Last fall I made a batch of fruit leather using pears from our neighbour's pear tree. It was so tasty and I didn't have to add one bit of sugar. In my opinion, this recipe is best made with fresh seasonal fruits. However, it can also be made with store-bought applesauce.
I love making this because Ella is a a real snacker, and she seems to favour the store-bought version of this, by President's Choice Organics...you know the one I mean! :-)
So, I've been thinking a lot lately about what I'm going to do with all the fresh rhubarb that is ready in our garden. Considering I still have half a freezer full of rhubarb, I need to find some new recipes! I have a delicious rhubarb sauce recipe which is great over ice cream, but I know if i make a bunch of sauce, it will sit in jars in our cold room forever. I had a great idea - make the sauce, puree it, and use it for fruit leather!
Now to the recipe.
- To make the rhubarb sauce, I use the recipe found here, on the Foodland Ontario website. They have awesome recipes for seasonal produce. Whatever you do, don't leave out the orange rind from this recipe! It is the perfect complement to the rhubarb.
|Rhubarb sauce - some put aside for later!|
- Puree the (cooled) sauce until there are no more long strands of rhubarb. It ends up being a pudding-like consistency.
- Grab a large baking sheet and line it with parchment paper (not waxed paper!). You may need more than one baking sheet, depending on how much sauce you have.
|It doesn't matter if it goes over the sides.|
- Spread a thin layer of the puree onto the baking sheet. Actually, a better method is to dump a large spoonful of puree onto the middle of the sheet and shake the pan around to let it spread out on its own. Then you can go back and even it out - but definitely make sure it is even. Think about how thick/thin you want your leather to be and use this to determine the amount of puree you put on each baking sheet. The thicker you make it, the longer it will need to bake.
|This ended up being way too much for one baking sheet - I scooped some off and put it onto another sheet|
|This is the BEST tool for spreading|
|Ready for the oven|
- Place the baking sheets in the oven on the lowest setting. Mine was 170 degrees F. Depending on the thickness, it will need to bake anywhere from 5 to 12 hours (in my experience). If it's your first time making this, you may want to do it during the day so you can keep checking it, otherwise, not a bad idea to bake it overnight! Again, a thicker spread will take longer. You will know when it's done because it will not stick to your fingers when touched. Make sure to check it at several spots just in case it's uneven. If some parts are done , break them off and remove from the oven so they don't over-bake.
|Fresh out of the oven - it's okay if the fruit/parchment ripples|
- When it's ready, pull the parchment paper off the baking sheet and then separate it from the fruit leather. You can now cut it or roll it up in whatever sizes you like!
I need to acknowledge this recipe uses quite a bit of sugar because I used rhubarb (also, technically a vegetable), however, I wouldn't use sugar when making this recipe with any fruits (ie. apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries etc.). Although, I would definitely add spices based on the fruit. Some of my favourites are cinnamon, all-spice and ground cloves. I hope you get a chance to make this for your kids or yourself - it's so easy!!
Leave me a comment and let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!