Monday, April 4, 2011

fruit leather and fruit chips

Remember this story?

"This is the napping house where everyone is sleeping.."

This is what it looks like around here as I write this post:

Last night I made fruit leather! I wasn't able to finish the process until I was home from school today, but I think overall it turned out great! John David's business partner, Josh, let me borrow his food dehydrator to experiment with before I decide if I want to buy one or not.

First thing I did was cut parchment paper to fit the plastic tray so the fruit leather wouldn't leak through. This was not very fun. Ideally food dehydrators come with a special fruit leather tray. This one did not.. it caused problems down the line because the inner circle did not have a lip so it dripped down to the other levels. I made 3 tray covers for fruit leather and kept 4 for dried fruit. Another mistake- if I were to do this in the future and wasn't so rushed, I would do an entire thing of fruit leather than an entire 7 trays of dried fruit.

Here is all you need- I did mango and strawberry- depending on how tart the fruit is you may need to add some sugar. I ended up adding 1/2 c sugar and 1 small snack size carton of apple sauce to the strawberry and only 1/4 c sugar to the mango.

For every 4 cups of fruit add a scant 1/2 c of water

While my fruit reduced down I had John help me cut the apples (those aren't my hands)

I sprinkled some lemon juice over these but I should have soaked them in some lemon water because they ended up turning brownish later.

After they simmered for about 15 minutes I added the sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice.

I let it cook down some more and thicken

I pulsed it to a puree in the food processor- taste it here to make sure you don't need to add anything else. This is where I added the extra 1/4 c of sugar to the strawberry and the unsweetened apple sauce

Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray then pour it onto the trays

I had some leftover strawberry so I did some in the oven on the lowest setting

Here they are after about 9 hours in the food dehydrator

This is the tray coming out of the oven- this is a little burned- it tastes okay, but the leather coming out of the food dehydrator tastes better. I did these overnight in the oven so next time I think I would start checking this around 6 hours. I liked how these came out when cutting them so I think I just need to time this better in the future.

This afternoon when I peeled these up to cut them

I used clean scissor to cut these rather than get frustrated with a knife. I think a pizza cutter would probably work too.

They are easiest to eat rolled up, but since there is cooking spray on them, they didn't stay rolled very well.

This photo was taken after I had taken some off, but they did shrink up considerably. The fruit chips did not ever turn crispy like I hoped- they stayed chewy. They still tasted great, but I want to figure out how to get them crispy. They stayed in the food dehydrator about 10 hours.

3 pears, 3 apples, 2 cartons of strawberries, and 2 mangoes shrunk down to these 5 ziplocs.
I was very pleased with my first dried fruit adventure- I want to experiement some more over the summer

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