture in them evaporates.
Ferment: Some foods can be saved by fermenting (e.g. cabbage, in the form of sauerkraut).
(From FoodWisdom.)  

This recipe is from our Art of Drying and Storing workshop, taught by chef Andrea Potter of Rooted Nutrition.

Some delicious combinations are pear and blackberry; apple and strawberry; and peach and apricot. Mixing apples or pears with berries will also help boost the volume of purée!

Don't have a dehydrator? Don't worry! The method used in this recipe just requires an normal kitchen oven -- and some patience.

Fruit Leather

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6 cups of fruit, plus peels* (for 4 cups of fruit purée)

*If using peaches, apricots, or nectarines, crush 1 tablet of vitamin C and add to the purée to keep it from oxidizing and browning.


1. Put the fruit and, as needed, the vitamin C, into a blender. Process until the fruit is smooth. Add a bit more fruit, if necessary, to make 4 cups of purée.

2. Pour the purée onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It should be about a 1/4-inch thick. You can check the thickness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the purée. Too thin, and the leather will crack; but too thick, and it will take a longer time to dry.

3. Preheat the oven to 150 F or to the lowest setting on your oven.

4. Place the baking tray on the centre rack of the oven.

5. Dehydrate until the leather is tacky to the touch, about 2 hours. Dehydrating times vary greatly depending on the fruit and on the oven used. If you have a convection oven, using the convection setting will help the leather dry faster.

6. When the sides of the leather peel away easily from the parchment, flip the leather over and put the tray back in the oven. Dry until tacky.

7. To store, cool the leather completely. Cut the leather, still on the parchment, into 2-inch wide strips using kitchen shears. You can roll them up or simply stack the sheets. The fruit leather should be stored in an airtight jar or zip-top bag for about a month. The drier the leather, the longer it will last.

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