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 :)
Can you do this with fresh figs?
How about using wax paper instead of plastic wrap?
Hi Daniel, I haven’t tried it with figs, should be good! As for wax paper, I haven’t tried using it. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you.
10/4 – :)
Hey Daniel, yes, you can use fresh figs. My sister recently made them with fresh figs and they were delicious. I’m trying it now with my figs, but my figs are sweeter than hers so I don’t think I will add any sugar.
hi Elise. thank you for your information. how to make the fruit leader in factory? or equipment?
Hi Elise – thank you for your information. I am not happy about lining the tin with plastic wrap. Could I use freezer paper or parchment paper with the same success?
Hi Karen, good question, I don’t know.
I am wondering if this would a great way to use up all my leftover baby food jars. My one year seemed to have decided overnight that he will not eat any more purees. Would still have to cooked on the stovetop first? Or would I just add the flavors and spices and then put right into the oven? Would mixing in some veggies change the outcome? I know apples and carrots mix well. Might be willing to try out some other mixes too. I would hate to waste any food.
Hi Abi, since baby food purée has already been cooked, there would be no need to cook it again. You should be able to put it right into the oven. I haven’t tried mixing in vegetables, but sounds like an intriguing idea!
I recently got into fruit leather when my best friend gave me a food dehydrator and a plentiful stock of persimmons. Have also done pineapple, blueberry, and raspberry. Wonderful, nutritious, shelf stable food! The fruit one is working with really does impact how the fruit is processed and the proportions used.
I use a slow cooker. I put apples that have been cut into chunks and cinnamon sticks in and let them cook until they are soft and brown, Then I put it through a food mill, to thicken it more I put it on the stove over low heat, I find it is very sweet.
I have a steam juicer and used the apples after juicing for Apple leathers. I put them in the food processor first I added honey nutmeg and cinnamon and they turned out really good. Unfortunately I had no idea how to make fruit leathers so I burned the first batch in the oven at 300 so just make sure you keep your temperature low
I was making cranberry orange relish for Canadian Thanksgiving, and had a really big bag of cranberries (COSTCO…) – so I made the relish with half the bag, plus oranges, sugar, and a bit of fresh ginger, pulsed to a coarse chop. Put the relish aside, and then I continued pulsing the other half of the batch until it was more of a puree, and made fruit leather with the second half. VERY tangy, but if you like this taste combo, YUM! I also tried sprinkling some white sugar on top of the leather as it dried (in my dehydrator) – as the tanginess seemed to intensify as the fruit leather dried, and it seemed to do well with a touch of crunchy sweetness on top.
Thanks for the tips! I used this as a guideline for making plum leather. I added ground cloves, all spice and cinnamon, and honey instead of sugar. It turned out really tasty!
Instead of adding water to apples and cooking them down, quarter them and put them in a roaster pan for 30 minutes at 400. it cooks and starts the drying process, then mash them.
Hi! What is the thought behind boiling the fruits? Does it taste better? The few times I’ve made this I’m used fresh and frozen fruit, pureed it, and poured it on the dehydrator tray. Also, I wonder, would boiling affect the nutritional value? Thanks!
I’m also curious about cooking prior to making the purée. I usually blend my fruit in the Vitamix and pour directly onto my dehydrator sheets.
Boiling usually means placing something in water, and then discarding the water. Nutrients are lost through this method because the surrounding water is discarded. Because the entire mix is used in this recipe, it shouldn’t lose nutrients like that. Cooking generally increases accessible nutrients, by breaking down food and making it more digestible.
I had a large amount of plum mash left over after making jelly and sauce so I decided to use your recipe to make some fruit leather. It came out great! I used your Mom’s method of setting them in the sun for the day (we’re currently having very warm weather 95+) and our oven only goes down to 170 not any lower. Saved electricity, used all but the seeds from a ton of plums and the kids have some treats now too! Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Bruce, I’m so glad setting them out in the sun worked for you!
would this recipe work with citrus? I have quite a few orange trees.
Hi Emily, great question, I don’t know. I haven’t tried it with citrus. If you do, please let us know how it turns out for you!
Citrus are recommended to use in combination with other fruits because they have high liquid to pulp ratio. Here you can find a table of fruit suitability for fruit leather:
The Nesco dehydrator manual has a few tips regarding different fruits (and even yoghurt) on page 15:
This would be a cheaper option to buying those commercially made “shreddies” for toddlers. I’m going to try this and take it for my great nephews on Australia Day. I’ve never tried it before. I do have a dehydrater that someone has let me use. Now might be just the right time to use it.
Hi Elise. Thank you for this recipe. I tried it last night and it worked really well – apart from the fact that I did use foil because I had nothing else and a lot of windfall apples to use up quickly. The result tasted fine, but I had to spend ages peeling off the foil. I’m planning on buying parchment and wonder if brushing it with oil will help.
I am with George that it seems pretty wasteful in terms of energy. My solution would be doing quite a few batches at the same time – do you know roughly how long it will last in the fridge? Does it taste the same after being frozen?
Just thinking aloud – we’ve got storage heaters in our house and I wonder if sticking a tray on top of them might work…
Freezing the mash, or even the whole, ripe fruits before you begin the leather process, tends to have very little effect on flavour, though it can decrease the nutritional value a bit in a way refrigeration does not. It’s a toss up! Things keep longer whilst frozen—you just need to weigh length of preservation (or how long of a break you’ll need before going through the whole fruit-leather process again—a few days? fridge! weeks? freezer) against willingness to lose some of those great vitamins and minerals in the fruits!
