How to Make Homemade Fruit Leather (Without a Dehydrator)
My family loves fruit leather. In the past, we have bought Stretch Island Fruit Leathers, which are downright delicious, but not very cheap.
I have been meaning to learn how to make fruit leather for quite some time now. I've been putting it off mostly because I wasn't sure how easy it would be, and I didn't want it to be a total flop on my first try.
But, I kept hearing more and more of my friends talk about making fruit leather at home, and how easy it was.
And it is so easy! And cheap!
Here is a quick cost breakdown:
Store Bought: 30 Stretch Island Fruit Leathers for $13.80 = $0.46 each
Homemade Recipe: 1 16oz bag of frozen fruit (rounding UP to approx. $4 a bag) makes about one sheet of homemade fruit leather, which is approximately 15 fruit leathers (depending on how you cut them.) = $0.26 each
I can usually find frozen fruit (or fresh fruit) for much cheaper, either on sale, or by buying in bulk. So, the cost savings could be much more significant.
How to Make Homemade Fruit Leather
Trust me, it is very hard to mess up fruit leather (and if you do, try again. You'll get it!) First, let's start with what ingredients you will need.
- Approx. 16oz OR 3 1/2 to 4 cups of fresh or frozen fruit.
- Approx. 1 cup water or 100% fruit juice
Yes, that is it. You can use just about any combination of fresh/frozen fruit. Using fruit juice to liquefy the fruit can make your fruit leather slightly more sweet, but water works just fine.
Some recipes recommend adding sugar, but there really is no need unless you are using a bunch of very tart fruit. Even then, my family likes a tart fruit leather every once in awhile, so I don't recommend it. Keep it naturally healthy and flavorful.
Cook The Fruit – Optional Step:
Some people prefer to cook the fruit in a saucepan with the water or fruit juice until the fruit is soft. I have made fruit leather both ways (cooking the fruit first and leaving it frozen.) Both work well. The only difference is that the cooked fruit is easier to blend and slightly easier to spread.
Blend The Fruit
In a blender or food processor, blend the fruit and liquid well. Add the liquid gradually, as the fruit should be easy to spread but not too watery.
Spread The Fruit
Line a cookie sheet or sheet pan with parchment paper, then spread the fruit over the pan evenly. Give the pan a few shakes from side to side to even out the surface of the fruit.
Set your oven to the lowest setting (usually about 150 degrees.) Place the pan in the oven for 8-12 hours (I usually put my fruit leather in when I go to bed, and it's usually done by noon the next day, depending on the fruit.)
You will know your fruit leather is done when it is shiny on top but not sticky, and when it peels away from the paper easily.
Storing Your Fruit Leather
You have a couple of options for storing your fruit leather. One option is to cut the fruit leather into long strips with the parchment paper still attached. Roll it up and store them in a ziplock bag as “homemade fruit roll ups”. You can also just cut them into strips and store them in a bag.
These make great take-along snacks!
What's your favorite flavor of fruit leather?