Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fruit Leather - A Production

This was my first attempt at making Fruit Leather.  Although it makes me feel very good about the fact that it is homemade, I am going to have to say that by the time you run your oven for over 12 hrs. (if you're making more than one batch) you may be spending less money at the store getting the organic, no-preservative fruit leather than by making your own.  That's my personal opinion.  This also took several days because we didn't feel good about leaving our oven on at night - which is the only time in this household that you can get a straight 8-12 hrs. of uninterrupted time.  We also learned that when keeping your gas oven at such a low temp. it is prone to going out.  We had to air out our house a couple times during this process.  So, you see, it's best to be awake and aware while doing this.  Now that I've told you all of the downfalls, I will say, however, that everyone needs to try things once in their life and this is it!  It did turn out quite good and the girls love it.  I added nothing but a little squirt of Agave Nectar to each batch.

Apparently, back in the day, it was made by putting it out in the direct sun under tented cheese cloth.  That's more of how I roll - not driving up my utility bill!   Now that I know that I think I'll try to do this on a nice, hot, dry, summer's day - if we ever get one of those in this neck of the woods!

Here was the saga of my production.  I referred to this lady's blog for my recipe: In the Little Red House - Fruit Leather Recipe

Here are my peaches being cooked down:

Concord Grapes - Love these things! 

The peaches and the plums being processed.  And, yes, I ended up with 2 food processors!  How fun!

Pressing the seeds out of the grapes through a colander and keeping the juice and whatever pulp came through:

In the oven they all go at the lowest temp your oven can get for 8-12hrs!  However, you have to allow for air flow, so you can really only do 2 at a time. I had to remove 2 of them part of the way through the process:

First batch done - the concord grape.  Look at how easily it pulls off of the parchment!

Homemade grape fruit roll ups!  They taste so good - just like fresh concord grapes!!! Actually, you may want to just cut these with kitchen shears instead of rolling.  They're pretty tough, hence the name Fruit Leather! 

The peach came next:

See how I cut these in little "fruit flats", as my girls call them?  Much easier to cut and eat this way:

The plum - very good and quite pretty if I do say so myself!

  All in all it was an interesting experiment and if I can do this without using the oven next year, it will be an awesome way to keep fruit and make wonderful snacks!!!

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