Quick question about grapes. I would like to use the pulp for leather and the juice for jelly. I wonder can I throw the grapes through my juicer and then conserve the juice for my jelly and cook up only the pulp, etc for the leather as you describe in your recipe?
Thank you – Eva
Hi Eva, I think I tried that once with our concord grapes and it didn’t turn out that great. But who knows, maybe you’ll have better luck!
I made strawberry syrup today and couldn’t throw away the pulp that was left, so I searched for a fruit leather recipe. It’s still drying out but it sure smells good. Thanks for recipe tips.
It is originally from Iran and Its name is lavashak!
Are there any fruits that we should avoid for fruit leather? I don’t have anything specific in mind other than a way to use up the rhubarb.
Not that I know of.
I did rhubarb with strawberries and it came out great. Added lemon juice and zest, orange juce and zest, and cinnamon. Our neighbor brought over a ton of rhubarb so this worked out as a way to use up my leftover pie filling.
My daughter & I made our own strawberry jelly yesterday. We had to mush up the berries, cook them briefly, and then strain out the juice to be used for canning the jelly. We decided to make fruit leather with the leftover resulting strawberry mush. We added a bit of sugar, stuck the whole mix in the blender, and then spread the puree out on a Silpat on a baking sheet in the oven. It has now been in there for 11 hours on 170* (the lowest my oven will go), and it’s still sticky. I’m not sure how to tell when it’s done!!! And my husband is getting annoyed because he’d really like to heat up some lunch. LOL
Hi Brittni, it may be that you needed to spread the puree out more thinly?
Her same ingredients can be used in a dehydrator spread out on a none stick plastic sheet. Apple Sauce is always the best starting ingredient then mix anything you want into it for fruit roll ups. I always make my own apple sauce, no sugar added. Other fruits have there own natural sugars. Why add more sweeteners if you dont need too. You can add spice flavorings to the fruit to suit yourself, put it all in the blender to stir it up good then pour it out onto the dehydrator trays. Expirment ,best of all have fun with it. Be creative.
So I was wondering if anyone has tried “”veggie” roll ups? I am trying to come up with creative ways to get my toddler to eat his veggies! I though carrots, apples and honey would be good. Or sweet parsnips and sweet potatoes, or even pumpkin or butternut squash roll ups? And How long do the roll ups keep in the fridge before going south?
This looks so good, will have to give it a try.
I found this because I was actually looking to find out about making a vegetable leather. I’m thinking specifically a cucumber leather. I’ve seen the posts about making a tomato leather and those sound amazing, but curious about whether anyone has tried something like this with other veggies?
Lemon/lime cucumber is really good, and adding some citrus pulp helps keep it from turning brown. Using the juice and zest is good for flavoring, and using some pulp helps to bulk out the cucumber, which is incredibly watery and reduces down by a *ton.*
I’ve done basil/lemon/cucumber that turned out well.
Granted, I do tend to end up with a lot of pulp because I juice my cucumbers to make shrub, a sweetened vinegar-concoction, with the juice.
I love this recipe! We make it all the time and I NEVER get sick of it! Thanks Elise!
We make papaya leathers by pulping- sieving-heating-pour to trays (on plastic sheets)-drying 60-70 C .
& the problem is all the leathers get cracked.
But for mango & other leathers when use same procedure we dont get these cracks. Pl. explain why this happen & how to over come this.
No idea. ~Elise
I would like to try and make some fruit leather I did a few years ago not too successful Can you tell me if I can use Figs and do i have to remove the skins can you tell me the best way to go about it. thankyou I am in Australia
I haven’t yet attempted to make fruit leather with figs. Good luck! ~Elise
Thanks for this great recipe. I just made some with large supply of apples this year. I cored them and pureed with smoothie blender with skin still in tact. There is no evidence remaining of skin and this not only made it much easier, but retains a lot of the nutrients in the skin.
Thanks so much for this amazing recipe! We tried it out this weekend and were so thrilled with the results we blogged them: http://17apart.blogspot.com/2011/10/how-to-make-homemade-fruit-leather.html
Tim and Mary
I have been making loads of fig, peach, apple, and even apple/rasberry leathers lately. I layer a baking pan with wax paper, spread out the purre and leave the pans in the hot sun for the day. I cover them with netting and within 2 days they are perfectly dry. I cut each sheet into about 20 strips and just store the fruit leathers with the wax paper in containers. Makes it less sticky to eat :) Yummy!!
I tried doing this with concord grapes and I couldn’t get it to work. I ended up with a lot of grape juice. Even using a food mill I couldn’t separate the grape puree from the skin and seeds. Maybe my food mill is not so good? Is there a trick to this?
I went to the 1.00 store and bought 10 one dollar cookie sheets..I smear the cookie sheet with a light coat of margarine. The leather does not stick one bit to the cookie sheet…I use Promise margarine,,heart healthy…
I spray my aluminum cookies sheets with a little oil from the can rather than use saran wrap. I also use my wood stove in the winter to dry fruit leather. I put it on a tray about 1″ up off the stove and let it slow cook over night. It takes about 12 hrs. or more as well.
these sound great. i noticed that you can try them with yoghurt, has anyone tried this? and was thinking, if you can do it with yoghurt, do you think it possible to make rhubarb and custard leathers?
