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Seasonal Fruit leather

Seasonal Fruit leather

It’s school holidays and the kids are constantly looking for something to eat. There is loads of fruit around, but they want something else. Here is an idea that may appeal to them and can be adjusted to suit different ages – fruit leather!

Any fruit can be made into fruit leather, some requires more treatment than others. Summer fruits such as stone fruits are perfect for this project. Most importantly only the imagination limits what can be created.

First step is to identify how the fruit is to be dried. There are several options here: dehydrator, oven, or sun. Depending on the day, the dehydrator is likely going to be the most reliable. The oven will take the least time, but requires constant attention. The sun is where your young engineer can take over, making a simple outdoor food dehydrator or something more elaborate. Essentially all that is required are drying racks and a way to keep insects (mainly flies) off.

The recipe to make fruit leather is simple, essentially it is fruit puree (keep skins on for more fibre) that is dried. The spent fruit from making shrubs, jellies or cordial can also be used to make the fruit leather.

Simple fruit apricot leather base recipe:
• 1 kg pitted apricots
• ¼ cup sugar (adjust to taste depending on how sweet the fruit is)
• Lemon juice (not essential)

• Place the apricots in a single layer on a baking tray, cut side up, bake for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees C, cool until warm.
• Blend the apricots with the sugar until smooth, then spread onto baking paper lined trays. The cooking step is not essential and raw apricots can be blended, try both methods and see which you prefer.

Then put into:
• Oven on the lowest temp for about 6 hours with the door slightly open — keep an eye on the oven or,
• Dehydrator at 60 degrees C. Check directions as dehydrators vary. Dry until no longer sticky, about 12 hours. Or,
• Place in t he sun, protected from insects with a fly net or some fabulous contraption that the kids have invented. It is best to have elevated, and if it has not dried sufficiently by sunset, bring in out of the night air and put out again the next day.

Once the leather is no longer sticky to touch, it can be cut into strips and rolled up with the baking paper still attached, and put into sealed jars. This will last for a few weeks (or longer in the fridge), depending on how dry the leather is.

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