How to Make Fruit Leather

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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.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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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.

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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

  • 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.

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Fruit Leather

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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261 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jessica

    Thank you for this recipe! how long are these good for? I’m hoping to make it in bulk, because I have an excess in grapes, but I want to know how to store for long time storage or at least 6 months. would a vacuum sealed bag work or can I put it in a jar with oxygen absorbers?

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  2. Marcelle

    Guavas are very expensive here when in season, so I buy 6 large ones at a time, wash and peel them, then bottle the fruit halves in a syrup to be enjoyed as a desert with custard. I roughly chop up the Guava skins and add a chopped green apple or two (with their skins on still). I simmer these together with only two tablespoons of water, a block of frozen lemon juice, two tablespoons of white sugar and just a pinch of salt (to preserve the colour). Once blended, you can still see small bits of the softened apple skin in the leather, which adds to its organic look. It is so tasty and full of natural fibre. I get a 750g bottle of Guava halves and two rolls of Guava leather for half the price I would pay for all of that in a store and nothing except the tops and tails go into the bin.

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  3. Suhashini

    I feel that we should encourage alternatives to plastic wrap whenever possible. For people making this in an oven, reusable silicone sheegs are available. I’ve owned mine for over 10 years. Since not everyone has one, perhaps parchment could be suggested, and not the plastic wrap.
    I’m fortunate to have a dehydrator with fruit roll-up trays, so I don’t use any liner. I peel off my fruit and roll up pieces like cinnamon sticks, and store them in a jar. No need to roll it up with paper or plastic in between. And then there’s nothing to throw out:)

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  4. Shelltel

    I love the way you have written this up as fruit does taste different and requires different handling. I have one question before I begin, would parchment paper or cotton fabric work in place of the plastic wrap? Both can go in the oven and is smooth so hoping it can. I do not use single use plastic.

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  5. Jessica

    Hi! I just ordered my first food dehydrator and am looking for recipes to make with it and just came across this page! This recipe looks super easy and yummy, my question is if the dehydrator doesnt come with trays to make the leather, would you guys recommend i get several small metal sheets to make them in? Or any other ideas i could try?

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