By the way, we have been making fruit leathers with a dehydrator for many years, you don’t need to cook the fruit before???? just put whatever fruit you want in a blender and then dry the “sheets” of fruit. no need to cook them. When properly dried, and stored in zip-locks they keep for YEARS at room temperature. It is true that mold is the greatest culprit. but if properly dried enough, you don’t need to refrigerate. Think about dried fruit you get in cereals, and beef jerky…that’s the whole point, its so dry that it can be preserved at room temperature for a long time…although the fridge won’t hurt.
I;ve got a batch of banana/strawberry in the dryer right now…
the oven works, but if you like this kind of stuff, it really pays to buy a dehydrator, they work well, you can dry your stuff at low temp. so nutrients etc. are not destroyed, and yummy!!!
google dehydrator…mine was about 200$ but I make beef jerky, dried fish, and vegs and fruit, and wild mushrooms …the thing goes non stop around this time of year, I;ve had it for 10 years no problems. kind of expensive I know, but well worth the investiment if you are serious about drying lots of stuff. (which you should be..!!)
Another way to sweeten fruit leather and make it healthier, is to use honey or stevia…or even both. The honey acts as a natural preservative.
I hope this recipe works – Strawberry season started today so we have lots of fresh strawberries. We have 3 batches in the oven. Strawberry/apple and Strawberry/banana and Strawberry/apple/cherry. i did one with plastic wrap and two with parchment. Our girls helped me – possible 4-H project!! Will let you know how they turn out!
is there such thing as overdrying in this recipe? I did an enormous batch last night before my apricots and strawberries went bad… the flavor of the combination is great and i love the cinniman with it too but either I didn’t make the puree thick enough on the pan or I over dried because it doesn’t peel off the surran wrap, it just cracks in tiny pieces. Any advice?
Sounds like they got over-dried. I would make the purée layer thicker next time. ~Elise
I really want to make fruit leather and have some questions.
does anyone have a recipe for grapefruit leather? Can jellies work when adding to other fruit? i.e. raspberry jelly with strawberry fruit.
And does anyone have a recipe for cantaloupe or any other melon leather?
This looks great! My girls and I can’t wait to try it! I was wondering though if frozen fruit could be used to? Thanks.
I don’t see why not. Just defrost and drain first. ~Elise
I just finished my first batch of strawberry leather and am in heaven! I made three cookie sheets worth and used Silpats instead of plastic. I just wanted to let you know I linked back to your recipe on my blog and Facebook page. Thank you again for the cool tutorial!
You might purchase http://www.kitchenstewardship.com e-book Healthy Snacks to Go. It’s full of ideas for bars, power bars, reverse-engineered larabars. It has about 20 recipes just for larabars (fruit with a nut base to form a bar). I use recipes from it all the time.
I am definitely making this tonight! My hubby made me pancakes with homemade strawberry sauce for breakfast and it got me thinking about cooking down the fruit first before making it into leather. All the other recipes I have seen recently call for simply pureeing the fruit and drying it in the oven, I like this idea so much more.
I also want to know if anyone has ever tried making it thick (like 1/2″) and cutting it in to bars? My hubby is addicted to the sunripe fruit bars but they are expensive and have so much extra stuff in them. The bars could then be cut in to bites for my toddler too. I’m going to try I think. I’ll make some bars in a bread pan and some leather on a cookie sheet. Maybe put the bar pan in earlier? I’ll post and let you know how it turned out!
Lastly, what about adding some veggies? I am thinking carrot and a sweeter squash; the wee one is starting to get picky and I’m having to get more creative!
I used to do this back in the mid 80’s in Colorado in the summer. I drove a hatchback and put the trays of fruit leather in the back. I would just check it after a day, and, oh btw, did my car ever smell great!!
Do you bring your tray in overnight when using the car. Im worried about it getting moldy if I leave it in the car overnight.
I tried making fruit leather with my food dehydrator and it was a disaster. Some of the dehydrator trays melted. So, if you have a plastic dehydrator, be warned. I am looking forward to trying the oven method, so thanks for the recipe and directions.
We used the Weber for a batch of Apricots, it took about two days, in the heat of summer, the hotter the better, worked a treat. No issues with bugs at all.
Do you bring your tray in overnight when using the car. Im worried about it getting moldy if I leave it in the car overnight.
I just purchased a brand new “Nesco” “American Harvester” Dehydrator. I have an Apricot tree & Elderberries planter in my yard. As well as Rhubarb. I have have found a recipe for the apricots and the elderberries I think. but not the rhubarb. Also do you have one for fresh sweet and sour cherries and fresh blue berries?
I do not. But if you experiment and come up with something that works, please come back and let us know about it in the comments. ~Elise
In india, we pour out the thickened fruit puree on to mats and place it in the sun for drying (with a net cover to keep off the flies of course). With a certain large variety of banana, called the Kerala banana because that is the stae it grew in, we wait for the fruit to ripen, then set it out with the skin on to dry out in the sun. The fruit will turn brown and then almost black and that is when you have to peel off the skin and chop up the caramel coloured fruit into little bite sized bits to store away. Very chewy and yummy, I assure you.
