How To Make Delicious Fruit Leather in Your Dehydrator
Creating your own fruit leather is not only a fun culinary adventure but also a fantastic way to enjoy the goodness of fruits in a convenient, portable form. With a dehydrator at your disposal, the process becomes a breeze.
Of course, you can make fruit leather in your oven, but we prefer and always use our dehydrator trays for this.
We particularly love to make our own fruit leather for the kids lunches and to take out camping and hiking during the summer. It is the best treat, and for us, it is a tie with homemade beef jerky.
Making fruit leather is super easy to do, and it is fantastic if you grow your own fruit, or you have an abundance of fruit from the store or farmers market. Plus, it is super easy to get some vegetables in there if that is something important to you!
Let's dive into the world of homemade fruit leather!
What is the Best Dehydrator for Fruit Leather
There are just a few things to consider that can make or break your homemade fruit leather recipe:
Dehydrator Trays for Fruit Leather
The best dehydrator for this project will have stainless steel trays. The reason for this is because any fruit puree that gets on your trays, can be scrubbed clean with steel wool.
Due to the high sugar content of homemade fruit roll ups, it can really get sticky on your trays. Plus, we don't like to recommend using plastic when heating food.
Fan Placement in your Dehydrator
We also recommend that the heater and fan of your food dehydrator be located along the back of your dehydrator model. This gives you consistent drying as well as less work on your part, as you have to rotate your trays when the fan is located at the bottom of an cylindrical dehydrator.
We have this model of the Cosori Dehydrator, and we highly recommend it for its stainless steel trays, fan location and design, plus the cost of it. You get the most bang for your dollar with this model, and we love it not only for fruit leather and fruit roll ups, but also for fresh fruit in general (we use it for apple chips, and also for drying orange slices and other fruit as well).
Here is our dehydrator this summer full of pear slices:
We also think this is the best dehydrator for homemade beef jerky - another of our faves around here:
Getting Started: The Basics of Fruit Leather
Fruit leather, also known as fruit roll ups, is a super delicious and healthy treat made by pureeing fresh fruit and dehydrating the mixture until it becomes a chewy, flavorful snack. It is easy to make, easy to cut up and keeps for a long time.
Here's what you need to know about fruit leather to get started:
Choosing the Right Fruit
Select ripe, preferably slightly overripe, fruit for the best flavor. Popular choices include apples, berries, mangoes, peaches, and apricots. Each fruit brings its unique sweetness and texture to the mix.
You can even make fruit leather by the type of fruit, for example, make Gala apple fruit leather, and try it next to Granny Smith fruit leather!
Preparing the Fruit
Wash and peel (if necessary) the fruits, removing pits and seeds. Dry with a paper towel if there is excess liquid. Cut up your fruit - cutting it into smaller pieces not only makes it easier to blend, but also helps incorporate all of those flavors.
Easy Fruit Leather Recipe
Creating fruit leather and homemade fruit roll ups is a straightforward process. Here's a basic fruit leather recipe to get you started:Fruit Leather Ingredients:
- 4 cups of your chosen fruit, chopped (or any fruit mixture)
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice (optional, for flavor and preservation)
- Blend the fruit mixture and lemon juice until smooth using food processor or a blender. We think it is easiest to use a hand blender for this as you can blend it in whatever bowl or pot you are using and is easiest to clean - it is also the most cost effective option with the best results
See the hand blender we recommend on Amazon here
- Put into a pot and bring to a low simmer for about 4 minutes. This can help break the fruit down if you are having trouble pureeing it (if the fruit is more of a solid type) - you can blend it again carefully once it is heated
- While still hot, spread the puree evenly on a lined dehydrator tray. Our dehydrator comes with plastic sheets specifically for fruit leather, however, we recommend using parchment paper on your stainless steel trays. We get much better results this way (and always recommend stainless steel trays).
- Dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for 6-8 hours or until the leather is no longer sticky.
- If you have made it on the parchment paper like I suggested, once it cools, you can roll it into fruit roll ups and with clean scissors, cut it into curled strips and store in an airtight container.
Repeat the process with different fruits to discover a variety of delicious combinations of homemade fruit leather. For added flair, experiment with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg!
We often add cinnamon to our apple puree to make apple cinnamon fruit roll ups and the kids love it.
How to Store Your Fruit Leather
Proper storage is crucial to maintaining the quality of your homemade fruit leather and fruit roll ups. Follow these steps:
Cool Completely: Allow the fruit leather to cool completely before attempting to store it. This helps prevent condensation inside the storage container.
Cut Into Strips or Shapes: Once cooled, cut the fruit leather into strips or fun shapes using clean scissors or a knife. This makes it easy to grab a quick, portioned snack.
Use Parchment Paper: Place parchment paper between layers of fruit leather to prevent pieces from sticking together. This makes it easier to separate them when you're ready to enjoy.
