Thursday, April 28, 2011

Plastic-Free Strawberry & Apple Fruit Leather

Yesterday, as I danced around my kitchen... I once again realized one of the many rewards of striving to reduce our families plastic footprint.  The reward, of course, is the victory of figuring out how to make something that has been so commercialized that we think that we need special equipment to make it OR the only way to get it is to buy it.
But, what I learned yesterday as I turned apples and strawberries into fruit leather is that I don't need fancy equipment and my kids don't have to go without BECAUSE it's one of the easiest (and best tasting) things I've ever made.  Seriously, no joke.
Excited with my creation... I carried the fruit leather to my daughter's dance last night.  Of course, I shared.  The reaction was, "You should sell these."  But... why sell something when you can share a recipe and people can make their own??  Everyone deserves to dance around their kitchen in sweet victory!!!

Strawberry & Apple Fruit Leather

2-3 cooking apples, peeled and diced  (I used Fuji, if you would like other suggestions... just ask me!)
1 lb 2oz strawberries (I used fresh picked local strawberries)
juice of one lemon
7 TBSP honey

Line 2 sheet/cookie pans with parchment paper or Silpat.

Add apples, strawberries and lemon juice to skillet (or pot).  Cook on med-low until fruit is soft, about 15-20 min.  When fruit is soft, run it through a food mill or sieve.  Add the honey.

Divide mixture evenly on the two sheet pans.  Spread out to an even thinness.  Bake at 180˚F for 7 hours or until dry. 

Cut to how you like... eat in strips... roll them up... however you eat them... trust me... you'll be dancing ;) 

Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  (<---HA!  We ate ours in a day!!!)


Notes:  

*Any berry would work to replace the strawberries.  Make this with seasonal berries :)

*180˚F is the lowest temperature setting for my oven.  If you have a lower setting, you could dehydrate these at 140˚F for 12-18 hours

*Always one to experiment whether or not lining the pans is actually needed... I lightly oiled a pan and tried it out.  Sure it works fine... but it takes (a lot) more effort to get the fruit leather off of the pan.  Save yourself the time and line the pans!! ;)  

*I was asked if a food processor could be used in place of a food mill.  My thought is "why not?"... as long as the mixture is thoroughly puréed, it should work fine.  If you try it with a food processor... let me know :)