It’s in the oven as we speak! Mum didn’t have any cling film that could go in the oven so I used grease proof which I greased extremely thinly with oil, hope it works!
So excited to try these :D we had so many pears from the pear tree this year so I asked if I could use some to make this :D
I made some today! Very yummy. Thanks for the recipe. I added honey to mine though.
Strawberry banana on one and Strawberry banana grape for the other. Very good both of them.
For some of you saying oven doesn’t go below 200. Mine reads at the coolest 200, but it does indeed go below 200. I cooked mine at 150
I’ve been making fruit leather for nearly 30 years, and for me, the thickness of the puree on the drying sheet is important. We use a 16.5″ X 11.5″ rimmed cookie sheet, and spread 2.5 to 3 cups of puree on it. An offset spatula makes the job easier. Cooking the fruit (or puree) to 190 degrees BEFORE spreading it on the sheets will help deter any bacteria and oxidation. And to line the cookie sheets, freezer paper (shiney side up!) works beautifully. We use honey instead of sugar for sweetness and to keep the leather pliable. Dusting the leather with a little cornstarch keeps it from getting too sticky. I’d be happy to share my recipe for strawberry-rhubarb leather, if anyone’s interested…
Sure! If you want, just post it in the comments. ~Elise
can I use canned fruit? and if so how would I do that? I have a daycare and we have so much left over canned fruit cocktail sause .
thankyou for any idea you may have .
I had an abundance of applesauce (already flavoured with cinnamon, etc.)leftover in the freezer from last fall. I was drying some mangoes and decided to try drying it into fruit leather. I strained it first by putting a coffee filter into my mesh screen strainer and sitting it on some paper towel. Then I just spread it on my teflon sheets that came with my dehydrator and dried it at the same time as my mangoes. It is a resounding success and all the applesauce has now been used up!
@Carrie – I am using frozen blueberries (frozen whole after picking 30 lbs several weeks ago) to make blueberry leather. Based on my taste of the puree, should be as good as if I’d dried them the day I picked them.
Trying the drying in the car method as we speak. Perfect for a heat wave!
Hi! I have an abundance of cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, and grapes left over from a graduation party. I’d like to make fruit leather with it, but don’t have the time right now. Is it possible to puree the fruit, freeze the puree, and make the fruit leather later?
No idea. If you try it though, please let us know here how it turns out. ~Elise
I have done this on a
regular basis. No problem at all!
My old recipe calls for dusting one side of the leather lightly with corn starch,then roll up individually in wax paper. I store them in canning jars. works great.
Why can’t you spray a little pam on a non-stick pan instead of the plasitc wrap…I’m scared about the oven temp and I try not to use plastic anyway.
You could try that. Or you could try using Silpat. ~Elise
What is the method to make mango strips so they do not turn dark brown or black?
Hello Dewald, I haven’t made fruit leather with mango, so haven’t experienced this problem. But I would imagine if the fruit is darkening, it’s due to oxidation. You might try adding a bit of lemon juice or ascorbic acid to the mango purée to prevent the oxidation. ~Elise
I have found the easiest way to make fruit leather is to cut the bottom out of disposable, microwaveable plastic bowls. It is easy to make single rolls, and with consistent thickness and shape.
I made this last night with apples. It tastes great! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! :) It’s so easy. I love it!
I would like to make apple fruit leather, I need it to be green as well. Do I just boil them down, then puree them and add green food coloring?
Guess so. I have never added food coloring to fruit leather. ~Elise
If I were to make tomatoe leather I’d use some vodka in the stove top portion to draw out the alchohol soluble flavors of the tomatoe. Herbs and other items would work well too. As for the sugar, in sweet fruits vs savory, I’m thinking about substituting honey, because my inlaws have a bee keeper who has bee hives left of thier farm land, and they give us more honey than we can possible use in a year:). Just wondering if honey has the same microbial properties as sugar.
Fruit leather should last up to 4 months in the fridge. I have a cookbook with a recipe and storage directions. Also, you can use high quality applesauce or applebutter if you’d like a short cut when using apples.
I just wanted to thank you. You pointed out the wrap should be microwave safe. Canning books point out disadvantages to copper, aluminum, and some other types of pans, acid may effect the pan, which might change the color of you fruit. Guess I’m going to do just a little at a time. It’s a hundred miles to town, so I’ll have to try wax paper or something.
Can you sweeten the fruit leather with honey?
I haven’t made it that way, but if you do, please let us know in the comments how it turns out for you. ~Elise
Raw honey is antibacterial, but as soon as it’s cooked at all it loses the properties that make it that way as well as some of its flavour. So skip putting everything on to simmer, or at least wait till after to put the honey in, and it should be excellent.
My children are so excited to try home made fruit leather! The pear batch is in the oven right now. Tomorrow the peach will go in the oven. If it warms up I may try the Weber method. It has been a great family activity,from collecting the fruit to cooking the fruit, to running it threw the antique Foley mill.
Thank you for yet another way to connect food to table!
I’ve made at least 7 batches of apple fruit leather this summer. We’ve had enough to share (although not in the opinion of my three year old who wakes up first thing in the morning to ask if he can have fruit leather!), and many of my friends are clamoring for the recipe.
