Fruit Leather, Two Ways

I am okay with admitting when something I make doesn’t turn out exactly the way I want it to.

I am okay with admitting when something I make doesn’t taste the greatest.

I am okay with knowing that cooking, baking and experimenting is all about learning.

Having invested in a dehydrator last month, I could not wait to not only make our beef jerky, but also make some homemade fruit leather. It seems like every food blog I have read in the past month has posted their take on fruit leather. I was a little overwhelmed as to what recipe I would prefer and wanted to try, so I decided to test out two different ones and compare.

Before reading the many food blogs I subscribe to, I thought the only way to make fruit leather was by using fruit puree. After reading more recipes, I quickly learned that there is a faster and easier way to make fruit leather, by using fruit preserves. I first learned of using fruit preserves when one of my favorites blogs, 1cupawesome, shared their take on fruit leather. I was intrigued. It looked delicious and super simple. I had to give it a try. Another favorite food blog of mine,  tastykitchen.com showcased the fruit puree version.

**I have to note that most of the websites I read talked about making fruit leather in the oven. I chose to make mine in our dehydrator. I also should note that our dehydrator came with only one fruit leather tray, so I had to do a little research on what I could improvise with.  I learned that if I didn’t have a tray, I could use parchment paper or plastic wrap. I didn’t have any parchment paper, so I chose to go with plastic wrap.

So without further ado…. Fruit Preserves vs. Fruit Puree

Fruit Preserves Fruit Leather

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar organic preserves ( I used strawberry)
  • 4 teaspoons corn starch
Directions:

Mix fruit preserves and corn starch together.

Spread on tray. Or in this case, plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

There is no set time for when the fruit leather will be done. I began checking mine after 4 hours and it took a total of 8 hours in the dehydrator. When the preserves were done dehydrating, I easily peeled the fruit leather away from the plastic wrap and placed on wax paper.

I found that it was easier for me to cut the fruit leather with a pizza cutter, then use kitchen shears to cut the wax paper and them roll up individually.

Frozen Fruit Puree Leather

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups halved frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 sugar (can vary depending on sweetness level

Directions:

Halve strawberries until you have three cups.

Place strawberries, lemon juice and water in sauce pan.

Simmer in saucepan for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Once done simmering, puree strawberries in blender.

When done pureeing, taste strawberries and assess how much sugar you want to add. I ended up using the full 1/4 cup.

This stuff was SO good, it was hard not to keep slurping it up by the spoonful!

Mix strawberries again with sugar. Pour strawberries on to dehydrator tray/plastic wrap. I used one tray that came with the dehydrator and another tray lined with plastic wrap.

This batch took 5 hours in the dehydrator.

The fruit puree easily peeled off the tray and plastic wrap. I transferred it to wax paper and used a pair of kitchen shears to cut the fruit leather and roll it in the wax paper.

And the results are…

Thickness:

When spreading the puree and preserves out on the trays, it was a little difficult to get a thin layer of the preserves. The fruit puree was thinner and had the texture of what I think of to be fruit leather. There is no doubt that when I make this again, I will use all dehydrator trays. While the plastic wrap worked in a crunch, it was not ideal.

Time:

The fruit preserves was super simple with mixing it with cornstarch and smoothing out on trays. The puree was more time-consuming with cutting the fruit, simmering the fruit and pureeing.

Cost:

The strawberries were $3.18 a bag and the preserves were $4.99 a jar. I already had the sugar and lemon on hand.

Taste:

No doubt, hands down, the strawberry puree wins in the taste test.  The preserves appeared more greasy when eating, and I am not sure if this is from the spray used on the plastic wrap, or from the preserves themselves. Not only the flavor, but the texture of the puree fruit leather was more favorable than the preserves fruit leather. There was just something off with the preserves. It didn’t taste bad per se, just not enjoyable. I think it was the cornstarch, and maybe I added too much, but it just didn’t have that fruit leather taste.

And the winner is…..

The fruit puree. Jake and I both agree that with the cost, thinness, texture and flavor the puree was truer to the processed “roll-ups” and an overall better taste.

This little comparison was fun to do and made my feelings of being overwhelmed on which fruit leather I prefer come to an end.

Do you ever get overwhelmed with the hundreds of  recipes out there?   What do you do if you feel overwhelmed? Do you bite the bullet and try just one, or do you try two, three or a mix of all of them? 

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3 thoughts on “Fruit Leather, Two Ways

  1. Just making another batch of fruit leather. I had a bunch of apples that weren’t the freshest anymore. Just a bit on the spongy side. Anyway I chopped them up, threw them in my Vitamix along with a some frozen blue berries, a couple of dates for added sweetness and a dollop to vanilla. Blend that until smooth, throw into pot, bring to boil, let cool a bit then chuck into dehydrator. They taste like blueberry pie filling. Everyone goes bonkers for this stuff.

    • Now that sounds delicious. We haven’t made any fruit leather since this time, but hopefully this summer with fresh berries I will get back in to making it. Thanks for sharing!

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