A little bit ago, I was walking back from a friend's house with my kids when a neighbor called out to me, "Hey, Penny, you want to bring over your kids and pick some apricots from my tree? I have a ton over here, much more than we can use; they'll all spoil if people don't pick them now. And let your friends know as well that they're invited to come pick apricots too!"
You know me. Of course I agreed!
I went over and picked a huge shopping bag filled with apricots with my kids. The next day, I came back and picked 4 more shopping bag. For a total of 43 pounds of apricots!
What am I going to do with all those apricots, you may be wondering...
Well, much of it, we're just eating plain, snacking on. Some I will be canning in syrup. Some making into apricot chutney...
But some of the apricots look a little icky.
Like these ones that were pecked at by birds.
You know what I do with those?
No, not throw them out. Because other than those pecked areas, they're totally fine.
I just cut out the icky parts, and make apricot leather with the rest! Such a delicious snack, and free from the artificial food colorings, added sugar, and preservatives found in store bought fruit leather. (Our local apricot fruit leather is made with sunset yellow! Can you believe it???)
Here's how you can make your own fruit leather out of less than perfect fruit, whether apples, pears, peaches, strawberries, bananas, plums, cherries, raspberries, melon or really any fruit. Of course you can also make it with the perfect fruit as well, but I prefer to save those to eat them straight.
And no, you don't need a dehydrator to make this. Though I have my own homemade dehydrator, I make these in the oven because I find it works better because I don't have any silicon dehydrator sheets like come with the standard dehydrator. Feel free to use your dehydrator if you have one.
Fruit (fresh, or canned and strained, raw or cooked)
1. Cut off all the blemishes from your fruit.
2. Blend the fruit in a blender or food processor until relatively smooth. Small chunks are ok.
3. Line a baking tray with baking paper, then smooth the blended fruit onto the tray. You should probably use more than pictured here- this is too little and makes a thinner, cracklier fruit leather instead of a very pliable.
4. Put in the oven on the lowest temperature setting possible, and prop open the door a drop (less than a centimeter) to allow moisture to escape.
5. Check on the fruit every so often, and remove from the oven when it's dry. Be careful not to keep it in too long or it will burn and/or dry out to much. I found this needed between 2 and 4 hours, depending on how thick I piled it on the baking paper.
6. Peel the baking paper off the fruit leather, and cut into strips.
Enjoy guilt free, knowing that you saved some less than perfect fruit from going into the trash, and made a treat that is relatively healthy, at least in comparison to the standard treats on the market.
And if you get free fruit like I do, even less guilt knowing that the only cost of this was the cost to run your oven and blender/food processor.
This was a big, big, big hit with my kids. I've made 4 batches already! My kids have no clue that it has no added sugar in it- they're totally content with this in place of white sugar filled alternatives...
Have you ever made fruit leather before? What type? Do you make yours in the oven or dehydrator?
What is your favorite flavor of fruit leather to eat, either homemade or store bought?
Linking up to Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter Thursday, Allergy Free Wednesday,