Thanks for this recipe! I’ve been trying to find ways to minimise the amount of waste after making fruit juices and other fruit recipes, and this seems like a great way of doing just that! My family and I live on a smallholding in Central Portugal, and trying to use up and store all of our produce as efficiently as possible sometimes needs a lot of creativity… we’ve never heard of fruit leather, but the photos look delish :D
We also only have a food processor, and pushing the pulp through a seive to remove the seeds seems to have worked (which gave the arm muscles a good workout!!). The leather is currently drying in the back of the car – we’re all looking forward to tasting the results!
Where can you find the heavy-duty plastic wrap, and could I use aluminum foil instead?
Sounds delicious, can’t wait to try it! Thanks!
Aluminum foil will react with any acid in the fruit pulp, affecting the taste (not in a good way), so no, I wouldn’t use it. You can find heavy duty plastic wrap (like Saran Wrap) at the supermarket. ~Elise
When making concord grape fruit leather, what is the best way of removing the seeds from the mash? I have no equipment other than a blender and a small food processor. Thanks for any suggestions!
The best way to do it is using a food mill. A painfully slow way to do it would be to use a sieve and the back of a spoon, pushing the mush through the sieve and discarding the peels and seeds. ~Elise
Has anyone tried a sugar-free variation? My combination of pears, peaches and apricots really doesn’t need any additional sugar. Any suggestions?
I’ve made concord grape fruit leather without any addition of sugar, as the grapes are sweet enough. Just don’t add sugar. If your fruit is sweet enough as is, you don’t need it. ~Elise
I made these lastnight and took them out this morning to find them way overcooked. they are completely dry and crunchy. I was wondering if I can reconstitute them somehow… has anyone else had this problem?
I came across this recipe when trying to find an easy recipe for fruit leather. I tried four different variations to start (orange w/ coconut on top, apple, apple cantaloupe, and apple watermelon). All four taste good, but I think I may not have softened up the apples enough because all three trays with apple turned out more like chips. The orange roll turned out great.
After a very long drying time (I think it was a little over 10 hours), I decided to try Tracy Brown’s hot car method. So far it has taken two days for the two trays, but it’s also only averaging 75 degrees outside where I live. The parts that are finished are the softest and best tasting of the five different batches (this time I tried orange watermelon).
Thanks to Tracy for sharing that really helpful bug-free energy-efficient method.
I am making fruit roll up with children for a kitchen chemistry unit, does anyone how to explain the process or scientific method that happens when making this?
Hey I have recently bought a dehydrator and have been making fruit leather franticly. Had lots of sucess. The suggested temp is 55 degrees C, for fruit leather. No problems in a dehydtrator because of the constant air flow that is created for the drying process.
Turkish Apricot also great for to make fruit leather.
For a whole new twist on fruit leather I am trying somethig different. Basically my technique for drying the leather is the same as yours but the fruit that I am using is red chili. Yep here in New Mexico red chili is in abundance and I think that this is going to make great backpacking food. The latest twist on this is I made a mole but left out the oil so that it would not turn rancid and instead of sugar I used organic apple cider to sweeten the mole.
Let us know how this turns out for you. I tried making some jalapeno fruit leather with jalapeno mash left over from jelly making, and yikes it was so hot! Not hot in a good way. Hot in a screaming way. Had to throw the whole thing out. ~Elise
I made fruit leather with pear, apple, and cherry puree. I have an old dehydrater my mother-in-law gave me that does not let you set the temperature. You know the ones…round with trays that you have to rotate. Anyway, some of it cracked and some of it didn’t. Could this be b/c of thickness, over dehydrating, or somthing I did when blending? I did not add water, but did put a little organic apple juice in. I also did rotate the trays.
Sounds like you may have over-dehydrated them. I did that a few days ago, and the fruit leather cracked instead of folding. ~Elise
Yum! Do you think parchment paper would work as an alternative to plastic wrap? I’m a little worried about chemicals leaching after 8 hrs. in the oven with direct food contact.
Yes, parchment paper will work, it’s just a bit more difficult to work with than plastic wrap. ~Elise
I just bought a juicer and dehydrator for healthy eating. After juicing, I had plenty of pulp that I fed to our chickens. Last week after juicing apples, grapes, and a lemon I decided to try to make a leather. I put the fruit pulp in a blender with a banana and 1/4 cup of honey, then poured into a plastic wrapped dehydrator tray. The next morning I had a GREAT fruit leather. I am planning on purchasing a jerky gun to form the fruit leathers into strips for easier child distribution.
I’ve also been making seasoned dehydrated tomato slices, but the idea of making a tomato based leather sounds better (with home grown herbs and sea salt for seasoning).
Another great answer to another question of mine! I’m glad your pulp leather turned out fantastic, because that’s exactly what I’ve been thinking of. Any idea how long it lasts outside of the fridge being just that extra bit dryer?
I was wondering if this would keep in the pantry? I’m going to have a lot in my freezer and fridge…so will it store in the pantry?
Hi Holly, there are no preservatives in this, so they wouldn’t last long in the pantry. You can leave them there for a few days, but after that, they should go in the fridge or freezer. ~Elise
I have a gas oven and the pilot light keeps it constantly (and rather disconcertingly) warm. I’m not sure exactly how warm, but that just might be enough to slowly dry out fruit leather without using any additional natural gas.
