Fruit leathers are a tasty, chewy, dried fruit product. It is an easy way to add fruit to a lunch or snack. They are made by pouring pureed fruit on a drying rack and dried in a commercial dehydrator or oven. They are very much like the commercial fruit roll ups and dried fruit sheets, but with less sugar and a truer taste of fruit.
Fruit leathers can be made from leftover fruits, fruit that is too overripe to preserve, extra fruit pulp left from making jellies, or from canned and frozen fruit. When making fruit leather at home you can control how much sugar is added. For the diabetic fruit leathers without sugar are a healthy choice for snacks or desserts. Individual fruit leathers should contain the amount of fruit allowed for a fruit exchange.
To make fruit leathers from fresh fruit wash the fruit or berries in cool water and remove the peel, seeds and stems. If using canned or frozen fruits be sure to drain the fruit well. Puree the fruit in a blender until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons of bottled lemon juice to light colored fruits to prevent darkening.
The fruit pulp can be dried at this point or a sweetener and/or flavoring may be added. It is best to taste the puree at this point. If it needs flavoring or sweetener, add at this time. (See suggestions below)
Sometimes the fruit purees, especially those made from canned or frozen fruits, will be very juicy. Applesauce or bananas can be added to thicken the juicy purees, decreased the tartness and make the leather smoother.
When the puree is the thickness and taste preferred, pour onto a fruit leather drying sheet. Spread puree evenly to about 1/8 inch thick. If oven drying cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap and then pour puree onto the plastic wrap. If using a commercial dehydrator, use the fruit leather drying sheets. When spreading the puree, avoid using a spatula or other utensil.