With summer officially here, we’ve got an even bigger bounty of fresh fruit available. I love to bite into a crispy, tangy plum, to spread almond butter on a green apple slice or to just eat berries by the handful. I also bake a lot of fresh fruit desserts, but this year I tried something I haven’t made in a long time: fresh fruit leather.
My fruit leather is so incredibly easy, I always wonder why I don’t make it more often. It’s as healthy as any fruit leather’s going to be, and because I adapted it to be made in the oven, you don’t need any fancy equipment like a dehydrator. The only real work is all the chopping or peeling, and with so many fruit options available, no two fruit leathers will be the exact same.
Melissa’s Produce sent me a complimentary gorgeous box of fresh produce. Bright, purple plum bites. Fuzzy peaches. Shiny pears. And more. I made a cobbler with some of them, because plums call for a crisp or a cobbler…but I decided to use the rest to make the fruit leather. That’s what’s so awesome about fruit leather: you literally can use any of the fruit you have left. You can use a mix of fruits, or just one. As long as you have the basic quantities of fruit vs. sugar and a little bit of water, you’re good to go.
Learn from me — don’t make it on aluminum foil. Tried that once, the hubs had to freeze the whole tray, then peel the foil off of the back in pieces at a time. You don’t want to use any oil or cooking spray, as it will change the consistency and make it harder for it to bake solid. (But the infamous tinfoil experiment still made a gorgeous batch!)
Oven-baked fresh fruit leather can be kept in the refrigerator for at least a week, and depending how you want to cut it and package it, it can also make a great on-the-run snack. We stored ours on waxed paper, then rolled it up. Simply start peeling back the waxed paper, then cut with kitchen sheds or just tear and go!
When choosing fruits, keep in mind a few things, like the liquid content. Citrus fruit will be too liquidy, and things with too many seeds will be hard to prep. Some fruit, like apples, will need to be peeled. If you don’t want to peel the fruit or cut out the seeds, you can always puree the fruit and then put it through a sieve.
Otherwise, game on!
Oven-Baked Fresh Fruit Leather
- 4 cups chopped fruit (peeled or seeded are best)
- 2 tbsp granulated or raw sugar
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- Cinnamon or cayenne pepper for a kick
Spray 11" x 13" (approx) rimmed cookie sheet with a small amount of cooking spray. Line the sheet with quality parchment paper; the spray will help keep it in place. Be sure to line the edges of the sheet, as the mixture may leak around the edge.
Place all the prepped fruit into a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat.
When the fruit starts to sweat and bubble, turn down the heat.
Cook approximately 7-10 minutes, until the fruit is much softer.
Mix in sugar, mash with masher a little if you're able, and add the water.
Cook down until it's thicker.
If there are still chunks or seeds, run through blender to puree.
Pour onto prepped cookie sheet.
Place in oven at bread proof level, around 120-170 degrees. Bake for 6-10 hours. (You can also turn off the oven and leave it shut for the last couple of hours.)
Peel off parchment paper and store in your preferred way.
I used the plum bites, peaches and two Asian pears. It is the perfect mixture of sweet and tart, with a pretty light burgundy/purple color. And it’s gone. It is too easily to pick at a big chunk of this and eat while rewatching Loki on Disney+.