My whole family loved fruit leather when I was growing up, so they were very happy when I brought a batch that I made using this recipe to a family get-together. I’ve already made 3 types: apple, peach and apricot. I dried the first one a bit too long, so it turned out more leathery than normal, but I’ve gotten the hang of it and it is the biggest hit with anyone I give it to. Thank you for another great recipe that makes me look good! :)
I called my neighborhood grocery store and asked what they do with their fruit that isn’t exactly spoiled but isn’t worth paying for. They offered to give it to me, because otherwise they just throw it out. So when I feel like making up a batch of fruit leather, I call and say, “Save the trash for me!” and then I have to pick it up within an hour or so (they don’t want to store their trash too long waiting for me). With the majority of the fruit, I have to cut off bruises, and with a small portion, I just have to throw it in the compost. I also don’t get to choose what fruits I get, but I always get a good variety — but rarely organic… Overall, it makes me feel good to be avoiding needless waste and it has been a great way to lower the cost of the fruit leather since it’s costly in time!
Hi Elise —
I made this the other day with some nectarines (and a little cinnamon and nutmeg). My family loved it!
My son is asking me to make some with melon. He loves cantaloupe and watermelon. Any thoughts on how to make fruit leather with melon?
Great simple recipe! Most recipes I have encounter for leathers, are too complicated or have too many ingredients.
I would suggest instead plastic wrap (which I personally would have no problem with using) use wax paper the kind used for lining round baking pans for cakes. I was wondering if orange juice could be use like the lemon juice for maybe strawberry orange leather?
P.S Last week,I went the coast for the real sandy beach and the sun! Most Beaches in the Puget Sound are rocks.
It’s worth a try, but oranges don’t have the same level of acidity as lemons. Pineapple juice could definitely be used, however, as it’s so acidic that one person generally can’t eat a whole one by themselves in one sitting the way a lemon can be sucked dry or eaten like an orange. You wouldn’t even need as much of the pineapple juice, so I would think it would add just that little spark of tang without overwhelming everything else (including orange!).
Can pomelo fruit be used for leather?
Worth a try. I would segment the pomelo and separate the membranes from the pulp. Discard the membranes as they are thick and tough. ~Elise
Elise, the fruit leather sounds very good. The problem..I would never cook with plastic touching food. I think cooking with plastic touching food could become carcinogenic..especially in the microwave. Oiling the pan or using parchment paper sounds like a much better idea.
Hi Phyllis, I would agree with you in general about plastic. However in this situation you are drying the food at a very low temp, not cooking it. ~Elise
I made this last night. I used a box of fresh apricots from the farmer’s market that I wasn’t going to eat all of, and the fruit leather was awesome. I spread the puree really thin, and they came out just like un-artificial fruit roll-ups. My oven doesn’t have a temp below 200 degrees, although it does have a “Warm” setting, so I left them on “Warm” for about four or four and a half hours and they were done! I’m so psyched — I’ll definitely be making this again, it’s such a great completely natural snack!
This sounds and looks like what we in India call Aam Papad which is made out of ripe Mango pulp. Usually made out of ripe mangoes and sun-dried over a period of time. It is dried in fine layers which is then put together. Is a great favorite amongst kids and is usually the first thing that a non resident Indian will ask for if someone is visiting from India.
Thank you, so much, Rathi. You answered a huge question for me. As a kid, my mum used to buy a brand of fruit leather that eventually was made quite thick, and so I’ve been wondering how to dry fruit leather so that it is a whole 1/2 inch thick or thicker. I thought maybe layering would work, but everywhere I look, everyone’s only talking about thin leathers.
Just thought I’d mention that my experience has been that the results are better if I make sure there’s a substantial portion of pureed apples or applesauce in the recipe, no matter what other fruits are in the mix. I think this has to do with the pectin in apples. Also, my food dehydrator (Waring) came with two circular plastic disks that fit into the regular trays so that fruit leather could be made.
I made the leather from my plums but didn’t want to run the oven that long and didn’t want to attract bugs by doing the weber or outdoor method. I put in in my car while at work and by 3pm it was done. The office staff loved it.
The “hot car method”. Love it! ~Elise
Fruit leather is great for raw foodists, too! All the steps listed here are not even neccessary if you have a dehydrator. I make mine by simply pureeing fruit (apricots and strawberries are yum) in a food processor with a little water (teensy splash) until it all runs smooth. Then just spread on a dehydrator sheet (Mary- I cover with parchment paper, it doesnt melt and helps the food not stick, too)and dehydrate for about 24 hours at 115 degrees. This preserves the enzymes in the fruit and you don’t have to add any suger, either. I’ve never needed too if the fruit is ripe. Cut it into strips to make fruit roll-ups as a great snack!
How long does it last like that (have you tested it)? I think of survival situations where no fridge is accessible. Does it get dry enough to last quite a while (say, several weeks)? Or would you have to up the drying temp?
In Iran, sour fruit leathers (lavashak) are very popular. The base fruit is usually sour plums, but other tart fruit flavors are available (sour cherry, barberry, pomegranate, and more). For the homemade version, the fruit is cooked with just a splash of water, pushed through a strainer to get the stones out, cooked a bit longer to thicken with a healthy pinch of salt, and spread on some plastic sheets and dried in the sun (well, ideally). As long as its nice and dried, it’ll last a very long time in the fridge. Ah, it’s good stuff!
