Better than Candy. Home Made Treats for your Kids

Fruitleather

I never, N-E-V-E-R thought that I’d be putting recipes here on this blog, but something happened a few days ago. Somebody mentioned “fruit leather” and the funny thing is I knew exactly what they were talking about. I’d eaten some. A long time ago. Can’t remember where.

But I did remember the intense concentrated taste, the satisfyingly chewy texture, and the light dusting of icing sugar (slight mental frown).

I heard that it could be made in the home by any mum, nanny or maid. It sounded like a fantastic addition to children’s lunch boxes. So I did a bit of research. And here, to save you the trouble of doing  your own research, is my much tested and proven recipe. Ready?

  • Get some fruit, any fruit.
  • Make a purée.
  • Pour into a baking tray and dry in the oven.

That’s it! Could anything be simpler?

Now, I am sure you are going to ask for more details, though believe me, you don’t really need any, but here they are anyway.

  • The fruit really can be any fruit. So far we’ve made apple, banana and grape at home.
  • If it is a soft fruit, like a banana, you do not need to cook and reduce it. If it is a fruit like apple, it is probably best to slice it, remove the seeds and cook until soft. You may need to add just a little water. You can use a blender for an even texture
  • You can add lemon juice to brighten up the flavour, or cinnamon for that warm comforting homely aroma, sesame seeds or chopped nuts, honey if you wish, sugar if you must. You can mix varieties of fruits, for example some berries with pear.
  • Pour the purée into a baking dish to a depth of around 4mm. It is recommended that you use parchment baking paper to prevent sticking. I don’t do that, I just lightly rub the baking tray with olive oil on a paper towel .
  • Bake (with the fan on, if the oven has one) at the lowest possible temperature, which will probably be around 50 °C. It’s going to take hours. At least two, but maybe up to twelve.
Fruitleatherrolls 200x133Now you may be thinking as I did, that you could make big batch and keep it – putting a roll of fruit leather into the lunch box every day. In theory that is a good plan, but in practice everything you make will be eaten within a few hours of being discovered by your eager kids. But that’s no bad thing. I wondered how much nutrition fruit retains after drying and the answer turned out to be just about all of it. The FDA recognises dried fruit to be equally nutritious as fresh fruit.
So there you have it. Healthy, nutritious, unbelievably tasty, and easy to make. The candy stores are going to go broke!

Check out this video of making fruit leather:

 

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