I had a lot of favorite snacks growing up. As a child, I remember we always had strawberry fruit roll-ups around the house. I loved them so much it was ridiculous. Years later, I was at the grocery store one day and decided to buy some for old times sake. I got my fruit roll-ups home and unraveled one in anticipation. I was disappointed to find that the roll was full of punch out shapes, maybe animals or something? That wasn’t how I remembered them! I didn’t want to eat a strawberry giraffe, I just wanted my chewy, flavor-packed fruit roll. Later I began discovering other versions of fruit leather in the store which felt less… processed (because fruit animals are processed). But obviously they’re all processed, shapes or not! So I decided to do some research into how to make fruit leather and was surprised to learn that it’s pretty simple! It takes awhile but the resulting treat is very healthy.
I only added one tablespoon of sugar to this cinnamon apple fruit leather and you could probably omit it completely or substitute maple syrup or Stevia. It’s chewy, flavorful and I can rip the fruit from the plastic in long strips like I did as a child. No giraffes!
Note: if you have a large rectangular dehydrator, you can use that instead of the oven.
- 8 cups sweet apples (I used gala and honey crisp)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Peel, core and chop your the apples.
- Add the apples and water to a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer and cover, allowing to cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- Use a potato masher or blender to puree the fruit and add it back to the pot. Add the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. (note: I used very sweet apples for this recipe. If you use tart apples you will probably want less lemon juice and more sugar.)
- Continue to cook for another 10 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve.
- Use a food mill or fine mesh strainer to create a very smooth puree. It’s fine to leave some fibrous apple pulp behind (I lost at least 1 cup in the food mill).
- Preheat your oven to the lowest possible temperature. The original recipes states 140 degrees F. My oven only goes as low as 170 so that’s the temperature I used.
- Line a baking sheet with microwave-safe plastic wrap (for reference, mine is 13×18. You can also use two smaller sheets). Pour the puree on top and use a spatula to spread the mixture as evenly as possible.
- Allow to cook in the oven for 8-12 hours until the fruit is completely dried out. Mine took approximately 9 hours, you may need more time if the temperature is lowered. I let it cook overnight.
- Allow the fruit leather to cool. I trimmed the ends with scissors (including the plastic wrap) so they look pretty and then cut into strips of your desired size. I chose to make 3 long, large strips.
- Leave the fruit leather attached to the plastic wrap until its ready to be eaten.