“I have heard of tomato leather used by Italian immigrants who traveled west. Anyone know of a recipe?”
We’ve made tomato leather for backpacking trips. The easiest way to make it is to find a good quality tomato paste. Spread thinly on a silpat for oven dehydration or on plastic wrap for the dehydrator.
Dry on low heat until very leathery. Refrigerate or freeze prior to your trip to lengthen the freshness factor.
Tear or shred into little pieces and soak with water in a ziploc bag to rehydrate.
The nice thing is you can flavor the tomato paste with herbs prior to drying if you wish.
If you make this outside, doesn’t it attract bugs?
That’s why you have to cover it with cheesecloth or a screen if you make it outside. ~Elise
Just make sure the screen is very fine or the cheesecloth folded a few times. Those tented net things you buy in the store to put over your dishes while outside simply aren’t fine enough to keep EVERYTHING out. Those tiny flies are very sneeky…
Thank you for responding…I’m guessing the leathers would need to be enclosed so the sugars don’t wick moisture from the air and become syrup all over again?? I have greatly enjoyed your sites for quite a while now. Thanks for the great ideas and your beautiful photography as well.
Hi Pat, You’re very welcome! I don’t think they will become syrupy again (unless you rehydrate them in boiling water), but they might soften a bit and more easily get moldy. ~Elise
Do you think Splenda would work instead of sugar? I have tried “sugaring” strawberries with it and had poor results. I’d hate to waste the fruit.
Thank you for so many good ideas.
“It tastes like sugar because it’s made from sugar!” Please avoid Splenda, and its included chemical composition, and use raw cane sugar. Natural is always, always, better, don’t you think? Besides, cane sugar is has a much nicer, much sweeter taste than even white sugar, and you need much less of it to make anything sweet.
Hi George – No idea how much energy my oven uses for 140°F (barely warm) for 10 hours versus how much it uses for typical dishes at 350°F for an hour. Probably varies by oven. Ours is pretty efficient. We dry a lot of produce in the oven- figs, apple slices. Obviously if you have more in the oven it will be a better use of the energy. But at the low heat levels I just don’t think of it as an issue.
Of course there’s always the good ole solar method if you are so inclined.
This is perfect! We are just starting to eat more fruit, and I love the idea of doing leather myself, without corn syrup (which is in the Fruit Roll-Ups). How would this work with cranberries (with apples or grapes for sweetness)?
Kit, I’d be willing to bet that you could use much the same method with tomatoes, if you remove the skin and the slimy parts and change the flavorings appropriately.
8-12 hours in the oven? That’s a lot of energy to dry out a tray of fruit puree. Have you discovered any other methods of drying instead of using 8-12 hours of natural gas or electricity? Solar baking?
Sounds delicious, but very wasteful for such a small return in food product. Any good deed of using up old fruit is replaced with energy waste.
George, I have read of using your car as a dehydrator. Just place your trays of fruit on the dash. You will want to cover it with cheesecloth, then leave the windows up and let it stand all day. I haven’t personally tried it, but it sounds like it should work.
How long does fruit leather keep?
Hard to tell, we usually eat it up pretty quickly. Perhaps a week in the fridge? Indefinitely in the freezer. ~Elise
I was addicted to apricot fruit leather as a kid, my parents had a large dehydrator we would use to make upwards of 20 square feet at a time. spoilage will only occur if the leather is too damp to store. (thus the mold) If you dry it enough (but not too much or it becomes to brittle) it will store in rolls for quite some time. It will, however become grainy as the sugar crystallizes, much like honey when it is stored. It’s best eaten fresh, or within a few weeks. The grainy stuff isn’t dangerous to eat but it’s not as tasty ether. I have never tried freezing it. I would imagine that condensation during the thaw process could cause unwanted results. We just made some in my brothers attic, it reaches about 130F during the day. I have never used an oven to make it, as it seemed kind of expensive to run an oven all day. I have heard of some people using the trampoline to make it covered by a screen to keep bugs off. My latest attempt (in the attic) we used apricots mixed with pineapple. We used wax paper which it stuck to so bad we thought we would have to throw it all away, (4 rows of about 8″ by 12 feet) but we figured out a way to get the paper off… if anyone runs into this problem, soak a towel in hot tap water, wring it out as much as possible and lay it on the paper side of the fruit leather wait a few min and the paper will peal off nicely. sorry, looks like i got long winded. Home made fruit leather is the best candy ever made.
Thank you, Thomas, for posting how to remove wax paper, if one uses it by mistake! (I could have sworn the recipe I saw called for it. What a mistake.) The hot-water on a towel, wrung out, and placed on the wax-paper side of the fruit leather, worked for me! Didn’t have to leave it long, maybe only a minute. I dribbled boiling water onto a kitchen towel folded in quarters, so it was nice and hot and I didn’t have to ring it out much (if at all).
I have heard of tomato leather used by Italian immigrants who traveled west. Anyone know of a recipe?
Regarding the food safety issue, the cooking of fruits prior to dehydration in the oven should be sufficient enough to kill most of the bacteria that cause enteric symptoms. 140 F (or 60 C up here in Canada) is warmer than the outside air that I sun-dry tomatoes in! If you’re still concerned about bacterial growth, refrigerate the fruit leathers afterwards.