Choose Airtight Containers: Store the cut pieces in airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags. Airtight containers protect the fruit leather from moisture and air, preserving its texture and flavor.
Store in a Cool, Dark Place: Keep your stored fruit leather in a cool, dark place. Avoid areas with direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure can affect the color and taste.
Refrigerate for Longevity: While fruit leather is often fine at room temperature for short periods, for longer storage, consider refrigerating it. This can extend its shelf life while maintaining quality.
- Check Regularly: Periodically check your stored fruit leather for any signs of spoilage, such as mold or off odors. If you notice any issues, discard the affected pieces.
By following these storage tips, you can enjoy your homemade fruit leather for weeks, giving you a delicious and healthy snack whenever you crave it.
Fruit Leather FAQs
How long does it take to dehydrate fruit leather?
The dehydration time of fruit leather or fruit roll ups, varies but typically ranges from 6 to 12 hours, depending on factors like fruit moisture content and dehydrator settings. Check periodically and adjust as needed.
Can you use frozen fruit for making fruit leather?
Yes, frozen fruit works, but we will say it does not work as well as fresh fruit, mostly due to the higher concentration of water.
Thaw it first and drain excess liquid as best as you can before blending pureed fruit to make fruit roll ups. This is a convenient option though, we will say that, especially when your favorite fruits are out of season.
Is sugar necessary in fruit leather recipes?
No, sugar is optional. We personally never add it as we find that the natural sweetness of the fruits is usually enough for homemade fruit roll ups, but there are circumstances, for example, with very tart fruit or berries, where you may want added sugar in the form of some honey or maple syrup.
How do you store homemade fruit leather?
Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for short-term use or in the refrigerator for longer shelf life. Proper storage ensures the texture and flavor are still the same as the first day you make fruit leather.
Can you make fruit leathers without a dehydrator?
Yes, you can use an oven at its lowest temperature to make fruit leather and homemade fruit roll ups, but a dehydrator is preferable for better results. Ensure proper ventilation in the oven by leaving the door slightly ajar.
What are some creative flavor combinations for fruit leather?
Flavor combinations for fruit leather and fruit roll ups can include:
- mixed berry
- mango pineapple
- apple raspberry
- peach banana
- and many more for unique and tasty results. Mixing fruits not only enhances the flavor but also provides a variety of nutrients. Try some of your own, and please comment below with your favorite combinations! We learn through community :)
Can you use canned fruit for making fruit leather?
While fresh or frozen fruit is ideal for homemade fruit roll ups, you can use canned fruit, ensuring it's drained very well before processing. Opt for fruits canned in natural juices for better results, as added sugars can overwhelm the flavor of your homemade fruit roll ups.
How thin should you spread the fruit puree on the dehydrator tray?
Aim for an even thickness of around 1/2 to 1 inch to ensure uniform dehydration. Thicker puree takes longer to dry, while thinner layers may become brittle.
We tend to make ours quite thick, closer to 1 inch, maybe a bit less, and we put it on our parchment paper steaming hot. We really like that chewy texture in our family, as opposed to brittle fruit roll ups.
What's the ideal texture for finished fruit leather?
It should be pliable and slightly tacky but not sticky. If it cracks when bent, it's dehydrated enough or even too much. Achieving the right texture ensures a satisfying chewiness in your fruit leather, and again, this can also be achieved by pouring it on thicker.
Can you mix different fruits in one fruit leather batch?
Absolutely! Combining fruits adds complexity to the flavor, making your fruit leather and fruit roll ups even more enjoyable. Experiment with ratios to find your perfect blend, and have fun discovering new taste sensations with fresh fruit and fruit puree for your homemade fruit roll ups!
Do you need the silicone mat to make homemade fruit leather?
No, it is not necessary to use the silicone mats, we use our stainless steel trays lined with parchment paper for our fruit purée to go onto. From this, we get great results for our fruit rolls.
Fruit Leather Summary
- Homemade fruit leather and homemade fruit roll ups are delicious snacks that are easy to make
- Making fruit roll ups on parchment paper (not wax paper) allows you to cut them up easily for storage or lunch boxes
- Use fresh produce for best results - add lemon juice to help preserve and bring out flavor and use fruit such as fresh strawberries, apples, peaches and more
- A blender or food processor can help get a nice, smooth consistency for best results in these healthy recipes
- Fruit roll ups can be ready in a few hours in a good dehydrator
- For the puree, do not spread thin as it will make brittle fruit leather
- When it comes time for your fruit puree to go on trays, spread evenly so it can cook evenly
- No need for added sugar for them to taste delicious
- Cut with a sharp knife or you can try a pizza cutter
- Store in an air tight container for best results
Wondering what else you can dehydrate for snacks, preserves and use as décor?
The BEST DEHYDRATOR (Check today's price!)
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