Fruit leathers are so easy to make I wish I would have tried ‘em sooner! I looked through recipe after recipe to figure out my own version.

Here’s what I wanted:

1)No cooking

2)No sugar (I like ‘em tart)

3)Fast

Here’s what I learned:

1)Part of the reason you have to cook the fruit beforehand is to make it smooth and to dissolve the sugar. Cutting out the sugar helped eliminate one reason to cook. The next? A smooth consistency. A hint from purchased fruit leathers helped solve that: apple sauce (that’s my interpretation for the first ingredient–no matter the flavor it’s always ‘apple puree concentrate’). Using apple sauce makes the leathers smoother and cuts the cost. You’re going to need 5-7 cups of pureed something, mixing apple sauce with strawberries cut the amount of fresh fruit I needed.

2)Instead of sugar some recipes use honey. I wanted another option so I tried agave. It worked perfectly. (I also added in a squeeze or two of lemon juice for a sour punch.)

3)Well, there’s no real way to make fruit leathers fast. Prep fast, yes. Actual drying, nope. I did decide to up the temperature from 140 degrees (that’s what I saw listed again and again) to 170, which seemed to maybe trim the time a bit, but count on this recipe taking the better part of the day (or two). Unattended, mind you.

Basic Steps

Step #1 Cut fruit

Step #2

You need 4-5 cups for roll-ups (pictured) or 6-7 cups for thicker leathers (which will take longer to cook). I used half apple sauce, half cut up strawberries, and I recommend a 1:1 ratio.

Step #2 Blend fruit

Easy, peasy. I squeezed in a bit of agave, fresh lemon juice, tasted, tweaked, done.

Step #3 Pour fruit

Line a cookie pan with parchment (over the edges). Pour.

Step #4 Bake fruit

10-12 hours at 170. Yup, it takes time, the edges will cook faster then the center, so you can cut them off as they finish, feel with your fingers if the fruit is at the right leathery consistency for your taste. I let mine cook over a couple days so that I never left the oven on unattended.

That’s it. I kept the parchment on the leathers so they were easier to pack in lunches. These leathers were a hit with my kids–my middle daughter who doesn’t like strawberries or apple sauce (but strangely enough loves cut apple slices) downed half the pan and was the first to ask me to make more. My oven has been on non-stop since.

Along with fruit leathers, I’ve been thinking about healthy habits for my family with summer around the corner–I found these over on Motherboard.

Your turn–what are your favorite healthy snacks? Habits?

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