Thank you so much for this! I just went strawberry picking and needed another use for them other than jam!
About twice as warm, in general, depending on where you live. I know around mid-Alberta it usually doesn’t go up past about 35 C in the bakin’ middle of summer. lol
http://www.disknet.com/indiana_biolab/b062.htm gives these temperature ranges for bacterial growth, which look familiar from my high school Science and Cooking classes.
Psychrophilic = Cold loving; optimum growth at 15 – 20C
Mesophilic = middle living; optimum growth at 30 – 37 C
Thermophilic = heat loving; optimum growth at 50 – 60 C
I just made some with plums yesterday! My huge glass baking dish was too wide for plastic wrap so I just rubbed the bottom of the pan with the lightest film vegetable oil. It worked perfectly. In the past, when I have dried it outside, I cover the pan with an old (clean) window screen.
Both great ideas, thank you! ~Elise
When I was a kid, I was completely addicted to apricot fruit leather, but I never once considered making it at home. Thanks for the instructions; this is going on my list for summer, when our neighbor’s peach trees begin to fruit.
I, too, love fruit leathers; used to eat more of the box than my children had a chance to. I’m not a food safety guru but have enough background to be concerned by the 140 degrees (which is why most ovens don’t go below 160). I know the fruit is spread thinly, that the sugar content is a factor in preservation, but I also know that the “bad guy” bacteria grow at faster rate in this temperature range…Could anyone reassure me on the food safety of this method, please?
Hi Pat, bacteria don’t like sugar and they don’t like dry. Sugar is hygroscopic, it actually binds up water molecules, making them unavailable to bacteria, which need a certain amount of available water to live and grow. This is why sugar is used as a preservative, and why dry, sweet things generally do not spoil from bacteria. The biggest risk of spoilage for fruit leather is mold. ~Elise
http://www.disknet.com/indiana_biolab/b062.htm gives these temperature ranges for bacterial growth, which look familiar from my high school Science and Cooking classes.
Psychrophilic = Cold loving; optimum growth at 15 – 20C (59 – 60 F)
Mesophilic = middle living; optimum growth at 30 – 37 C (86 – 98.6 F)
Thermophilic = heat loving; optimum growth at 50 – 60 C (122 – 140 F)
So to be on the safer side, you could up the temp by 5 to 10 degrees, but I’m guessing Elise will agree that you shouldn’t heat the oven much higher than that. After all, you want to dehydrate your leather, not bake it. I think an actual dehydrator uses those same low temps, too.
The safest method, as far as I’m concerned, would have to be sun-drying, simply because sunlight itself kills bacteria. However, not everyone can sun-dry things in the middle of a snow storm. ;)
Plastic film & oven? I don’t know if mine is oven safe.
Is it possible to use a silicone mould instead of a plastic film and a baking sheet?
Hi Cammu, if you have a silicon mold in a broad, flat, rimmed shape, I see no reason why it wouldn’t work. ~Elise
In some parts of the Middle East (Syria & Lebanon), apricot fruit leather is soaked in warm water and left overnight to rehydrate, then passed into a fine sieve, the resulting liquid is chilled and served as a rich beverage garnished with pine nuts and almonds during months of fasting. Delicious!
Would parchment work in lieu of the plastic wrap?
Plastic wrap + oven = I am scared.
I had an episode once, maybe twice. LOL.
Hi Mariah, parchment paper should work, though it will be harder to work with than plastic wrap. ~Elise
Can bananas be used for leather?
Yes. I found this recipe online, as well as several more for banana fruit leather. I think cooking the bananas first will intensify the flavor, but it may turn the color a little more brownish. Don’t know though, haven’t tried it yet. If you do, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise
Slicing bananas lengthwise into strips and then dehydrating works a treat. Toss in lemon juice to stop browning. They are much nicer than store bought dehyd bananas as are more like leather than chips. Enjoy!
I had never heard of this before. This looks like a really great snack to have around! Does it keep very long or is it the kind of thing you should finish off within a week?
Hi Mike, the biggest spoiler of fruit leather is mold. You want to keep it dry. It should easily last for several days as is, after that refrigerate it in a container, or freeze it. ~Elise
Just curious, I have a food dehydrator, but would I put the puree on plastic wrap as you did in the oven, or on something like aluminum foil maybe? just know that the inside of the dehydrator can get pretty hot.
thanks, and I love your blog!!
Hi Andrew, if you are adding lemon juice to your purée you are making it slight acidic, which you definitely do not want next to aluminum foil. The aluminum will leach into the food giving it somewhat of a metallic taste. If you are using microwave safe plastic wrap you should be okay. If you don’t have microwave safe plastic wrap, you could try using parchment paper. BTW, I used saran wrap, but not the microwave safe kind, and I was fine. ~Elise
My dehydrator came with a couple of plastic sheets, one was really just a wide lattice and the other was a solid but flexible sheet, I believe the latter was specifically for fruit leather.
I use the plastic trays from the dehydrator. I have tried spraying with pam and not. It comes off just fine without the pam and tastes better. I have started using my canned applesauce to make fruit leather because my kids don’t really like the applesauce. As fruit leather though….it is gone!!!
You can use parchment paper in your dehydrator if you don’t have screens.
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