Naturally Sweet Fruit Roll Ups
I love dried fruit and most kids like commercial fruit roll-ups. This recipe is super easy and a good substitution for the not-so-healthy store version. It's also a great pick-me-up with the concentrated fruit sugars. When athletes ask me what food is good for quick energy, I always suggest dried fruit.
This is also a good recipe to use up the odds and ends of fruit. The fruit doesn't have to be perfect, just don't use anything that's rotten or moldy. You can toss left-over fruit that won't get eaten into a bag in the freezer, then pull it out to de-thaw when you have enough saved up.
Naturally Sweet Fruit Roll-Ups
3 cups fruit
2 Tbsp. honey or pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1. Heat oven to 170 degrees.
2. Blend ingredients in a blender until very smooth.
3. Spread mixture evenly on a 13x18 or 13x15 pan lined with parchment paper, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. The outer edges tend to get done first, because the fruit mixture tends to gravitate towards the center. For that reason, try to spread it away from the middle and towards the edges, as much as possible.
4. Dehydrate in the oven for 4-6 hours, or until the middle is not sticky and it peels off the parchment paper easily. If the outer edges get done first, trim them off and leave the middle in the oven to dry longer.
6. Cut into strips and roll up with or without the parchment paper. My youngest daughter likes them rolled into strips about the size of commercial fruit roll-ups, but they're also fun in wider strips and can be stood up on end in a container for serving at a party. The pictures below are not mine, but are fun ideas for presentation. Just ripping a strip off the pan is also very acceptable:)
7. You can secure the end with a cute little sticker, or some string, if desired.
Cooking time will vary depending on the moisture in the fruit.
Add sweetener to taste, as some fruit is sweeter than others.
Add lemon juice to taste, as some fruit is more acidic than others.
You can use frozen fruit, just defrost it first.
For a smoother texture, especially if you're using lots of berries, you can strain the blended fruit through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds
You can also do this in the direct sunlight, although it will take longer. Check the weather and put it out first thing in the morning with a tent of cheese cloth over the pan to keep the bugs out. This could take a couple days, depending on the weather. Bring inside at night.
If you overcook it and it becomes crispy, you can re-hydrate it by brushing the fruit leather with water. You may need to do this several times to get it to the pliable stage.
MAKE IT EVEN HEALTHIER
Use organic ingredients.
Use raw, local honey.