Fruit Jerky Sticks (Fruit Leather)
Fruit leather is a favorite for kids (and some adults too) and is so simple to make that we thought to include it on this site as the principle is the same, drying and preserving food. For next to nothing you can make your own, wholesome fruit leather rather than buying the store bought concoctions that contain ingredients that you cannot even pronounce.
Ripe fruit of your choice
Additional sweetener to taste
1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice (optional)
1. For best results, select fruit that is at peak ripeness without being overly ripe.
2. Process fruit by removing all pits and stones, however the small seeds that would normally be eaten in berries do not need to be removed from the fruit
3. Cut the fruit into small pieces and puree in a blender or food processor.
4. For yellow or light-colored fruit, 1 tablespoon of lemon or lime juice for each quart of fruit may be added in order to preserve the color.
5. If you are using orange or pineapple pulp, you might want to add some additional sweetener to taste (such as sugar, or corn syrup). Other fruits do not require additional sweeteners.
6. Put wax paper on a cookie sheet.
7. Pour the puree onto the sheet to a depth of about 1/4-inch. Distribute evenly by tilting the sheet. A spatula will not be necessary. The cookie sheet should be completely covered before drying.
8. Set oven at lowest setting (140 degrees). Place the sheet in the center rack of your oven and leave the door cracked open 2 to 6 inches, as you would when broiling. The fruit jerky will take about four to five hours to dry. Allow the fruit jerky (also known as fruit leather) to cool before removing for storage.
Storage: After loosening the edge and peeling it back about an inch, roll the waxed paper and the dried fruit leather in one piece into a loose roll. The dried fruit roll can be stored for years in the freezer, for months in the refrigerator, and many weeks at room temperature (70 degrees Fahrenheit or less).