How to Make Fruit Leather

Step-by-step guide for making fruit leather, puréed fruit, spread out and dried, then rolled up to store. A great way to use up excess fruit of the season.

Print
Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

When you have your own fruit trees (or access to someone else’s) sometimes you can feel a bit buried in fruit, whatever happens to be dropping off the trees at that time. Summer becomes a mad dash of canning, jamming and freezing, trying to preserve the bounty to enjoy throughout the year.

One thing you can do with excess fruit of the season is to make fruit leather, sort of the beef jerky of fruit. I used to love this stuff as a kid, made for a great snack and instant energy, and was easy to pack.

What follows is a general guideline to making fruit leather, no set recipe. So much of it depends on the specific fruit you are working with.

Fruit Leather

Do you have a preferred way of making fruit leather? I’m curious to know.

I imagine that not all fruit are best processed the same way, and some might work well mixed in with other things, like cherries with ground almonds for example.

I know that some people prefer to process just the raw fruit; I like cooking the fruit first to up the intensity of the flavor, and kill any bacteria that might be lurking around on the fruit.

When apple butter season starts, I may make a fruit leather batch with extra ground cloves, cinnamon and cider vinegar.

The leftover fruit mush from making a clear jelly would be great for making fruit leather (thinking of the quince jelly now).

If you have a favorite approach to fruit leather with a favorite fruit, please let us know in the comments.

How to Make Fruit Leather

Print
  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 9 hours
  • Yield: 4 cups of fruit yield about one baking sheet of fruit leather.

Ingredients

  • Fresh fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, berries, apples, pears, grapes)
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar (if needed)
  • Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)

Method

1 Rinse, taste, and prep the fruit: Rinse the fruit. If you working with stone fruit, take out the pits, chop the fruit. If working with apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. If working with grapes, de-stem them.

Taste the fruit before proceeding. Note how sweet the fruit is. If very sweet (ripe Concord grapes for example) you will not need to add any sugar. If still a little tart, you may need to add some sugar in the next step.

2 Cook fruit with water, sugar, lemon juice, spices: Place fruit in a large saucepan. Add a half cup of water for every 4 cups of chopped fruit.

Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked through. Uncover and stir.

Use a potato masher to mash up the fruit in the pan.

Taste the fruit and determine what and how much sugar, lemon juice, or spices to add.

Add sugar in small amounts (1 Tbsp at a time if working with 4 cups of fruit), to desired level of sweetness.

Add lemon juice one teaspoon at a time to help brighten the flavor of the fruit. Add a pinch or two of cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices to augment the flavor.

Continue to simmer and stir until any added sugar is completely dissolved and the fruit purée has thickened, another 5 or 10 minutes (or more).

Note if you are working with grapes - strain the juice out of the mashed grapes to make grape juice. Force what is left behind, after straining, through a food mill, to make the purée for the next step.

3 Purée the cooked, mashed fruit: Put the purée through a food mill or chinoise. Alternatively purée it thoroughly in a blender or food processor.

Taste again and adjust sugar/lemon/spices if necessary. The purée should be very smooth.

4 Pour purée into lined baking sheet: Line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe). Pour out the purée into the lined baking sheet to about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.

5 Slowly dry out in oven at a very low temp: Place the baking sheet in the oven, try to keep any plastic wrap from touch the sides of the oven or the oven racks. Also try to make sure that the plastic wrap hasn't folded back over on top of the purée. If this happens, the purée won't dry out.

Heat the oven to a low 140°F. If you have a convection setting, use it, it will speed up the process and help dry out the purée. Let dry in the oven like this for as long as it takes for the purée to dry out and form fruit leather.

We usually keep it in the oven overnight, so about 8-12 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface.

Alternatives to the oven. If you have a food dehydrator, this would be a great use of it. My mother suggested putting the tray in the weber grill, and leaving covered, in the sun all day. Sounds like a good trick, but I haven't tried it yet.

My parents remember the traditional way of making fruit leather was just to tent the tray with some cheesecloth and leave it outside in the sun on a hot day.

6 Roll up in its plastic wrap to store: When the fruit leather is ready, you can easily peel it up from the plastic wrap.

To store it, roll it in its plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to How to Make Fruit Leather on Simply Recipes. Thank you!

Print

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Fruit Leather

Showing 4 of 153 Comments

  • Justin

    I made this today using fresh strawberries lime juice (out of lemons) and honey. Boiled, mashed, simmered and run through the food processor and it was all good. I poured it onto a 2 layer wax paper covered baking sheet and put in the oven at 140F with the door propped open an inch or so. The fruit leather fused to the wax paper and some of the juice actually seeped through both layers of wax paper and gooed up my baking sheet. It was a total loss. Guess I should have used parchment paper instead.

  • Dan

    Wow… The process and recipe we’re crazy simple, but what appears to easy, likely is… The advice to use plastic (microwave safe or not) is terrible! I doubted it would work, but thought I’d try, just cuz… Hey, I may be wrong

    Jokes on me! All that fruit, and my baking sheet are ruined! The plastic wrap is NOT meant for baking and melted. That advice was #SimplyRetarded

  • Haze Sommer

    i usually use a food dehydrator but i wanted to try the oven method and will try this recipe today. i substitute sugar for organic honey (1 jar per pot of fruit). I store the fruits in the freezer until i have enough for a soup pot full. apples are my usual base and the skin makes a pectin. you can pick up fruits at a bargain if they are getting a little soft(perfect for fruit leathers) i’ve never needed lemon though. my fruit leather is my 4 year old granddaughters go to. all the fruit snack out there for kids are full of chemicals/sugar and way over priced.

    today’s batch is cherries, apples, grapes, carrots(make the base thicker and healthier) and i might experiment with raw oats too :)

  • Daniel

    Hi,

    Can you do this with fresh figs?
    How about using wax paper instead of plastic wrap?

    Just askin’

  • aagii

    hi Elise. thank you for your information. how to make the fruit leader in factory? or equipment?

View More Comments / Leave a Comment
Fruit LeatherHow to Make Fruit Leather