How to Make Incredible Fruit Leather Snacks from Apple Sauce (Along With a Dehydrating Mistake You Don't Want to Make!)
I made a bunch of home made apple sauce in the crock pot about a week ago--delicious cinnamon apple sauce! I can get about two good quarts of apple sauce when I make it in my crock pot, and that's not really enough to can.
So, I ended up putting those quart jars in the 'fridge, thinking Mr. V. would eat one, and I'd cook with the other one! But----I forgot all about them! Have you ever done that? When I found them chilling there in the fridge yesterday, I realized I had to do something with them right away or risk them going bad. I decided to make some apple fruit leather to preserve that apple sauce! Here's how I made super easy apple fruit roll-ups!
Since apples have pectin, which is a binder, I didn't even need to add anything else to this recipe. The only things in this fruit leather are apples and cinnamon! That's it. I even left the peels on in the crock pot, so this fruit leather turned out delightfully full of extra fiber too. (Find out how I used the cores to make home made raw apple cider vinegar.)
You can use apple sauce from the store to make your fruit leather, but home made is just always better. If you want to keep your fruit leather as healthy and natural as possible (and don't we all?), then be sure to buy unsweetened apple sauce, and preferably organic.
Note: There are a few affiliate links scattered throughout this article. If you happen to click through and make any kind of purchase, I'll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thank you for helping support Healing Harvest Homestead--Heidi
How to Make Natural, Healthy Apple Fruit Roll-Up Snacks
Making Fruit Leather in a Dehydrator:
Step 1) Spread the Apple Sauce
You'll want to spread your apple sauce onto parchment paper or another smooth surface that works for dehydrators. Spread it out as evenly as you can about 1/4 inch thick. I didn't spread mine quite that thick, and next time, I'll add a bit more to make a thicker leather.
HERE'S A MISTAKE I MADE---DON'T DO THIS!
Well, I ran out of parchment paper right in the middle of getting my dehydrator trays ready. The regular dehydrator sheets have holes in them, so I couldn't use those by themselves or I'd end up with a big mess in my dehydrator. You can buy special flat dehydrator sheets, but I'm too frugal for that right now. Parchment paper works fine!
So I did what most people would do: I Googled what else I could use! Wax paper came up as an option, and I happened to have that--and here's what happened.
The wax paper DIDN'T work! DON'T use wax paper to dehydrate fruit leather! The fruit leather ended up sticking like glue to the wax paper on that one tray, completely ruining it. BOO---
Step 2) Dehydrate
I have an Excalibur dehydrator, and I just love it! It's the best one I've ever had! I set the temperature to 135 degrees, turned it on, and the fruit leather was done in about eight hours.
If I had spread it thicker (about 1/4 inch or so as I will do next time), it may have taken up to another four hours or so.
Step 3) Remove, Cut, and Roll
Once your fruit leather is completely dehydrated (not sticky, and removes easily from the parchment paper), it's time to cut it up and roll it for later.
I cut off the really uneven edges, then cut each square into fourths. Since I was still out of parchment paper, I just used the paper that I dehydrated the leather on. This wasn't ideal, as it was a tad "crispy," but it ended up working out fine for now.
Otherwise, for prettier fruit leather rolls, I would have cut a special sheet of the parchment paper for them.
I used a rustic cloth tape to secure the rolls, but you could use anything---even twine would look really cool.
That's it! It turned out great! I enjoyed eating those rough edges while I worked, too! :-)
How to Make Fruit Leather Snacks in the Oven
Perhaps you don't have a dehydrator? No problem! You can use your oven to dehydrate most things too.
I haven't actually made fruit leather in an oven, but if I were to do it this way, here's how I'd go about it.
Step 1) Spread the Apple Sauce
Get your apple sauce spread on the parchment paper. I would definitely make sure it's about 1/4 inch thick for the oven, as the oven is hotter than the dehydrator--and you don't want crispy leather.
Step 2) Dehydrate
Set your oven to the absolute lowest temperature. For many ovens, that's 175 to 200 degrees. Set the parchment paper directly on a rack because that will allow more air flow to the fruit leather's bottom.
You won't need as much time in the oven because it's hotter, so I'd start checking it after a couple of hours. It should be completely dry and easily peel off the parchment paper without being "crunchy."
If your fruit leather becomes crispy, you've let it go too long.
Step 3) Remove, Cool, Cut & Roll
Your fruit leather will be warmer coming from the oven, so allow it to cool down. Then just follow the above directions!
Final Thoughts on Making Apple Fruit Leather from Apple Sauce
I'm glad I thought to do this! I hate waste, and looking at those two beautiful quart jars and thinking about all the lovely fresh apples from our trees that went into them was starting to make me feel sad. So this was a great successful experiment with a happy ending!
I think Mr. V. will enjoy eating these as much as he would have the apple sauce too. They are a perfect, healthy snack!
As far as storage goes: I'll be keeping these in a glass Mason jar in the store room. But....I don't think they're going to last very long!
By the way, here is a link to my most favorite dehydrator cook book!
Do you make fruit leathers? I'll be doing more experiments with other kinds of fruit after this! I was really happy about the way they turned out. If you've tried making your own, or have thoughts or questions, I'd love for you to share by leaving a comment!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
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