I am the only person in my household who will eat fruit. It’s quite sad, because I love stocking my fridge with healthy things. But I can only eat so much produce on my own before it goes bad–and then I waste a lot, which is even sadder. So, a couple weeks ago when I was a day or so away from having to toss out some precious berries, I whipped up a couple batches of homemade fruit leather. It is super easy, mostly healthy, and would make a great addition to all those school (or work!) lunches you’re probably now finding yourself packing.
About this recipe
The most difficult part of this recipe is the long cook time. Fruit leather is baked in the oven at a really low temperature for 3-6 hours, depending on your recipe. So plan ahead and make this on a day when you’ll be home to monitor the oven. Cook times will also differ depending on what fruit you use. (I think it has something to do with the pectin or water levels of the fruit, but I could totally be making that up.) Once you find a fruit combination, oven temperature and cook time that works for you, write it down! I love using the free Pepperplate recipe app to quickly jot down my notes–but I’m sure you could find any number of other recipe apps, too.
This recipe is so easy and versatile! I made a batch of strawberry, and then a batch of mostly-blueberry with a few strawberries to make 2 cups. 2 cups of fruit, plus the sugar and lemon juice, will yield one baking sheet of fruit leather that’s the perfect thickness. Straining the seeds is optional, but I recommend it. Jared tried the strawberry (only one bite, after much coaxing) and liked the taste, but wasn’t a huge fan of the texture. It also could have been that I overcooked the strawberry. Which brings me back to cook times…
How long to cook your fruit leather
Like I said, cook times will widely differ depending what fruit or combination of fruit you use. You want your fruit leather to be set (and the middle of the pan will take the longest), but overcooking will result in brittle, candy-like fruit leather (still delicious, but not what we’re going for). As you cook, you’ll see how the appearance goes from shiny and wet to more of a flat/matte look. If you touch your finger to it (be careful not to burn yourself–maybe use a spoon instead), the fruit mixture shouldn’t pull away. If your finger/spoon comes back with any fruit, increase your cook time. Without knowing the personality of your oven and the consistency of your fruit mixture, I can’t tell you exact times, unfortunately.
How long I should have cooked my fruit leather
Keywords: should have. I overcooked the strawberry and undercooked the blueberry. Even so, they turned out delicious. And I have a way better idea of what I’m looking for next time and when to pull it out of the oven. For me, 3 hours 40 minutes would have been perfect for the strawberry, and 5 hours would have been perfect for the blueberry/strawberry. I know, that’s a long time. But as long as you can check on it every half hour or so and don’t forget to set timers, you’re free to go clean the house, watch a show, or work on a craft project (I highly recommend the latter–check out my latest tutorial here).
And now I’m off to make peach fruit leather with fresh peaches from my tree! Enjoy!
Homemade Fruit Leather
- 2 cups fruit (or any combination of fruit)
- 1/4 cup sugar (or sweetener of choice)
- 1 tbps lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 170° F (or as low as your oven will go). Line a baking sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
- Puree fruit in a food processor. Add sugar and lemon juice and process until smooth. Strain seeds if desired.
- Pour fruit mixture onto baking sheet and spread with spatula until you have an even layer. You can tap the baking sheet on the counter a few times to help distribute the mixture evenly. Avoid spreading past the Silpat mat or parchment paper for easiest cleanup.
- Bake for 3-6 hours. After 3 hours, check every hour or so until the desired texture is reached. You want the fruit leather to be set and not sticky to the touch, but overcooking will result in brittle edges. For strawberry, 3 hours and 40 minutes. For the blueberry/strawberry combination, 5 hours.
- Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Cut into strips with a knife or pizza cutter and roll onto strips of parchment paper. Fruit leather can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.