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Make fruit leathers at home! A quick & healthier alternative perfect for school lunches, road trip snacks or an anytime treat!
If you have small kids and are committed to packing your kids healthy lunches there is no doubt in my mind that you have heard a sob story about what isn’t in your kid’s lunchbox. Those sugar packed fruit leathers are one of the items I hear about more than anything else from my kids so I set out to find a healthy way to make them.
Enter the dehydrator. A healthy mom’s super power.
Let’s get started! Today we are going to make a super basic banana and strawberry fruit leather. But the sky is truly the limit on combinations you can do. Even plain jarred applesauce makes a great and super quick fruit leather!
Many recipes call for adding a sweetener which you totally can but for me the whole point was avoiding the sugar so we skip it.
Into the Vitamix blender they go and whirl away! If they have a hard time getting going, use the tamper that comes with your Vitamix. Do not add liquid to help them blend.
The GardenMaster dehydrator comes with these awesome little trays for making fruit leathers. I picked up a couple extra’s so that I can make several batches of these at once.
At this point you have a decision, you can spray the trays with a nonstick spray or leave them plain. The leathers remove easier with the spray but leave a slight oily film. We prefer not to spray and deal with a bit of sticking on occasion.
You can also do this in your oven (it does take way longer) using a Silpat silicone liner and a large cookie sheet. I like to use our Nordic Ware Big Sheets if I do them in the oven since you can make a big batch at once.
Whichever method you use take the back of a spoon and smooth out the mixture until it is quite thin but even in thickness. The thinner the layer the faster they are done but the most likely they are to crack and break so try for a medium thickness. Aim for 1/4" to 3/8" thick depending on your preferences.
After a few hours in the dehydrator you will end up with this! Each mixture takes a little bit different timing it seems and evenly spread. Dry at 130° - 140° F until the fruit feels leather-like and is pliable, approximately 4 to 8 hours.
A good way to test is to cut into a piece and start rolling it up. If there are sticky spots on the underside that feel a bit wet you need more time.
Remove the leathers from the sheets while they are still warm, and place them on parchment paper. Cut the parchment paper in strips and roll them up to prevent sticking. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to help them last the longest (ours are never around long enough for this to be an issue haha)
And pack away! Happy kids and happy momma for the win!